‘Splintered’ by A.G. Howard


by A.G. Howard

Amulet Books

384 pages

Pub. Date:   January 1, 2012

Book received from:  Purchased


Genre:  YA Fantasy/ Dark Fantasy

Cover:  Eye-catching and mezmerizing

Characters:  Pretty much perfect all around

Quote:  “I’ve been collecting bugs since I was ten; it’s the only way I can stop their whispers.  Sticking a pin through the gut of an insect shuts it up pretty quick.”

For Fans Of:  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,  Neil Gaiman, and ‘The Labyrinth’

Rating:  5 out of 5 stars

Worth the read?  Absolutely- especially for those that love dark twists on other stories

The (Not So) Short & Sweet of It:   I’ll start by saying that I am extremely picky when it comes to re-interpretations of fairy tales and other stories, especially Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.  It is one of my favorite books, and I can get caught up in the twists and turns and wordplay all day long.   Every time an author comes along with a retelling or twist on the concept of Wonderland, I am eager to explore.  However, I am usually quite disappointed.  Most often, I realize that the author really must have no idea what the story is about, who Alice was, and what all the crazy imagery represents.  In short, I shut the book or turn of the movie about halfway through- after a good college try at liking it and finding value within.

This is not at all the case with Splintered, however.  Howard obviously knows her stuff and shows deep respect and understanding of the original.  Her story puts a twist on the Alice concept by giving a darker feel.  All the characters from the original story are there, but all twisted and not quite as they should be, making the reader question the original Wonderland, as seen through a child’s eye.  It is very clever, and very nearly brilliant how the world is turned upside down and yet seems so right at the same time.

Alyssa Gardner is a direct descendant of Alice Liddell, the inspiration for the original story.  Each generation, the women in her family are plagued by visions and hallucinations and are driven mad by a curse which young Alice unknowingly cast upon her family.  Alyssa must find the real Wonderland and set things right before her mother is driven further down the rabbit hole in the mental institution in which she resides.  There is only one major problem- her best friend, Jeb is pulled into the craziness with her.

As Alyssa navigates through what is real and what is not, she becomes less sure about what she thought she has known about her mother for all her life.  However, she learns more about herself than she ever thought possible.  Is Wonderland real, or is it all just a sign that she truly is going mad?

There is no doubt about it: this is the best re-imagining of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland that I have read.  The descriptions make the world jump off the page, the hookah smoke swirl around the reader, and the cakes and tarts taste simply delectable.  There are times that the writing is just a bit repetitive (yes, I get it, Jeb has a lip piercing), but nothing overshadows the amazingly told story and the creepy world that Howard spins- all with a whip-smart, bitingly sarcastic, out-of-the-box leading lady.

For more info & to purchase:

Author Site




2 thoughts on “‘Splintered’ by A.G. Howard

  1. I got an ARC of this one and reviewed it here. I loved the tweaks on Wonderland and I totally agree that Howard knows just how to extend the world, but I couldn’t stand the first parts of the novel and the characterization of the main character– okay, I get it, she’s a skater girl!

    • Yeah, there were some of the descriptions that were definitely a bit repetitive! I do hope that is just because she is a new author, though. Perhaps her editor needs to make a few more suggestions. Overall, though, I fell in love with the book.

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