Review | Splintered – A.G. Howard


Paperback (Amulet Books; 377 pages)

First published 2013; this edition published 2013

Rating on Goodreads: 4 stars

“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.”

The Alice In Wonderland fangirl in me screamed when I first heard about Splintered. It took me a while to buy the book, but I finally bought it a few days before Christmas – and I loved it.

I love dark, twisted fairy tales, and I think we can all agree that Alice In Wonderland is fairly close to the fairy tale genre. So when I found out that there was a darker version of the Alice myth, I was overjoyed.

A.G. Howard has taken the Wonderland world and shaped it so it seems entirely her own. Her storytelling is masterful, and her characters both nostalgic and new. I think one of my favourites has to be the elusive, enchanting figure that is Morpheus. Normally, when faced with the darkly seductive character, I roll my eyes and go ‘yeah, okay, whatever’. But Morpheus isn’t necessarily there to seduce Alyssa, and I find that refreshing. Of course, there is a frisson between them, and definite attraction, but he cares more about restoring Wonderland than trying to get into her pants. Which is goddamn wonderful.

Jeb, however. Well. Didn’t like him. He seemed far too controlling, far too protective, and I constantly wanted him to back off. I haven’t read the sequel, so I don’t know how his character will develop, but I hope he mellows if at least a little.

Alyssa herself is fantastic – both determined and uncertain. I like that she isn’t confident, that she struggles – it ultimately makes her human, for me. Big fan.

The plot is brilliant, filled with such sinister twists that at times I was vaguely disturbed. It takes a lot to disturb me, by the way, but A.G. Howard managed it masterfully. I really, really enjoyed this. I definitely recommend Splintered. If you like Alice In Wonderland, or you like dark fairy tales, pick this up. You won’t regret it.


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