You know, I could do a review in one word kind of thing, and it would go like this: WEIRD. That’s it. Just, WEIRD, that’s the word that immediately popped into my mind while thinking about this book. But as you know, I’m kind of talkative when it comes to books, so obviously I have more to say than just one word. I buddy-read this once again with the incredible Kat, and I’m glad to have her by my side for this experience, because damn, that book really WAS a unique experience.
ALICE IN WONDERLAND RETELLING…WELCOME TO CREEPY LAND
““Do you really think these are Alice’s tears?” I ask. “That I’m supposed to make them go away somehow?”
“I’m the wrong guy to ask. I just saw a skeleton with antlers and a forest of aphid-noshing flower zombies.”
On the list of hyped-books everyone talks about and I haven’t read yet, Splintered is there. Gorgeous cover, Alice in Wonderland retelling, fantasy, magic, and all kinds of things I’m looking forward to getting into more, this year. I was thrilled to get into that story, into Alyssa’s family, discover that she’s a girl with her roots deep into Wonderland, her ears lying around to hear what bugs are saying… wait, what? Did I lose you already?
Splintered is a retelling of Alice in Wonderland. Here, we’re with Alyssa, she’s one of the descendants of Alice, and her mother is in an asylum because she hears things. Like, bugs talking and white rabbit kind of things. But Alyssa hears those little voices, as well. And wonderland is real. And it’s time to go down the rabbit hole to prove her mother’s not crazy, and to save her. But Wonderland isn’t anything like what Lewis Carroll wrote in his tale. It’s way more twisted, kind of creepy at times, filled with monsters and bugs you can’t even imagine. This is probably what I loved the most about the book, but also what made me the most conflicted. Seriously, this book is brilliant, because it takes some inspiration from Alice’s tale that you can clearly figure out, yet turns and twists it into something incredible you couldn’t even imagine. Something incredibly creepy half the time, but incredible anyways. Entering the rabbit hole with Alyssa is a thrilling experience, and I loved it, but there was always on the side this touch of horror, of, I don’t know what the hell is happening and where I am and oh my god I am creeped out by this whole thing. I was a tiny bit uncomfortable at times.
CHARACTERS TO CUDDLE, OR TO FROWN AT
“You can put me down now,” I grump.
“I don’t know. It’s a lot easier to save your ass when I have it riding on my shoulder.”
Let’s talk a bit about the characters. They were just the right kind of awesome, I have to say, and I loved it. If the beginning was a bit slow, especially because I wanted to go down that rabbit hole so badly, I liked getting to know the characters, their relationships, and a bit of Alyssa’s family background with her crazy mother. And a little bit of her craziness, just as well. Alyssa was a great main character, even if, at times, she was annoying, I really enjoyed this whole ride with her. She had just the right sassy things to say at the exact right time, and even if she was confused about her identity, she’s fierce, strong and yet so fragile and you can really see the need she has to save her mother. That was endearing, really. On her side, you get my favorite trope of ever with Jeb, and, I kind of fell in love here. Jeb is Alyssa’s childhood friend and let’s be honest, we ALL want that something more to happen, and we all root for it. At least, I did during the whole story, and I loved each and every single conversation they ever have, their dynamic is GREAT…but why don’t we add something a little spicy to that, and, erm, a little less human? Meet Morpheus, the creepiest and weirdest bookish character I have ever met, yet with a sense of repartee that was awesome, one character you’ll want to hit and cuddle, and can’t help but frown at because CAN WE TRUST HIM? I don’t know. And books where you DON’T know things make me crazy. In a good way? IS THAT WEIRD?
Splintered is a crazy Alice-inspired universe, and I can only take my hat off –okay, imaginary hat-, for this crazy imaginative, brilliant, yet slightly creepy world. I think that’s mostly why I had a bit of a hard time with it, that touch of horror threw me off a bit at times. Yet, going down the rabbit hole for one crazy adventure was almost exhilarating, and I’m definitely looking forward to read more, and hopefully, get used to all this craziness.
Final rating: 3 drops!
Did you read Splintered? Were you fascinated, or slightly creeped-out, or both? Do you want to read it?
Do you know other retellings of Alice in Wonderland? Share your thoughts in comments!
A. G. Howard, Splintered, Published by Amulet Books, January 1st 2013.
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.