Splintered by A.G. Howard | January 2013 | Amulet Books, an imprint of Abe Books | Hardcover $17.95
Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers — precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.
When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, she must decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.
Ehhhhh. Background info, so’s to explain my state of mind while reading/ranting about this a little bit: I was sort of assigned to read this & its sequel, except that halfway through Splintered I found out that I was NOT, in fact, required to read it.
First, let me be negative for a minute: This book read like more of an attempt at riding along on the trying-too-hard-to-be-“weird” coattails of the Tim Burtonated version of Alice, rather than a 100% original take on the world of Wonderland.
So many of the little “weird” details just felt affected or cliché…. I’ve seen other reviews reference Hot Topic, and that’s exactly what this book makes me think of — if this book were a store, it’d be a Hot Topic masquerading as some kind of quirky/gothy/indie haberdashery. Or perhaps the opposite?
(Not that there’s necessarily something terribly wrong with Hot Topic; they’ve got some real fun merch and I’m not 100% ashamed to
have shopped there as a kid still shop there. But if you’re looking for 1-of-a-kind whimsy, that ain’t it.)
And then there’s the “love” triangle, complete with 2 douchey dudes and a *~*~virgin~*~* who can’t make up her damn mind. The characters read like real teens, which is great! But what little character development we get comes in the form of physical metamorphosis and expository memory retrieval, which is just barely cutting it for me.
TBH, if I hadn’t been assigned to read it in the first place, I’d have put it down after the 1st couple of chapters. THAT SAID, I did finish it and speed-read the sequel (Unhinged, the 2nd of a planned trilogy). Because despite all of the eye-rolling (and let me tell you, my extraocular muscles got a freakin’ workout), I was totally into the plot. I kept trying to guess what was going to happen next, the answers to all the little mysteries, and I was totally wrong every time. And I really, really like it when a book keeps me guessing.
I dunno… I think I might keep an eye out for future works from this author. Even though this series is not exactly for me (and heck, it wasn’t written for my demographic anyway) I can tell that the author knows how to weave a crazy plot.
Publication information: Howard, A. G. Splintered. New York: Aumlet Books, 2013. Print.
Source: Public library
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