Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Splintered (Splintered #1) by A G Howard {REVIEW}

Book Title: Splintered (Splintered #1)
Author: A G Howard
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Retelling
Publication Date: January 1st 2013 
                             by Amulet Books

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.
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

My Review and Rant:

I admit. The beginning was a little bit confusing. But once you get into the real story, no issues at all! The language and the story flows as smooth as ice tea (because I'm having ice tea while I'm posting and can't think of anything so heavenly for now) And ignore my previous comments, my difficulty in the starting maybe due to my traditional hyperventilated-squealing phase prior to a gawwwgeous read. Oh, and why did I give it a 4.5? Because no matter how much I love Jeb, it's a wee bit hard for me to believe the ending thing turns out the way it does with Alyssa. That's all, and I'm not saying that's a bad thing, I am happy, but microscopically little unconvinced ;)


Alyssa Gardner has a queer familial heritage. From the moment she has known about her not being "normal" she has been trying to hide it. She, like her predecessors, can hear and talk to bugs. But obviously, it's not some special power she can flaunt, otherwise she'd probably end up in the same asylum as her mother, Alison, under sedatives and in straitjackets. But how can you hide from something that's inside you?
Alyssa may be human, yes, but she is also something more, and that's definitely not a crazy lunatic girl inheriting her family's genes of being mental. And you cannot run away from or repress your true identity, even if you do or do not know anything about it.

As a character, Alyssa is great, gorgeous, superb. She is impulsive, caring, loving, blushing, reckless, afraid, stubborn, determined, kickass. She is everything and everything not. She is sane and insane. She is insanely reasonable at times and then sanely impractical at others too. I could go on and on and on, but that would result in more oxymoronic blabbering from me so I'm sparing you all the pain. She is a character you would end up loving, no matter you want to or not.


Let's keep it within a few lines, since my attempt at describing my feeling would be an utter humiliation to Wonderland, both Carroll's and Howard's. The whole place, the overall concept is...awesomesauce (and even that's an understatement). Fantastic visualization. Literally watchable. Every bit of detail is captured and framed into narrative by the author really well. It feels as if she is the one who had been in Wonderland previously and shaping up the idea of that place according to her will. The place, the living beings, EVERYTHING is totally warped and sometimes too morbid but mind gobbling nonetheless.

The Boys. And the tug of war (as to who has an upper hand :p)

People gets the wrong idea. I love Jeb as a character, I really do. And if I must have to be in a ''team'', I would probably (after lots of saddening brooding), I would die out of heartache and confusion over my selection. But...I.LOVE.JEB. Not because Alyssa seems to feel more genuinely for him in this book, though she has a special indescribable feeling for Morpheus as well. If Jeb doesn't eventually end up with Alyssa *cringes at the thought* I would still root for him, unless his character takes a 360 villainous turn or something, which would never happen. Yes, I have that kind of strong (and yet somewhat shaky at times) faith on the author.
*Looks expectantly at Anita* You won't let it happen, at any given point, will you?
Because everything Jeb shows and does reflects his being a mere human. We all have issues, admit it. Nobody's perfect (even though lots of reading can make you awesome no doubt xD). I have seen people saying that Jeb mostly babysits Alyssa, or doesn't believe in her strength, reflecting what Morpheus says at one point in the book too. But it's not something Jeb intentionally does. I think it's because he's known Al for so long. Maybe he knows half the truth about her, but it's truth nevertheless. She has a disturbing childhood, haunting memories, her mother is in the asylum and the things that happens to her or she does aren't helping. Al is in a constant fear that she may turn out to be like her mother and end up facing the same fate as hers. She keeps struggling to look different, be different from the person she doesn't want to become and she's afraid she'd eventually become. Jeb is well aware of some of it at least. He tries to do what a true friend would actually do, try to be a mental support system that Al clearly lacks at all those moments. With all his baggage, he is concerned for the person he cares for more than himself,  and that is Al. The guy doesn't even want to give in to his feelings and confess to Al only because he doesn't want to add himself up as an extra luggage to her life. We don't know why exactly Jeb vetoed her going to London, and we also don't know, apart from the reason Al mentions, what Al's Dad have said to gain support from Jeb on his decision. So let's not blame him for that anymore, shall we? And let's not forget, this is the same guy who finally decides to change all his plans just for Al's sake. With a family to support, it's not an easy decision to make. A slight change can have a dangerous ripple effect in the course of events. Still, Jeb does that, for Al, where he could have easily gone out according to his former plan. If I blame him for his sudden un-friend like vetoing at first, I can no way deny the things he does for Alyssa later. Be it wonderland, or afterwards, he just seems to do things because he is Al's friend, he loves her, can't see her in any kind of pain and that arouses the protective side of him. But I cannot remember for the sweet life of mine a moment where his actions have been a mere selfish act.

On the contrary, there is Morpheus. Before anybody starts throwing tomatoes or eggs or unleashes an bandersnatch at me, let me clarify once again. I LOVE Morpheus. Yes, I do I do. If it is even possible to madly love two heroes from the same book pining for a single heroine, then I love them both. His features, his way of talking, his very nature arouses not-so-decent feeling within myself *blush*

He is the guy with shades of dark. If you count the damsel-in-distress kind of guys as heroes, then no, he may not even fit the criteria of a traditional hero. He borders somewhere between good and wicked, hero and anti-hero. And come on, who DOESN'T like a bad guy in fiction (no matter how far you run away from them in real life)? He trusts in the capabilities of Al. Even at times when Al is confirmed of Morpheus's trickery and she is enraged beyond words, he does or says something that seems to be the most logical reasoning anyone could give. He is like the guardian who watches over you while you're learning to walk, tripping and falling, but never comes at your aid unless you really and irrevocably need him. His feelings for Alyssa are true, undoubtedly. But since he is not just a human being and a far more intriguingly complicated and special 'being', he can prioritize other things over his feelings. He is not like the Romeo who would go to the world's end to help his Lady Love if he is aware that the Juliet has enough guts to face and come out victorious of a dire situation all by herself, no matter how crooked are the means. That doesn't make him inhuman (since he was never a human to begin with :p), it makes him what he is, a very clever, dangerous, attractive, swoon-worthy and persuasive Mothling.
Ahem. It's kinda hot today isn't it? Let me just go and turn on the AC while you decide whether to read the book or, freaking read the book! :D


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