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Friday, March 1, 2013

Splintered (Splintered #1) by A.G. Howard

Splintered (Splintered, #1)
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.
Summary & Cover taken from
Length: 371 Pages
Source: NetGalley ARC
Available Formats: Print/E-book/Audio
Publication Date: January 1st 2013 by Amulet Books
I know I'm a little late in finally getting to read my e-ARC of Splintered from the wonderful people at NetGalley but I suffer from the common affliction us book reviewers suffer from. Procrastination. But that's a topic for a different blog post.
At the end of February I finally got around to reading Splintered the first novel in debut author A.G. Howard's Splintered series after having it on my TBR list since August! I was so excited to finally have time and be in the right mood to want to read the book with minimal distractions that I dove right in.
The book started off on a really high note. I loved Alyssa's dark awkwardness that she uses to keep the talking insects at bay with. It reminded me of the awkwardness that we all experience to at least some degree as teenagers and that made me really like her. As Alyssa herself is narrating her story I loved her "voice". She was such a breath of fresh air, I mean how often does one come across a socially awkward character that isn't just hamming it up? Exactly. Not to often I'm afraid.
However, as the story went on I became rather disheartened with Alyssa, the other characters of the book and the over all story line. What started out wonderfully went slowly downhill for me after about page 100.
For me it was as though Alyssa had lost her way. I get that the whole Wonderland thing threw a big wrench in her plans and the fact that her mother is institutionalized put a lot of pressure on her but it was as though she completely threw caution to the wind and stopped using her mind and became a rash decision maker which really caught me off guard.
I also had issues with the other characters in the novel. Alyssa was the only one I really liked in the whole book at the outset but as for the others I didn't care for any of them much at all. I especially had issues with Jeb. I hated his big brother attitude where he got int the way of Alyssa's life too much and couldn't really grasp his appeal because of all that.
The characters in Wonderland while I didn't dislike them totally were very one dimensional and I get that the author was trying to interpret them in new and unique ways but to me they were a little over the top even for a place like Wonderland. I especially detested Morpheus, there's so much about him I don't like I honestly can't see the appeal of him he was such a jerk to Alyssa!
The story line also caused me some problems. As I said it started off fantastic but about 100 pages in it sort of lost the easy going pace it had in the beginning and for me it came together in a bit of a jumbled mess that I had to piece together. Sometimes the story would move so quickly I would have to go back and re-read a chapter or two just to catch what I missed and a time or two I was left with no choice but to move on becoming more confused. There seemed to be a lot of filler in Splintered that I feel the book could have done without and it became way too rushed for my tastes and I wish things were a little more cohesive I think if things went together better I would have liked the book much more.
Despite all that though I did like what the author intended to do. Alyssa started off with a lot of promise and while I thought she lost herself for a large part of the story I did like where she was at as a person in the end. I liked that the author wanted to be different and I understand that a first novel is very much about an author testing the waters of their audience so I can totally see book two being really good. There was action, a love triangle, a lot of fantasy and humour mixed into the story and while the recipe's measurement may have been a little off I can see the series being very successful even if I thought Splintered could have been better.
Overall, the book was an okay read for me and I seem to be in the minority about this but let me say that the author's story telling has a lot of talent and this is just my opinion of the book. I do know people who would absolutely love this book and I will have no issues in recommending this book to them.
If you enjoy young adult fantasy novels especially ones that are re-tellings of popular novels and fairy tales I would highly suggest checking this darker more updated tale of Wonderland out and I can't wait to read the second book in the series when it comes out.
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my free and honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are 100% my own.
It was Okay!
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  1. Great review. Seems like it will have potential down the road. Once a story is laid out even with its weaknesses can be improved upon and better explained in future books.

    1. I think the next book will be really good because of where the author left this one. I hope it has more action and a lot less of the love triangle thing in it though.

  2. Yeah so many books are like that. Its over done.

  3. I also requested it on NetGalley, but it was rejected. It seems interesting from the description, and I can understand why you didn't like it that much. Those things would have probably bugged me too if I were to read it. Which makes it all better that I was refused a review copy as I hate it when I have to write 2 or 1 star reviews.

    1. Aww it sucks that you were declined, you may have really liked this one. I seem to be in the minority when it comes to my thoughts on this one.

  4. I had high hopes for this after seeing so many wonderful reviews for it..but i want my characters to be fleshed out. Great review Kim, i am glad to hear you will continue the series.

  5. Im not really one for paranormal fantasies fallen has pretty much wore me off them. But some one said that this book was amazing like on sweet evil by wendy higgins i love that book. But now thanks to your review i will be kindly taking it off my tbr pile


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