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.
There’s such disparity in people’s opinion of Alice in Wonderland. At least, among my friends is. Personally I find the original tale intriguing but, at times, tedious to read. What I love is a fresh take on the tale. With Splintered, Howard delivers exactly that.
The deliciously frightful and macabre feel from the original story is amplified and morphed. Like how Lewis Carroll based his Alice upon Alice Liddell, this story is framed around Alice Liddell, her future generations, and the notion that wonderland is a real place. Not as fanciful as Carroll makes it out to be, but just as magical.
Alyssa is the great-great-great-great granddaughter of Alice Liddell. She’s a kind of kick-ass character that’s easy to get behind. She doesn’t believe in herself nearly as much as she should (though the whole weird hearing bugs and plants talk thing does sometimes bring a person’s esteem down, I guess). In addition, there’s the steady, childhood friend Jeb, always there with a helping hand and this strong belief in Alyssa. It’s hard not to fall for him, as Alyssa well knows. Or there’s the dangerous, debonair, but difficult to trust Morpheus, who Alyssa may have known when she was a child.
The atmosphere, great writing, and all the twists-and-turns makes for a fast paced read that pulls you in and doesn’t let you go until you’ve made it to the end and figured out all there is to uncover. A highly recommended read for any girl (or boy, if you like this sort of thing) who likes a good pararom and an interesting take on this classic story.
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