Friday, January 11, 2013

Splintered by A.G. Howard (ARC)

A.G. Howard
Pub. Date: January 1, 2013

SplinteredThis 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.

Forget what you think you know about Wonderland - 'cause it's all been fluffed and sugar-coated. Sure, Alice went to Wonderland, met all sorts of crazy characters in a vividly, colorful world and got back out to talk about it (eventually), but the tale told to author Lewis Carroll wasn't entirely truthful.

Alyssa Gardner has officially become her mother, and is on the verge of becoming crazy herself now that she can hear all the commentary coming off the living plants and bugs around her. She even goes so far as to kill as many as she can just to shut them up and stop bugging her, then uses them to create unusual works of art. But it's not her fault. It's her ancestor Alice's, who accidentally stepped into Wonderland and screwed the world royally out of whack, which led to a curse placed upon the female descendents in her family.
Enter Alyssa, a few generations down the line. She thought her mom was crazy too, but now she knows better. So when her mom is scheduled for electroshock therapy and she learns the curse could be broken by going back and fixing Alice's mess, Alyssa's bound and determined to get it done fast. But like all things in Wonderland, it won't be easy. Her friend Jeb accidentally comes along for the ride, and when they get there, they find a much more evil and sinister version than the one portrayed in the popular children's book. And that childhood friend Alyssa had in her dreams growing up? That was Morpheus, a Wonderland native that's been trying to get Alice's lineage back in to clean up the mess. But though he seems geniuinely concerned for Alyssa's safe return, like all Wonderland characters, he's got a few motives that may just endanger her along her twisted journey.
Splintered was a refreshing read! Alice in Wonderland was never one of my favorites growing up, but I love it when these popular tales get a dark and twisted facelift. From Rabid Rabbit to the zombie flowers  to the Jabberlock boxes that imprison their captives indefinitely, Wonderland is a harsh place to be. It's no wonder the original Alice caused so much damage. So if you prefer your fairytales a little dark and messed up, Splintered is for you!
ARC provided by publisher for honest review.
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