Series: Splintered #1
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Published by Amulet Books (1.1.2013)
eARC, 384 pages
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.
Let me just say one thing first….I. LOVE. MORPHEUS. Seriously. I am so Team Morpheus all the way! Jeb never stood a chance in my mind! Which is probably why I didn’t care about the romance between Jeb and Alyssa. It fell a bit flat for me. There was one scene that went from arguing to kissing that I felt something for their relationship (I adore that kind of thing), but other than that I just felt….meh.
The main problem I had with Jeb was that he was all touchy-feely with Alyssa while he was DATING ANOTHER GIRL. Real classy. And he basically said he was with Taelor because he wanted to fix her. Then something else he said toward the end about why he was really with Tae…that was even worse. I wanted to punch him. Not that I’m on Taelor’s side or anything, because she was a complete and total Bitch, but no girl deserves that. I actually felt sorry for her.
Anyway, Morpheus was waaaay more awesome than Jeb. Jeb was sweet, and caring, and perfect…a bit too perfect for me. I don’t like the nice ones, I like the bad boys. I like a little conflict in relationships, it keeps things exciting! Jeb was just plain boring. That and he was WAY too overprotective of her, it was annoying. Morpheus stood back and let her do her thing and be independent, because as he put it, ‘I’ve complete faith that she can fend for herself. You, on the other hand, can’t seem to grasp that concept.’
Plus, did I mention Morpheus had blue hair? And tattoos around his eyes with color-changing jewels in them? And wings? Mhmmm. Way cooler. Not to mention sexy! When Alyssa went a bit…ah, wild on the special juice and he said he’d have ‘found a means to slake her ravenous hunger,’ I almost had a freaking coronary. Ohh Morpheus, forget lil Alyssa, you can slake my ravenous hunger any day!! *bats eyelashes*
He was incorrigible and his motives were sometimes questionable, but I loved him!!
The way Howard took the old tale and molded it was fabulous. Everything was so twisted! It was interesting to see the changes, the dark side of what Alice ‘misunderstood’ out of innocence (especially Rabid White and March Hairless – brilliant!). I also enjoyed the new things thrown into the mix – netherlings, and the idea of the birthmark and ‘Melding.’
As I was reading this, I felt like it would rate more of a 4 star for me. But, it has stuck with me even after putting it down (mainly due to Morpheus, I think), and I find myself drifting back to the story. I’ve gone back a couple of times to read my favorite parts (with Morpheus, of course), and because of that I’m giving it the extra half star. Obviously Splintered made an impression on me! I’m really hoping Howard will write something else in the very near future, I’d love to read more of her work!
“A mistake I vow on my life-magic never to make again.”
“You don’t have the equipment to satisfy anything. Moth. Remember?”
He laughs, dark and soft, under his breath. “I am a man in every way that counts.”
Don’t mind me, I’ll just be down here on the ground, melted into a puddle…
Porcelain-pale skin, eyes as black as the makeup lining them, lips full and dark.
With the gray smog swirling around his sooty wings, he also reminds me of Jenara’s window display: A dark angel. Although he’s more of a devil.
“You want me. Admit it.”
“Why would I want you?”
“Mysterious. Rebellious. Troubled. All those qualities women find irresistible.”
“Such an optimist.”
“My cup is never empty.”
“Too bad your brain is.”
Writing style: 4.5/5
Overall rating: 4.5/5