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

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.   

Hardcover, 371 pages  Published January 1st 2013 by Amulet Books
ISBN  1419704281 (ISBN13: 9781419704284)

Every once in awhile you are lucky enough to come across a book that will blow your mind. Splintered was that book for me.  I had a very interesting relationship with this book. I read through the book, initially my thoughts were very negative, I didn't like Jeb, wasn't sure why he was even in the story except to add a love triangle angle. I was upset when Alyssa goes through physical changes in her travels because that was just NOT what was supposed to happen in my mind. I was all ready to write a somewhat negative review when I came across a review of this book online, that completely made me view the story in a different way. And I decided that I wanted to re-read the book and look at it from a different perspective. I picked up the audio book instead, and with a more open mind LOVED this story. 

I still had some very small issues about parts I didn't like along the way, I could appreciate Jeb more and became very impressed with the complexities of the twists that Morpheus causes throughout the story. But when everything is revealed in the end, it turns out that this story had so many different layers to it. I have to say that I still am torn on the fact that Alyssa makes physical changes during her travels through wonderland (besides just growing and shrinking because of the cake and drink, I thought those parts fit in perfectly) And I wanted to see a little bit more of some character growth from her to become a more of a fighter in the end. 

What amazed me is the descriptions of the people/creatures and the world building of this Wonderland. I have always been a huge fan of movies like Nightmare Before Christmas and Coraline. And this world is very similar to those dark and creepy stories. The majority of the creatures/people of Wonderland are grotesque, macabre, quirky and sometimes very fairy-tale like. The combinations are very well weaved together along with the tests that Alyssa has to go through are scary but at times humorous.

Alyssa is the Great Great Great granddaughter of the original Alice who relayed the stories of Wonderland to the writer Lewis Carroll. Ever since Alice had her adventures in Wonderland, all the females in the family were cursed, until all the wrongs Alice did could be set right again. While visiting her mother in the Asylum one day, she and Alyssa hear the bugs talking, warnings that "he's coming" and things begin to go horribly wrong. Alyssa decides right there that she must go back to Wonderland to save her mother and herself from this curse. With the hypnotically blue moth Morpheus makes his appearance, he guides her through the rabbit whole and Wonderland itself to help her accomplish the tests. Jeb follows Alyssa through the rabbit hole and becomes a guard for her. 

Morpheus on the other hand, has other things in mind. He needs Alyssa to pass the tests for other reasons than her to break the curse. And he will do anything to get her to complete them, anyway he can.


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