Publication Date: January 1, 2013
Genre: YA, Fantasy
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Synopsis: This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. 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, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also 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.
My Rating: 5/5 stars
My Review: Splintered captivated me right from the beginning. This fantastic retelling of Alice in Wonderland begins with Alyssa, a descendant of Alice Liddell herself. Alyssa embarks on a new adventure when she realizes that Wonderland is real, and the only way to save her mother is to travel down the rabbit hole and fix all of Alice's mistakes.
I love almost everything about this book! I love all the characters (except for one), and the fantastic world that Mrs. Howard created based off of Wonderland. There is tons of action to keep you on your toes, and blindsides that will leave you with your mouth hanging open!
Alyssa is such a relatable character, you honestly can't help but love her. Even though her mother is locked up in an insane asylum, and she can hear plants and bugs talk to her, Alyssa does her best to try and be a normal teenage girl. She works at a vintage store, and skateboards in her free time. I love that about her. I love how even though her mother is considered crazy and she doesn't want to be anything like her in the beginning of the book, you can still tell she loves her and that her touch means everything to her. Alyssa may not be the smartest character out there, but she knows how to follow her conscience which always leads her in the right direction. I would definitely follow her on a quest anywhere!
For me, the love triangle in this story is very one sided. Alyssa has a huge crush on her neighbour Jeb, who is dating someone else. As Alyssa's friend and neighbour, Jeb ends up following Alyssa through her mirror to London and goes on the quest with her. Throughout the whole adventure in wonderland, Jeb tries to hold Alyssa back and get her to go home so that she doesn't get hurt.
I found Jeb to be one of the most whiny characters I have ever read about! Half of the time the only words that came out of his mouth were "Alyssa lets go home. I don't want you to get hurt." While it was nice that he cared about Alyssa, he was also holding her back and being such a debby-downer that I got really annoyed at him.
On the other side of the love triangle, we have Morpheus. Morpheus appears to Alyssa when they were children and taught her everything she knows about Wonderland, after her mother's accident Alyssa forgot everything about Morpheus and what he taught her, but after an incident with her mother, the memories start coming back to her, and Morpheus guides her back into Wonderland. Pretty much the complete opposite of Jeb, Morpheus encourages Alyssa to go on this quest to save her mother, even though his intentions may not be always right, he believes and trusts Alyssa and looks out for her best interest. Morpheus is smart and very mysterious, but he's really kind and caring towards Alyssa.
The world-bulging in this story was absolutely amazing! Even though the author didn't create Wonderland, she made huge differences in the characters and the landscape of Wonderland, and it was perfect! All the descriptions and landscapes in this book were described so well I could feel like I was alongside Alyssa and Jeb as they travel through Wonderland. Every flower or bug that talked to Alyssa in the read world was described so well I could hear and see them in my head. I am really impressed with the world-building and authors writing.
Overall, this book is one of the best books I've read in 2014, and it makes me wish I read it sooner. I highly recommend this book to all Fantasy fans, especially if you love classical retelling, you will definitely love this book. Other than Jeb, I found this book to be perfect, and I absolutely can't wait to continue with the series.