Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading .... Splintered by A. G. Howard

Friday, December 28, 2012

Just Finished Reading .... Splintered by A. G. Howard

Freebie Friday will be on hiatus during the holidays!



Splintered
by A. G. Howard
To be published on January 1, 2012
by Amulet Books.

Source: e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley. Read my FTC disclosure here.





My summary: Alyssa Gardner and her mother Allison are descended from Alice Liddell -- the inspiration for Lewis Carroll's Alice In Wonderland. When Alyssa was a child, her mother descended into madness and was locked in a mental ward. Now that Alyssa is older, she's falling prey to the same hereditary demons: she can't drown out the voices of the bugs and flowers that speak to her. During one visit with her family, Alyssa's mother begins ranting about a family curse and buried treasure. On an internet site, Alyssa finds a strange message: if you want to save your mother, find the key. Suddenly, Alyssa falls through the looking glass, into a strange world where nothing is as it seems, and is drawn into age-old rivalries, racing against time to save her mother and herself.

My take: I don't think I've ever read the original Alice in Wonderland. My only familiarity with the story are other retellings: the Disney movie version and then the Tim Burton version. Based on that, I thought Splintered was a clever, imaginative version of the Alice story.

Let's face it -- Alice in Wonderland is a pretty trippy tale, and Splintered does a great job of taking the book's signature elements -- things like the looking glass, the Red Queen, the White Rabbit, the caterpillar -- and weaving them into a completely different story that's still true to the original. That old "girl who's afraid she looks/acts like her crazy/dead mother" isn't a brand-new trope in YA, but the "girl who hears bugs talking" certainly is. I loved the beginning of Splintered, which shows us Alyssa making bug collages, Alyssa plugging in earphones and heading to the skate park to drown out the bug voices, Alyssa visiting her mother in the mental institution. Alyssa's in love with her best friend, a fellow skateboarder and former juvenile delinquent named Jeb, who is in love with mean girl Taelor, who is just as annoying as the spelling of her name.

But most of the story takes place in Splintered's version of Wonderland. To me, this part of the book was strongly reminiscent of the fae fiction I've read -- rival queens and courts, tests to endure, characters under spells and curses. If you loved the Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr, Splintered will definitely be your kind of book.

I'm not the hugest of fae fans, but I do love a book that blends the historical with the fictional. While I was reading Splintered, I had all kinds of questions about the real Alice Liddell, and when I have a chance, I'm definitely going to do more research into her relationship with Lewis Carroll. I'll also be on the lookout for future books by A. G. Howard!

34 comments:

  1. I've never been a big fan of Wonderland so I didn't seek this book out nor am a fan of fae fiction but it sounds like this book is still pretty good-maybe it'll be a library read next year.

    Also really hate that spelling of Taelor!

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    1. Yeah, Taelor was quite the classic mean girl!!!

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  2. I haven't read original Alice either, and I don't think it is for me.
    Glad that you enjoyed though and will read more from author.
    Happy reading,
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

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    1. I wasn't sure about it, but I heard great things and I'm really glad I tried it!

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  3. I don't read a lot of fae books, but this does sound good and I'm definitely going to be on the lookout for it! I really enjoyed Melissa Marr's Carnival of Souls, so I may read her fae series too!

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    1. I didn't think Carnival of Souls was for me, but I really liked the first couple Wicked Lovely books. Try them!!

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  4. I'm really happy you loved this! I was supposed to be getting a copy almost two months ago and it never came, which really upsets me since I was eagerly anticipating this. :/

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  5. I am now way more psyched for this book (and I pre-ordered it months ago so that is A LOT PSYCHED). I LOOOOOVE fae books. The fae are just inherently interesting to me, because there is honor and rules, but they are all super intelligent and hold true loyalty only to themselves and most of them can only tell the truth and yet they are one of the most deceitful beings ever written about... I just. LOVE it. So I'm glad about that comparison. Also... OMG THE SPELLING OF HER NAME. I hope the Caterpillar eats her.

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    1. If you love fae books, I think you will love this. That's how this book read to me, and I never thought of Alice in Wonderland as particularly fae until now. Let me know what you think.

      Yeah, Taelor. Maybe it was because she was also just a nasty person, but every time i saw the name, I felt stabby.

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  6. I only skimmed your review since I am reading it right now. I don't like reading reviews for a book while I'm reading it. Before or after doesn't bother me though so I will read it after I write my review. :) I love Alice in Wonderland so I was super excited to read this book!! This cover is so pretty I think I need to buy myself a finished copy of it when it comes out!

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  7. I am really looking forward to reading this! :) Thanks for sharing!

    Brandy

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  8. I loved this one! I haven't read the original either, so all i could go off of was the two movies I've seen (the cartoon Disney one and Tim Burton's) lol. But I thought it was great! I really liked the twist the author threw in there at the end! It totally caught me off guard, but I love surprises! It thought Wonderland was kinda creepy but intriguing at the same time. Overall, I really liked it!

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    1. Definitely had that Tim Burton vibe while being wholly original too.

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  9. I've heard a lot of great things about this book. I can't wait to read it! =)

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  10. You know, I really want to read this book. I've been hearing a lot of really good things and some bad things, but I still want to read it. I have read about half of the original Alice in Wonderland and it's just not my thing, but I've always loved retellings of it so I'm hoping this one will be awesome. Great review :)

    Jesse @ Pretty In Fiction

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    1. If you love Alice retellings, I would definitely try this!

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  11. I agree with you that the whole art-with-bugs thing was a really clever idea, I'd have never have thought of something like that. I certainly wouldn't want any of that kind of art in my house though, I'd have nightmares about the bugs coming back to life and attacking me while I was asleep. Too creepy!

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    1. I actually love creepy stuff like that. But yeah, I'd give that stuff away!

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  12. Thanks for being honest! I love re-tales and I'm hoping that this book will be good.

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    1. As an Alice retelling, I think it's great. I bet Lewis Carroll would approve!!

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  13. Alice in Wonderland was never a favorite of mine. Still isn't. A pass for me.

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  14. I have got to read this, i dismissed it originally but am so glad to hear its deeper then i originally thought.

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  15. I have been wanting to read this book since I first saw that beautiful cover! Sounds like a good read! I loved the original story (I did read it when I was younger), so I'm sure I'll love this!

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  16. I admit- the cover didn't really catch my attention. In fact, I kinda got creeped out by it. But then I read so many raving reviews on how awesome this book is, and even you like it, so Im guessing I'm missing out on a lot here. :) Talking bugs- yup, that is a new one! :D But yeah, I like fae books, so I'm giving this one a go!

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  17. I am reading this right now and REALLY enjoying it! Like you I haven't read the original Lewis Carroll, but this take on the story, with all those familiar characters presented in a twisted and dark way, is AWESOME! Reminds me a bit of Tiger Lily in that I get all those excited feelings every time a character I recognize steps on the scene! And yes, totally feeling like the Netherlings are kissing cousins to Faeries! And yes, how cool is Alyssa with her "bug art"? As a former art student AND the daughter of an ex- Entomology professor, I LOVED this! I think Alyssa and I would be great friends!

    Hmmm, you did not mention one of my fave parts so far- MORPHEUS! C'mon, the guy is a dead ringer for Brandon Lee a la "The Crow'! Did he not make an impression on you, Jen Ryland??;)

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  18. So many wonderful things I've heard about this! I can't wait!

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  19. This is one book I have really been looking forward to reading. It is one that could really go wrong, but from your reveiw I gather that it was done well. I'm so glad you liked it because that makes me want to read it even more. ;) Alice in Wonderland is a little trippy, but there are such great characters and plot that I've always liked it.

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  20. After reading this review all I can think of is Delusional Parasitosis. Good times! I am really looking forward to reading this book and while I have to agree with you about the whole Fae thing, I have been digging the Alice re-tellings. I love spells and curses and fairy tales and hope this is the new "thing" for YA!

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