This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of Underland, 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.
©2013 Anita Howard (P)2013 AudioGO
Pre-teen girls and anyone who enjoys cliche, corny romances.
None. I don't like abridged productions.
It’s no secret that retold, repurposed fairy tales are all the rage in young adult novels these days. However, Splintered captures very little of the magic or charm that so many other fantasy books in the genera posses. Going in, I had high hopes for this book. The premise sounded fresh and interesting and almost all of the reviews were positive. Sadly though, the end product turned out to be a slow and difficult read. I found very little to like in any of the main characters and was frustrated with them throughout most of the book. Many of them have a punk/emo flair to their personalities, which feels unnatural, as well as immature, and makes it seem like the author is trying too hard to relate to younger readers. The female lead, Alyssa, is unfortunately meek and needed, though the novel tries to portray her as otherwise, and constantly relies on her two love interests for protection and direction. These two love interests are, I can only assume, supposed to be supportive, caring and protective. Instead they come off as creepy, over protective, and controlling. This is as frustrating and annoying as you can imagine, so I won’t go into detail about it.
Another problem I have with the novel is the words and descriptions that the author used. (I know this sounds really picky, but just bear with me.) Howard went to great lengths to describe things like clothing, kissing, table dancing, and the characters irresistible beauty, but her descriptions of scenes that involved heavy action or key events often felt lacking. In short, the dull parts of the book seemed drawn out, while the climactic and important portions felt rushed. In addition to this, it was difficult to become invested in many of the creative twists and turns that the book presented, because the words and descriptions that the author used didn’t’ feel creative or interesting. This may seem harsh, but an author’s medium is words and the value of their work depends greatly on how he/she uses them. The author presented readers with interesting places and creatures, but didn’t describe them well enough to make them fantastic.
Despite all of this, I didn’t think the book was all bad. I think that the most frustrating part of this book was that I knew it had the potential to be great. But, that greatness was lost in a weak writing style, annoying main characters, a ridiculous love triangle, and bad pacing. Howard’s ideas seem genuinely interesting, but her execution of them leaves much to be desired. I feel like if the author had waited to publish this book, and worked through some of the story’s tangles, it could have been and wonderful. Instead, I found it to be immature and exasperating. Unless you’re in middle school or like cheesy, cliché romances, I would skip this book.
I love Audible! Being a full time wife, mother, and career leaves no time to actually read. Audio books give me my fix anytime and anywhere.
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is one of my all time favorite stories and is what brought me to this title. But this is a COMPLETELY different telling of venturing down to the fabeled under ground world, this story and the Lewis Carroll version actually have few things in common, and so my love for the original isn't what kept me listening. This story is more of an account of what "really happened" then what followed in the wake, and that was a very intriguing perspective. Its also great chick lit, very girl power, and a good allegory for discovering who you are and being true to your heart. Yet, for me, the best was the imagery. If reading or being told a story I can make the words turn into visions, like watching a movie in my head (I'm sure a lot of you know what this is like), and A.G. Howard describes her beautifully macabre Wonderland so artfully it is as if she's painting the scene. Howard's Wonderland is extremely dark, yet breathtakingly vibrant, and features characters/creatures you have never dreamed of but by her words can easily invision. I have not been brought to another completely imagined world so clearly since J.K. Rowling told me about the secret world of wizards and magic. Rowling managed to make her audience feel that there could be the slightest chance that world exists and Howard did the same with Wonderland.
IF none of the above draws you in, then just do it for Morpheus (A.K.A The Caterpillar) that deliciously devilish boy alone makes it worth the credit/money. Trust me.
Mostly YA Book Obsessed!
Splintered is another one of those books that have been sitting on my TBR for the longest time. I’ve always wanted to read it because I have this fascination with Alice in Wonderland inspired fashion. (It’s totally a thing) I kept putting it off because this genre isn’t in my comfort zone. But, I have been trying to step out of my comfort zone lately, and luckily I have been finding some great stories like this. I ended up reading this one because I kept seeing Unhinged on so many ‘Top 10′ lists which definitely had me curious.
I was hooked on this story from the audible preview. A girl that kills and collect bugs and uses them for her art? It sounded so morbid and interesting. Poor Alyssa has no other choice. This is the only way she can think of to quiet the bugs since she can hear them talking. Alyssa is terrified that she will end up in the loony bin like her mother. When she and her best friend Jeb get accidentally (but on purpose) sucked into the world of Wonderland, Alyssa finds out that her great grandmother Alice is the Alice from the Lewis Carroll story. She also finds out that because of Alice, her family is cursed and Alyssa must find a way to break that curse, unless she wants to end up like her mother.
I was so happy that Alyssa had Jeb with her in her Wonderland adventures. Although they’re best friends, Alyssa has feelings for him. I was on Team Jeb right away because there was just something about him that I immediately liked. He was a good guy (which is such a nice change sometimes) and he really cared about Alyssa and put her first. Even though he was confused out of his mind and probably scared as hell, he was always worried about Alyssa’s safety. Awwwww. When Wonderland resident Morpheus shows up with a solution to Alyssa’s problems, Jeb doesn’t buy it. And with good reason! The world of Wonderland is based on the story, but much darker, dangerous and deadlier. Alyssa and Jeb are lucky if they even make it out of their alive.
I hate to say this (especially since I love the bad boys in books) but I just didn’t see the Morpheus appeal. Yeah he was mysterious and cocky and apparently he was also hot, but personally I couldn’t get passed the ‘he has wings and purple hair’ thing. This always made me picture a Disney fairy or something. Plus, instead of the ‘this guy is evil but he’s so hot so who cares’ vibe that I would normally get, I got the ‘this guy is so creepy and I don’t trust him’ vibes instead. I did enjoy his back and forth banter with Alyssa, but I couldn’t get over his creepiness factor. Although Alyssa and Jeb go through a lot in this book, I’m still rooting for them!
Confession time: I’ve never read or watched any of the Alice in Wonderland movies (I tried to watch the Disney movie when I was little and it creeped me out) so I don’t exactly know what the story is about. But I do know the basics and I love the way Howard played this up and gave it her own dark twist. This and the way she so vividly described the world of Wonderland, something that sounded beautiful even if it was dangerous, was one of my favorite aspects of the books. I did have the same problem that I do with fantasy books, there were too many names to keep track of. Sometimes I felt a little bit lost trying to remember who all the Wonderland creatures were. Still, I ended up enjoying this very much. With plenty of plot twist to keep your interest and a great romance to root for, Splintered was a brilliantly written story.
Audiobook Review: I’m so happy I went with the audiobook version for this! This story was meant to be told on audio! Rebecca Gibel outdid herself with her character performances. Especially the creatures of Wonderland! She did such a beautiful capturing the creepy voices and tones and it brought this story to life for me. I loved her Jeb voice and had a crush on it every time his character spoke. I love when a narrator can pull off the guy voices.
This has got to be the best spin on Alice in Wonderland, EVER! I absolutely loved it! Rebecca Gibel did a wonderful job with narration. (Narration needs to be good to keep my attention.) A.G. Howard did an awesome job with this book/audiobook. I couldn't put it down. Two thumbs up! I love her take on the characters and "Wonderland" itself. There is suspense, action and romance wrapped up in a fantastical fantasy world. I definitely recommend this book.
Let me start by saying, this was the first audiobook I have ever listened to. I was a little skeptical at first, since I am your typical Barnes and Noble, old-book smell kind of girl, but this story was fantastic! If you are any fan of Alice in Wonderland or just fairy tales in general, you will love this book! There were plenty of twists and turns to keep any reader satisfied. It was heart-warming and highly original. I wanted to laugh out loud at certain points and cry at others. Overall, this was a charming book that will make you want to fall down the rabbit hole and into the chaos that is Wonderland!
GREAT Narration of this book. There seems to be so many new Alice in Wonderland stories, but this one is refreshingly dark and hauntingly enchanting.
Rebecca Gibel did a fantastic job bringing the characters to life and I could not imagine anyone else narrating these books!
Descriptive, exciting, & Captivating
Gregory Maguire(author of The Wicked Years series) . Mr. Maguire also puts a twist on other classic fairy tale books.
Will purchase Unhinged today! This was a great read!
The Southern Seanachi
It was a wholly unexpected interpretation of Alice in Wonderland. I really dug it.
She does great voices. I felt like I was listening to multiple actors.
Usually I can't tolerate present tense books in audio but this one was well done and less clunky than present tense usually is.
Yes! It was a familiar, yet new tale. Lots of suspense and great descriptions!
Alyssa was awesome! Rebecca showcased her strengths and emotions perfectly.
No. It was just awesome!
Not so much a retelling as a explanation of what really happened. The story of Wonderland as told by Carroll was much gentler than the reality, as Alyssa, Alice's descendent realizes.
Alice's return from Wonderland brought back a curse on her female descendents, making them hear voices from flowers and insects ultimately driving them mad. Alyssa, who's mother resides in a mental facility, was also afflicted. After overhearing her mom's conversation with a grasshopper and being controlled by some unforseen force, she sets out to find the answers before she herself goes mad.
This is a must read for Alice in Wonderland fans. For those of you who despise love triangles be forwarned there is a bit of love triangle action. However it does resolve itself before the end of the novel so no big "who will she choose" cliffhangers here.
"A book as captivating as its stunning cover"
Puberty is a difficult time for any girl, your body is changing, you are under the influence of raging hormones and plagued by acne, bloating, cramps, the voices of bugs and plants…. Nope, me neither. For Alyssa, her transition into womanhood also heralds the onset of her families curse. Ever since the Alice Liddel scrabbled out of that rabbit hole her female decendents have be stricken with serious mental health problems and fixations with Wonderland.
Having grown up witnessing her mothers descent in to madness and her resulting treatment within an asylum, Alyssa has learnt to disguise her anxiety about her cruel birthright and ignore the incessant voices. But a shocking incident at the asylum forces Alyssa to reconsider everything she thought she knew about her mothers condition, and instead of hiding from her heritage, Alyssa actively seeks out answers
From the very first paragraph we learn that Alyssa is no wall flower, no bumbling ditzy girl next door. She is fierce, strong, and in the words of her father, level headed and together. Taking creative revenge on her multi-limbed and be-winged tormentors Alyssa isn’t one for sit around bemoaning the hand she has been dealt, hoping that someone will save her. Instead she takes action, throwing herself down the rabbit hole to face her fears and save her family.
It’s not unusual for a YA book to suffer from a glut of love interests, sparking many a team X verses team Y debate, with each group zealously defending their selected beau. Many times I have found myself rooting for a particular outcome or a particular coupling. With Splintered A G Howard has me completely torn, with no clear choice.
On the surface these men couldn’t be any more different in appearance, manners and temperament. Scratch the surface however and our good boy and bad have much more in common than initial appearances would lead us to believe. Both have dark pasts, history with Alyssa, and both see and accept Alyssa for who she truly is, even before she recognises it herself. They even share the same almost paternalistic, over protectiveness of Alyssa, although the motivation and the manifestation of this fault is uniquely their own.
I adored how A G Howard took a world familiar to many of us, and didn’t so much re-imagine the story but create a spin off series to complement the original. I loved layering my experience of Splintered over my knowledge of the original Alice story. Comparing my childhood memories of the books and Disney movie with the naive and innocent recollections of a traumatized young Alice Liddel. Then discovering, along with Alyssa, the darker, uglier truth of Wonderland and its inhabitants. Familiar and yet unique, I couldn’t help listening to just one more chapter, anxious to discover where Howard would take her story next, never foreseeing where the next twist or turn would redirect us.
The record quality was consistent with no skipping, repeats or weird changes in tone or volume. Narrator Rebecca Gibel did a fantastic job bringing the characters to life, capturing the creepiness and otherworldliness of the many supporting characters and performing the main characters consistently, each clearly defined by a unique voice, allowing the conversations to be followed without confusion. I particularly enjoyed the Billy Idol like British accent she created for Morpheus, it certainly added to his mischievous bad boy persona.
Verdict: A book as captivating as its stunning cover.
I had heard so much about Splintered and it was one of the most anticipated reads of 2013, but I only managed to listen to the book recently. I was aware the story was something related to Alice in Wonderland but it was so different from what I was expecting, in the best way possible.
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