Guest Review by Ember: Splintered by A.G. Howard


Splintered, by A.G. Howard, was a real delight to read. The first words held me transfixed: (well, and the fact that it had a completely gorgeousful cover)

“I’ve been collecting bugs since I was ten; it’s the only way I can stop their whispers. Sticking a pin through the gut of an insect shuts it up pretty quick.”

Alyssa Gardener is the great-great-great granddaughter of Alice Liddel, who inspired Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There. Madness runs in her family, dating back to Alice. Her mother is in an institution, her grandmother jumped out of a window after giving birth to test her “wings,” and poor Alice died of shock treatments. Now Alyssa can here the whispers of plants and bugs, but she doesn’t want to tell anyone about it, for fear of being declared mad just like the rest of her family.

It isn’t until a moth suddenly reappears from her childhood (the very same moth that caused her mother to flip out and accidentally cut Alyssa with garden shears, causing her to go to an institution) that Alyssa realizes that Wonderland may not be a myth after all. Through a website she found that was being altered seemingly with magic, Alyssa finds all sorts of information to make her realize that Wonderland may actually be real. When she asks her mentally insane mother about this, she begins telling Alyssa about a curse — a curse that only she can break, a curse on her family causing them to go insane.

When Alyssa finds out that her mother is signed up for shock treatments (the same type of “cure” that killed Alice), she knows that she has to go back to Wonderland so she can fix Alice’s mistakes and save her mother’s life. She gathers up the family’s treasures, and heads out to find the rabbit hole — but ends up accidentally taking her childhood friend and long-time crush, Jeb, along.

Splintered was a very interesting story, and I loved it. Alice in Wonderland is my getaway from life, and this was the perfect extention (not retelling, it was way more than that). A.G. Howard did not mess anything up that would have driven me insane, and it was clear that she knew the story well. The word-building was fantastic, and I felt like I was in Wonderland along with Alyssa.

There was only one thing that annoyed me, the entire time:

Jeb. He’s the overprotective boyfriend that seems to exist in every story. Apparently he loves Alyssa, and trusts her, but it isn’t until the last fifty or so pages of the book that he actually starts to trust her to make her own decisions. I mean, she’s been the one who was saving his butt the entire time and still he thinks it’s terrible that she puts herself into dangerous situations to save her family. Wow. Just wow. Also, he was realllllllllllllly annoying.

I think Alysssa should choose Morpheus. Because he is so much better. ^-^

So, becuase Jeb annoyed me every time he started talking, I shall give this book…

8/10 Pens


– Ember


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