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Review: Splintered

Splintered

SPLINTERED by A.G. Howard was released in the U.S. on January 1, 2013 in hardcover, paperback and audio editions. The eBook, originally slated for release on January 15, will be available on January 22.

SPLINTERED is currently available to order – or pre-order – online at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

Published by Amulet Books, the print edition is 384 pages.

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Goodreads description…

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.

***

SPLINTERED is a dark, magical and wondrous tale that will take readers on an adventure that feels both familiar and yet new and exciting. To a world that is reminiscent of one they’ve been to before and yet is even more enchanting, quite a bit more disturbing and far more dangerous than they may have remembered it to be.

The landscape is richly detailed, incredibly vivid and imaginative, at times hostile and uninviting, at other times enticing, but always intriguing and utterly captivating. The story is filled with characters readers have met before, who are achingly familiar, though slightly, morbidly askew from how they may have originally presented themselves. And new characters who really bring this story to life with their heroism, their dark side, their goodness, their secrets, their sacrifices, their beauty, their pain and their madness.

The journey into Wonderland is every bit the extraordinary adventure it once was. But this time around, with Alyssa Gardner as their guide, readers will get to experience the adventure with someone not quite as naive as Alice, not quite as new to the world, and not quite as alone on her quest.

With Jeb Holt, her friend, her crush, her knight in shining armor, by her side, Alyssa must navigate the twists and turns, and challenges and riddles, of Wonderland. And with the dark and mysterious Morpheus, waiting in the wings, ready to step in to keep her focused on her quest, Alyssa is most definitely not alone as she attempts to right the wrongs of the past so she can return home.

Author A.G. Howard has delivered a gorgeous, lush, disturbing, gruesome, heartbreaking, heartwarming and so completely bewitching tale that will allow readers to fall down the rabbit hole and escape into the slightly sinister reality that is her version of Wonderland. And with a rather bizarre and somewhat grotesque dinner party, an even more horrifying tea party, and a number of equally unique stops along the way, Alyssa’s journey will be far more riveting to follow than Alice’s.

SPLINTERED is not simply a modern retelling of a classic tale. It expands on it. It casts a new – and harsher – lens on it. It revisits the world with new and different and wildly appealing characters. It presents new challenges that put new and deadly obstacles in the heroine’s way. And it adds layers that give this new tale depth and richness and complexity.

It is an epic, enchanting and magical adventure. It is a love story. It is deliciously dark and disturbing. It is bizarre and wonderful and extraordinary. It is an absolute must read. It is unforgettable.

Reviewer gives this book…

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Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.

On a personal note…

Even after time and distance from this story, I am still crazy madly in love with it. It was so unique and different that I don’t think I’ve forgotten one second of it. And I don’t believe I ever will.

I’ve called SPLINTERED a “sticky” story and it is most definitely that. Because it stuck with me long after I’d read it. It’s still sticking to me months later. And it’s one that I imagine will become even more “sticky” when I get the chance to re-read this amazing book.

Which I plan to do. Often.

I loved SPLINTERED far more than I loved Lewis Carroll’s original tale. And that was one story I love, love, loved. So that says a lot about this incredibly awesome book by this equally amazing author. Because I got so completely swept up in her story that the real world just disappeared around me.

And when it came back into focus, I wanted it to disappear again so that I could fall back into the author’s world. So I could take that journey back to Wonderland. So I wouldn’t have to say goodbye to Alyssa, Jeb, Morpheus, Chessie and even the White Rabid.

I loved that feeling of familiarity that got all tangled up in the feelings of excitement and nerves and angst and heartbreak and anguish I felt. I loved getting to not only discover Alyssa’s story but to get just another glimpse at Alice’s.

I adored Alyssa and the fact that she wasn’t so perfect, that there was a dark, wild and free-spirited side to her. It’s what made for a much more compelling story, a far more relatable heroine and one incredibly exciting love story.

This book… Ah this book… brought out all the emotions. Its magic made me feel like I did when I first experienced Lewis Carroll’s story – filled with a childish wonderment. It’s characters made me grin, made me worry, worry, worry for them and broke my heart into sixty million pieces….

My heart still breaks when I think of what happened with… or how that one scene ended with….

I am desperately hoping for a sequel so that I can head back to Alyssa’s world and to Wonderland and get the opportunity to experience it an entirely new way. But until then I’ll just have to dive into the book I do have, fall in love again with the characters I already know and love, and re-discover all the little details I might have missed on first glance as I raced through the story.

I think I’ve already used all of the best adjectives to describe this book in the “review” part of this post. I’ve also had a major gush fest over this book on The Annex when I posted my thoughts back in November. And so I think I may have already revealed every emotion I’ve experienced when encountering SPLINTERED for the first time.

But I still say this book is so freaking amazing. I’m talking off-the-charts, forever kind of amazing. The characters are among my most favorite in YA fiction… how could they not be? I still have the hardest time deciding between “Team Morpheus” and “Team Jeb,” though I’m not entirely sure why I’m forcing myself to choose. And I just know I will bawl when I read that one scene.

That… is inevitable.

Because I’m so totally connected with this story. I am so enchanted by it. I love imagining all the possibilities for where the story might go if there was a sequel in the works. And I absolutely love thinking back on a scene that was so disturbingly chilly it still creeps me out to this day.

I have become such a huge fan of both the author and her out-of-this-world book SPLINTERED. I cannot imagine an existence where I haven’t read this brilliant book or “met” this amazing author.

This is one of my most favorite reads of all time and will most definitely be on the list of my “forever” books. And I know that however long I ramble, gush or sing its praises I will not come anywhere near to adequately describing its awesomeness.

Favorite passage…

It was insanely impossible to choose a favorite passage. I had so very many, you see. So I decided that two would work much better than one – though I chose two very short ones – and they are…

I’m waiting inside the rabbit hole, luv. Find me. His gaze burns the challenge into my soul like a brand.

And…

Jeb releases my fingers and cups my face in his hands, barely touching me, like I’m breakable. “It’s me I’m losing control of. Hundreds of sketches, and I still can’t get enough of your face.”

This review is based on a mix of an eARC received by the publisher and NetGalley for review and a printed ARC received as a gift from another blogger. The review is my honest opinion about the book.

17 Responses to “Review: Splintered”

  1. Wow! Awesome review! I’ve been on the fence about this book, but your review has me thinking that I’ll put this on my TBR list! I’m glad it made such an impression on you!

    • Fiktshun009 says:

      Oh thank you! I’d read this a few months ago and fell madly in love with it. I hope you get a chance to read it and I hope you fall in love. If you’re a Lewis Carroll purist I still think you could love this book. 🙂

      It is one of my favorite reads and I connected with it on so many levels. It really did feel like revisiting a childhood favorite story but one that “grew up” a little to fit me perfectly at my non-childhood age.

  2. J.J. Bonds says:

    Great review! I’m so glad to hear Splintered is more than just a pretty cover. Don’t get me wrong, I love a gorgeous cover, but it’s good to know the story stacks up to it! I’m always iffy on modernized fairy tales, but it sound like A.G. Howard pulls it off brilliantly.

    • Fiktshun009 says:

      Thanks so much! It really is. It’s a little macabre, a little disturbing, a whole lot of entertaining and magical and wonderful. It’s such a “me” story and I hope it resonates with you, too!

      It feels like a brand new story rather than a story trying to make an old one better. And I love the way the author weaves that story in with this one. She did a perfect job with it. So creative, inventive, amazing.

  3. Brooke says:

    Absolutely LOVED this book. I love Howard’s writing. And this is my most favorite cover of 2012, it’s just awesomely beautiful!

  4. Awesome review!! I really loved this book too. The visual imagery was awesome and I loved the creative take on the original.

    • Fiktshun009 says:

      Thank you so much Amy! I’m so glad. Now that I’ve finally posted this “official” review I can now seek out other reviews and see what everyone thinks. I’ll definitely go look for yours tomorrow.

  5. I have been waiting for this book in digital form since Jan 1st, mainly because of how excited you’ve been about it the last couple of months. And now it’s pushed back another week! Aaaagghh!

    • Fiktshun009 says:

      I think I pre-ordered it in August and when I first heard it wasn’t releasing on January 1st I practically cried. I tried to track down a print edition but that was delayed. I finally got the print edition and heard that the digital one was delayed. I was absolutely heartbroken!

      I hope you get it soon so that you can have this in your collection. They say the 22nd but I still hope they’ll release it sooner. Fingers crossed.

  6. My ParaHangover says:

    I can’t believe you waited this long to put your love up on the blog!!! It was hard to hold mine back; I went early 😉 I agree with absolutely everything you said… to me, instead of “sticky”, it’s “haunting”. Ms. Howard’s mind is amazing. I’m very torn on whether I’d like to read a sequel or not. I like it just the way it is. But I’d sure love to see more of Jeb and Morpheus… (I’m more Team Jeb).

    And yes, it is “animal-style”!!! Freakin’ had to remind me of the best damn fast food I can’t get anymore…. great review anyways 😀

    • Fiktshun009 says:

      I actually put my love up – which involved lots of gushing, blaming Jaime, proclaiming my love of Morpheus AND Jeb – on The Annex in November I think it was?

      I wanted to wait for release date for the official review but it was so crazy at year end I didn’t get the chance to write it. Then I decided I’d make the review go “live” the day of the eBook release, but when that was delayed I said forget it, I’m going to post it on the 15th anyway!

      And it is totally haunting. I tend to overuse the word and this one sort of felt really sticky to me. Books don’t usually stick with me this long, but this one did. It’s so unforgettable.

      I love it the way it is, too. Of course I’d love a Morpheus sequel. 🙂 That way you can peek at Jeb and Alyssa and not ruin that part of the story. Almost revealed a spoiler. Oops.

      I was equally split – which is a surprise – because I love the bad boy. But I also love the underdog and well… You read it so you know.

      And oh my gosh that dinner party was totally freaky, freaking hilarious and totally gross! So bizarre but I LOVED it. Oh my gosh. So twisted and disturbing. The auth totally rocks!

      And thanks. 🙂

  7. marissa says:

    holy raving review. You totally sold me at you hope for a sequel. You know it’s great when you just want more. I’m super excited for this one and you just made me even more excited!

  8. tbynum04 says:

    What a fabulous review! You’ve actually come the closest that I’ve seen so far to giving this unbelievably fantastic book its due! But please, I’m dying to know what scene was so chilly that it ‘creeps you out to this day’!

    To avoid spoilers for others who have not experienced the happiness that is this book, please (if you wouldn’t mind!) email me at the address listed in my details…dying for you to jog my memory on this one. 🙂

  9. Awesome review!!! I can see how much you love it 🙂 Its my next read so Im excited to get to it.
    BTW Love the bats Rachel!!!

  10. Jen @ BE says:

    Beautiful review! I can see why you fell in love with Splintered so much! I just wish I had read it already so that I could relate more, so I guess this needs to be bumped up the TBR list. 😉 You’re the only reason I even placed this book there, honestly. You raved about it so much, I became so curious and wanted to read it more!

  11. I have read some wonderful reviews for Splintered and knew that I would read it at some point, but your review is the best and most informative that I have read yet. I have finally hit that “Want to Read It” button. Thanks!

  12. I haven’t seen a single bad review of this book, it’s obvious that I must get it and soon. As always, amazing review 🙂

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