REVIEW: Splintered by A.G. Howard

by A.G. Howard

PUBLISHER: Amulet Books
RELEASE DATE: 1st January 2013
FORMAT: Ebook, 384 pages
GENRE: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult

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. (Goodreads)


SPLINTERED is another twist of the classic, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Firstly I must admit I have not read Alice in Wonderland and was never a fan of the Disney version, I did however, like Alice in Wonderland with Johnny Depp or maybe it was just Johnny Depp I liked 😉

This story is darker and creepier than Johnny Depp’s version and wonderfully descriptive, Alyssa is the main protagonist and the great-great-great Granddaughter of the original Alice who fell down the rabbit hole.

I think the Lewis Carroll book wasn’t exactly fiction. It was a real-life account of my great-great-great-grandmother’s experiences, with some discrepancies.

With a history of mental health problems running through the family, firstly with Alice and now Alyssa’s mother, Allison. Alyssa is worried that she may be heading for the mental institution just like these women before her. Alyssa worries are not wholly unfounded as insects and flowers talk to her too.

Craziness becomes questionable when someone else can hear the exact same thing said from the bugs and flowers and when a beautiful, familiar blue moth explains how to remove the family curse Alyssa knows to save her mother and herself from the institute she must find a way to go down the rabbit hole and correct the mischief Alice originally created in Wonderland.

No YA book is complete without a male lead and we have two to choose from in SPLINTERED, firstly Jeb, the boy next door, good-looking protective best friend but unobtainable as he already has a girlfriend and Morpheus, a blue, hot, pipe smoking moth/caterpillar netherling, exciting but untrustworthy.

On the night Alyssa uncovers the clues necessary to re-find the rabbit hole, Jeb pops over to visit, their conversation ends on an argument and Alyssa steps through the looking glass. Jeb seeing Alyssa disappearing follows her and ends up tumbling down the hole too.

The excitement and adventure kicks off at this point as they enter Wonderland and to return home they must undo all the damage that Alice’s original adventure caused. I was fully absorbed as we travelled into Wonderland, dark, mysterious and creepy with netherling creatures that cannot be trusted and if given a chance even the flowers will uproot and try to eat you.

Familiar yet reinventing the original characters from Wonderland such as the Mad Hatter, Chester cat and bandersnatch to name a few, gives SPLINTERED the originality and fresh approach to make it stand out from other retelling of the classic add that to Howard’s writing style makes for a quick and exciting read.

SPLINTERED provides laughs, romance, a wonderful courageous and selfless heroine, adventure, the all-important hot males and twists that will keep you engrossed from start to finish. If you like the Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr, dark twisted faeries then give this a try. Howard has recreated the classic in a modern day setting with wonderful results, that did not disappoint.

Apart from me being very tight with my stars, the only reason SPLINTERED did not quite reach five stars was because I had got a little bit tired of all of the trials Alyssa had to complete in order to correct Alice’s original adventure and reach the ultimate finale plus there is the usual YA love triangle, other than that, a fantastic start to 2013 and a book I wholeheartedly recommend.


After just reading and loving Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter I must admit I was a little tentative about picking up SPLINTERED knowing it was another twist on the classic Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. I am pleased that I gave SPLINTERED a try regardless of my presumption as it’s a dark, twisted, magical realm with creepy netherling creatures, a strong heroine with a bit of romance, which made for an exciting, well paced read. I enjoyed the fantasy wonderland Howard created and was absorbed from the start. I’m a little gutted that there is only one book. Howard is a definite new name to watch out for, fantastic first début and dare I say it, better than Alice in Zombieland.


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A midnight book worm who loves dystopian and young adult fantasy and paranormal romances. As long as the leading man is dead sexy, she's happy. [Becs no longer reviews for the site.]


Amy TheReader January 18, 2013 at 2:37 am

Wow this book sounds amazing. I have seen this cover floating around the blogosphere like crazy but somehow this is the first review I have read of it. Definitely sounds like one I need to get my hands on. Great review!


Becs January 18, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Thank you Amy, I think Splintered maybe a popular one.
I hope you enjoy it, if you decide to pick it up.


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