“I’ve been collecting bugs since I was ten; its the only way I can stop their whispers. Sticking a pin through the gut of an insect shuts it up pretty quick.
Some of my victims line the walls in shadow boxes, while others get sorted into mason jars and placed on a bookshelf for later use. Crickets, beetles, spiders… bees and butterflies. I’m not picky. Once they get chatty they’re fair game.”
Alyssa Gardner can hear plants and insects. She can hear the things they are trying to say. It is a gift, or a curse, that has been passed through the women of her mothers family for years, ever since her Great-great-great-grandmother Alice Liddell feel through the rabbit hole. It has driven most of them mad and Alyssa’s mother herself is in an asylum because of an attack on Alyssa when she was five. Now her mother is facing electro therapy but Alyssa has decided that the delusions the women in her family have suffered from are not madness, they are real, and to stop them she has to visit Wonderland for herself. Once there though, Alyssa will learn some truths about the theory she has, armed with only a few items which have been passed through the ages and her best friend Jeb, she must right the wrongs of Wonderland and avoid the magic and enchantments it holds.
Ok wow. This book is incredible. I really love Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland books and they have always fascinated me so I enjoy seeing YA adaptations of them, but none have quite hit the spot as much as Splintered did, giving the original tale a darker, more sinister feel and blowing my mind in the process.
The idea of Alice Liddell’s ancestors picking up weird and wonderful abilities from her time in Wonderland is an incredible one and if magic and mystery does exist then its perfectly liable. I love the story and how it tells of Alyssa’s mortal life first, how she has suffered because of these abilities, and how her mother was in an asylum because of them. Its the truth that if someone did claim these abilities and did start talking to plants and animals that they would be locked up as insane so it all felt dry realistic from the start, even with the paranormal elements. Once Alyssa steps into Wonderland the story gets even better and I loved the whole idea that things were morbidly different in this Wonderland than the one a lot of people know and love. The Bandersnatch, the Caterpillar, the ‘eat me’ and ‘drink me’ foods, the march hare, the white rabbit and the madd hatter… they were all there but all so much different!
The story includes a major love triangle and that didn’t actually bother me. I usually hate them but with this one I could see the appeal of the second boy, Morpheus, from Alyssa’s point of view but he was not a patch on Jeb and I could see that from the start. My only issues with the book were Morpheus and his kinda rape-y personality, and that the men in the book were determined to look after Alyssa despite the fact she didn’t need helping. She was a strong character who wasn’t allowed to show her own strength until the end because of these two boys mollycoddling her, and I was glad they saw the errors of their ways by the end of the book and hope she is able to be the person she is in the second book!
The characters, other than Morpheus’ rape-y persona and both his and Jeb’s macho bull, were brilliant and I loved each and everyone of them from Wonderland especially. They were so powerful and I could picture them perfectly, even though at first I was tempted to picture them from the original tale. I think my favourites had to be Morpheus, even though there were things I didn’t like about him, Alyssa herself, her mother, The Twid Sisters and Gossamer, Morpheus’ fairy – for reasons unbeknown to me, I think I just liked that she stood out a lot and was a vital part of the story even though she wasn’t there a lot.
I am so glad I finally got round to reading Splintered and I will not wait so long to read the next book in the series, Unhinged. AG Howard has an incredible writing style which keeps you hooked from first to last page and I loved every minute.
Splintered was published by Amulet Books on January 1st 2013. My copy was won as part of an online giveaway.
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