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Splintered by A. G. Howard

Splintered (edition 2013)

by A. G. Howard

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Authors:A. G. Howard
Info:Amulet Books (2013), Hardcover, 384 pages

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Splintered by A. G. Howard



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Sometimes a book IS as good as its cover! This re-imagining of Alice in Wonderland grabs the reader from the first with the main character, Alyssa, skewering chatty bugs for her art. The pace slows a bit from there, but picks up again quite well when Alyssa and her crush, Jebediah, go down the rabbit hole. The story is sensual, dark, dangerous, disturbing, moody and mysterious; characteristics guaranteed to capture the imaginations and interests of most teens as well as adults. I was certainly ensnared in this web of fantasy. Highly recommended for fans of Young Adult literature and fantasy. Also, if you are a fan of Alice in Wonderland, as I am, this series is a must read!


“morbid mosaics” (p.2)

“I should be terrified. I should be committed. But something about the netherling is sensual and exhilerating, more evocative than anything in my world has ever been” (p.88).

“The more I remember of Morpheus and this place, the more I forget myself…or the self I though I was” (p. 168).

“I cover my mouth to keep from screaming or laughing hysterically. It could go either way at this point. I’m beginning to enjoy the madness” (p.212). ( )
  TheLoopyLibrarian | Feb 22, 2014 |
Came across this in the library and was taken initially by the cover which stood out as unusual in the section it was in. Really enjoyed it, the twists and turns, the development of the Alice in Wonderland story to create something that for me felt new and exciting was well done. I'm looking forward to the next in the series. ( )
  Peace2 | Feb 20, 2014 |
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.

Alyssa lives with her dad (Tommy-toes, her mom's private nickname for him), while her mom Alison lives at Souls Asylum. Everyone thinks that Alyssa's scars are due to car accident, which also caused Alison's supposed brain damage and landed her in the asylum; but the reality is that Alison was trying to behead Morpheus in his moth state so that he would leave Alyssa alone. However five-year old Alyssa thinks it's all a game and ends up with her arms outstretched between the shearers when Alison tries to behead Morpheus - just as her father looks out the window. All these years Alison has been pretending to be insane in order to keep Morpheus away from Alyssa by staying far enough away from her daughter that he has no access to Alyssa through Alison, but at the same time remaining close enough to not completely lose Alyssa & her husband. Alyssa's father has decided to try the doctors plans of electric shock therapy to see if that helps Aluson - but Alyssa knows the truth now and suddenly she MUST get to Wonderland right away to break the curse before her mom is lost forever due to the shock treatment.

Jeb is Alyssa's best friend. With an abusive father Jeb takes on an additional role, helping take care of his mom and sister. He is also a tremendously great artist, something he and Alyssa share. Works at Underland skatepark owned by the bratty Taelor's family. For a time Jeb dates Taelor even though he really loves Alyssa. So when he breaks things off with Taelor she goes ballistic on both Keb and Alyssa.

Alyssa figures just enough out while visiting her mom at the asylum - she goes looking for the sundial so she can go to Wonderland and break the family curse. The way in is to wish for what you want with all your heart, and she thinks of Jeb at the time, thus beginning their adventures in Wonderland. Jabberlock is a box that traps a person and prevents anyone from ever hearing them. Only way to free them (if you aren't the one who put them in there to begin with), is to make a totally selfless trade, which can only be done once - Jeb does it to free the Ivory Queen so she can tell Alyssa the whole story, that Morpheus was never going to let her go, she'd be trapped in Wonderland forever. Alyssa uses her wish to wish she'd never answered the door on prom night and thus stepped through the mirror and into to Wonderland alone, thus freeing Jeb & sending him back in time to the mortal realm. The side effect of her wish is that Jeb loses all his memories of their adventures together.

Morpheus ends up making the ultimate sacrifice for Alyssa to save her from the bandersnatch that the spirit of the Red Queen took over once she was evicted from Alyssa's body.

Alyssa returns through a mirror in the asylum, startling the horrid nurse, especially as she still has her wonderland markings and wings as she climbs out of the mirror. Alyssa sees some syringes nurse dropped and was just going to leave her until she sees one with her mom's name on it, so she injects the nurse with Alison's dose instead. The nurse is discovered the next day sleeping on the bathroom floor, surrounded by empty syringes and raving about fairies climbing through the mirror and stealing keys (though oddly her keys are found right next to her on the floor). Alison immediately stops faking her insanity, no longer talking to the bugs and flowers in front of anyone. In light of the nurse's ravings and use of Alison's medications the asylum doctors think that the medications they gave Alison were what made her wacky and she is released to live at home with her family.

Meanwhile Alyssa is struggling with her human love for Jeb, while her netherside loves Morpheus as well, if only he could be straight with her. Alyssa's adventures are just beginning, and they've already rocked the world. ( )
  Isisunit | Feb 18, 2014 |
A wonderfully grotesque and twisted vision of Wonderland, and what happened to Alice and her descendants. See my full review here: http://tahleenreads.blogspot.com/2013/01/book-review-splintered-by-ag-howard.htm... ( )
  Tahleen | Feb 16, 2014 |

That was . . .


This plot was so intricately woven and so completely enrapturing to read–it gave a whole new life to the Wonderland I thought I knew and turned into something more. One of THE most imaginative stories I’ve read, there’s nothing that I’ve come across that compares.

Alyssa has . . . issues in her life, to put it lightly. The whole curse of madness that’s been passed down through the women in her family thanks to the original Alice would stress anyone out. And what does she have to do? Only dive into the rabbit hole and into the morphed, creepy version of Wonderland where nothing is as it seems and no one’s motives are pure. Yet she plows ahead and is strong, getting done what needs doing.


And Jeb–ah, who can resist the best friend who is always there for you? No surprise that Al is already in love with him as the story opens. And by the end of the book, I’m as much in love with him as she is! The lengths he will go in order to protect Al is so swoon-worthy.

But then there’s Morpheus, and though he’s dark and his means aren’t necessarily justified, he still cares. I was infuriated with him and compelled by him and he had me confused in my own feelings surrounding him–he intrigues me more than most characters I’ve ever journeyed with.

After reading this, I wanted nothing more than to throw myself down the rabbit hole to adventure through Wonderland right alongside these new friends of mine. So I did the next best thing–ripped open the pages of Unhinged and continued to follow along. I undeniably LOVE this book.

5/5 stars;) ( )
  danitronmc | Feb 10, 2014 |
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A descendant of the inspiration for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, sixteen-year-old Alyssa Gardner fears she is mentally ill like her mother until she finds that Wonderland is real and, if she passes a series of tests to fix Alice's mistakes, she may save her family from their curse.… (more)

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