Wednesday, January 30, 2013

ARC Review: Splintered by A.G. Howard

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.

Talk about a pleasant surprise!  I'm having trouble thinking of where to even begin with this review.  I have to say that this read was haunting, maddening, exhilarating and downright magical from start to finish!  Howard took a classic story that was always a favorite of mine and managed to have me falling in love with both the original story lines and this new twisted version as well.  The journey was a confusing (in the best possible way) and action packed, fast ride all the way through.  Readers will have a hard time separating reality from fiction and will feel like they're going through each and every obstacle and test right along side of Alyssa.

Jeb was endearing and wonderful.  Morpheus was downright addicting and dangerous.  He turned out to be a combination of characters with a few new additional characteristics as well that proved to be a winning combination.  I could only sympathize with Alyssa when she came face to face with all these decisions and revelations.  The Mad Hatter, Chessie, Red, and the white rabbit are all back and more interesting and surprising than ever!

With each turn of the page I found myself wanting to take up drinking tea instead of boring old coffee, avoid clams for dinner ever again, and watching my steps when coming close to any type of flower or insect.  I'm not quite sure I'll ever be able to look at these things the same way from here on out.

If you're a fan of the classic Carroll tale, there's no way you'll be able to resist this read, and if you're not or have never read the original class, I still find it hard to believe that readers won't find themselves falling in love with this unique and fresh new voice in YA literature!

I gave Splintered by A.G. Howard 5 shamrocks!!!!!

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