Saturday, January 12, 2013

Becky's View: Splintered by A.G. Howard + Giveaway!


Splintered by A.G. Howard
♦publisher: Amulet Books
♦release date: January 1, 2013
♦hardcover, 384 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦stand-alone
♦source: from publisher for honest review
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.


Review: As someone who grew up with the tale of Alice in Wonderland, in book form, in movie form (several different versions, actually), and surrounded with the characters in all kinds of figurines and collector pieces, reading Splintered was an absolutely unique experience.  A.G. Howard took a world that is  so familiar and beloved and gave us something new and intriguing and absolutely twisted.  

I was actually surprised with how urban-feeling the setting and characters were.  Our heroine, Alyssa, is a skater girl with a funky sense of girly style.  She's a character with a great dose of attitude and creativity, but also one that has been emotionally knocked down and teased her whole life for her ties to the Alice stories, one struggling to deal with having a mother in an institution, and one who is terrified that her ability to hear the voices of flowers and bugs will land her in the same place.  I loved the build up of the story, learning about her family and her crush on her best friend, Jeb, and all the crazy occurances that lead her to seek out the Rabbit Hole.   

Wonderland itself was amazingly recreated.  It was such a brilliant twist to stay close to the original story. Alyssa must basically trace the footsteps of Alice to find her way back home, but she soon finds out that Alice must have been too young to process the dark things she saw.  The creatures are far, far creepier that the ones she knows from the book.  Howard's descriptions are vivid and gruesome---characters like the Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit, and the Tweedle twins are completely reimagined into dark, nightmarish creatures, yet enough traces were left of the original children's book characters to make me feel nostalgic and still be drawn in by them.  Wonderland has always had an underlying, almost innocent vein of chaos and madness running through it, but in Splintered it's brought right to the surface and made not-so-innocent anymore!

There was a love story here---a bit of a love triangle, actually---but I have to admit that it was the one small part of the story that didn't draw me in.  Maybe because I found both guys unlikable for most of the story.  Morpheus was too cocky and emo and just plain sinister, and Jeb...well, he was sweet at times and tried to be chivalrous and I loved that they were best friends...but many times he was just too pushy, a little too brooding, and didn't seem to understand Alyssa, what she was going though and what was important to her. 

STILL, despite my feelings about the love story, I thought this story was brilliant.  It was creepy and emotional and the kind of twisted adventure that really gets inside your head---I do believe I actually dreamed of having wings once or twice in the last few days of reading it. :)  Such an great debut, and I can't wait to see what A.G. Howard takes on next.

Find A.G. Howard online:  Website  •   Twitter   •   Facebook

Pre-order Splintered:  Amazon  •  BN.com  •  Indiebound  •  Book Depository

 

Now enter for a chance to win your own copy!
I'm giving away one finished hardcover copy of Splintered! Enter below!
•US mailing addresses only
•must be 13 or older
 a Rafflecopter giveaway

38 comments :

  1. great review. I love the cover on this one.

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  2. This definitely was a super creepy take on Alice and Wonderland. I loved it. Great review.

    Jenea Books Live Forever

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  3. I can't wait to read this one!

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  4. I love the movie remake of Alice and Wonderland with Johnny Depp and that made me fall in love with the story.

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  5. I love the Mad Hatter simply because he is mad!

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  6. My fav interpretation was Finding Neverland movie.

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  7. great review!! this looks REALLY good!

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  8. Great review! I can't wait to read it.

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  9. Aww you didn't like the love story? That's usually my favorite part of the book. But if you still liked the overall story, I'm sure I will too! Great review :)

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  10. I like the Cheshire Cat the best. =) I wish he had more screen time.

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  11. Been waiting for this! I love the Cheshire Cat. I mean, it's a cat! :)

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  12. Thanks for the giveaway, I've been waiting to get into Splintered. I like the Mad Hatter because of his historical significance. Hatters often did go mad you know, from the glue they used.

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  13. The Cheshire Cat!!! He's legit.

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  14. Love your reviews. I've read pretty much all of the books you've reccomended over the last year or so and you haven't steered me wrong yet! This one sounds great!

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  15. Nice review- I'm definitely looking forward to this one :D
    My favorite Wonderland character is the Cheshire Cat.

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  16. Great review! I can't wait to see a creepy take on Wonderland. :)

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  17. The Cheshire cat is by far favorite because he is such a mystery!

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  18. I loved this book and your review was great!!!!

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  19. I really loved this read! How the author painted out Wonderland was perfect! Twisted and creepy! I especially liked the spider sisters a lot more than I thought I would had :P

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  20. Great review! Alyssa sounds like an amusing heroine, and I can't wait until I get the chance to read this book.

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  21. Great review!! Really want to read the book on the cover alone, but I do like Alice In Wonderland.

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  22. Great review! I really loved this one. Glad you enjoyed it as well.

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  23. I've always loved the Caterpillar. I think he's mysterious and wise and just a little too weird to be really good... I love how A.G. Howard incorporates his character into Splintered!! So Good!

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  24. I've read mixed reviews about this one but yours finally convinced me that I really do want to read it. I love anything Alice in Wonderland related and I love that the author made this a bit darker. So glad the love story didn't deter you from enjoying this book. =) Great review!

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  25. I have nothing to say other than YAY! I am so very excited about this book. And the more great reviews, like yours, that I read the happier I get. I can't wait for this fabulous book. I am definitely disappointed that the romance isn't perfect, but that's alright. It is still a must read!

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  26. This book sounds so flawless. I wish they sold it around here (Barnes and Nobles and Borders both closed two years ago, sigh) - it's so darn difficult to find novels! Anyways, really, this novel sounds so interesting.

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  27. I really enjoyed your review! I cannot wait to get my hands on this book since I have always loved Alice in Wonderland. My favorite character would have to be The Caterpillar (Asylum) because of his wisdom and aloofness.

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  28. I love the Cheshire Cat...I always believed there was more to him than meets the eye in the original Alice In Wonderland. I haven't read Splintered yet but I'd love to!
    Thanks for the great giveaway!!
    Ashley A
    ash_app@hotmail.com

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  29. I loved the white rabbit. After all, that was how it all began. Would love to read Splintered! My email address is aliceinneverland7@gmail(dot)com

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  30. I also am a fan of the white rabbit! Can't wait to read this book! Thanks for your thoughts! I usually love, love triangles but only if they contribute to the story. I'm curious what I'll think of that part. Love stories that stick with you! Thanks again!

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  31. Great review! I have this on my wish list and now I'm really fiending..

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  32. Great review. This is now on my wish list. Alice in Wonderland is one of my favorite books and I have read everything regarding Lewis Carroll or Alice Liddell (Alice I Have Been is a favorite of mine). I look forward to reading this. Thanks for the chance to win.

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  33. I'm SO freaking excited for this book! I really don't know which one is my favorite character, though. It might be the white rabbit or the Mad Hatter. Or maybe the Cheshire Cat! They are all awesome!

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  34. Thank you for the review!! I haven't seen or read anything but the disney version of the movie so I am definitely excited for a darker version of the original book.

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  35. Loved the review! I am absolutely intrigued with this story...a twist on a classic 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland'! After reading your review, I am even more drawn in to Alyssa's plight and the dark twists of "Wonderland." I've read Frank Beddor's 'The Looking Glass Wars" trilogy...and, that being a twist on the 'Alice in Wonderland' story, I would love to read A.G. Howard's dark twist on Lewis Carroll's classic story of 'Alice's adventures'. Thank you for having this giveaway! I look forward to reading 'Splintered'

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  36. The Mad Hatter was always my favorite character in Alice so I'm hoping he lives up to expectation in this one. Can't wait to read!

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