Sunday, 30 October 2016

SPLINTERED (Splintered #1) - by A.G Howard

Year Published: 2013 - by Amulet Books.
Genres: Fantasy/young adult/romance/retelling
Pages: 371.
Author: A. G Howard.
Source: Bought.
Goodreads: Splintered

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.

Splintered was an exquisite retelling; darkly sensual and gorgeously written. But its faults lay in the offensive and downright disturbing sexism.

I have been dying to read Splintered for what seems like an eternity. The cover is beyond gorgeous, and the premise is absolutely fantastic.
I can't say I loved (or was comfortable with) everything in this book, but I will definitely read the rest of the series. 


Howard is an incredible writer. Splintered's warped atmosphere was literally tangible; the descriptions seductive and gorgeously vivid. The Gothic madness of Wonderland utterly seduced me with its vibrant colours and dark and enticing mysteries. Howard's world building was amazing, and her writing flowed so beautifully and poetically that it was as creepy and unnerving as it was spellbinding and lovely.

The story was so entertaining. I was constantly looking forward to the eccentric and breathtaking new scenes and every one of them was deliciously imaginative and vivid. That one scene between Morpheus and Alyssa on page 251 was so magical and full of chemistry, I just loved it. It felt so real, and it was so absorbing.   

Two things I didn't like about the story:

- I thought the ending where Alyssa returns to the human world was far too rushed. I, as the reader, also needed time to 'leave Wonderland' and I thought Howard rushed it. 
- I would've liked to have spent more time in Alyssa's human world before we were whisked off to Wonderland. I thought she left for Wonderland too early. Also, I wish Howard had introduced Morpheus in Alyssa's dreams before she suddenly meets him in Wonderland and starts reminiscing; as it was, there was hardly any proper foreshadowing, and the whole thing with her and Morpheus previously knowing each other as kids, etc, felt weak.  


- Taelor's character was very stereotypical. Not to mention that Jeb's relationship with her (considering she bullies Alyssa and he's supposed to be Alyssa's 'best friend') makes no sense whatsoever. And his excuse?:  "I dated try not think about you.......I was afraid of unloading my baggage on someone as sweet as you."  
Oh, *eye roll*

- Alyssa was a unique, rich, quirky and lovely heroine. However, I do think she was a bit too much of a damsel, and I hated how she let the guys walk all over her. Let's just say, she's definitely more of a Bella Swan than a Katniss Everdeen. And it was really disappointing :(  

But again, she isn't your typical YA heroine; and I loved her dark, quirky side.

- Morpheus was a refreshing breather between Jeb and Alyssa. I can't say I'm Team Morpheus or Team Jeb, but I definitely think Morpheus is a better option for Alyssa. For all his manipulating and lying and innuendos, he was, I believe, a gentleman at heart, and I feel like Alyssa would be safer with him than she would be with the controlling Jeb.  

- Jeb was my main problem with this book.
I admit, I did sort of like him at the start; he sounded really hot and sweet and protective, and I allowed myself to kinda ignore the incident where he demands Alyssa's car keys and insists on driving her home; even though it did raise some red flags, I was prepared to overlook it because I wanted to love Jeb and believe he was protective without being possessive. And, to be fair, I liked how Howard's altered the stereotypical 'bad boy' persona by making him quite different from a lot of YA bad boys you read about these days. He wasn't just your typical bad boy, and so while I didn't like him, he was an interesting character.

BUT whoa. I just couldn't ignore this guy's attitude once he and Alyssa got to Wonderland.  He was so sexist, so controlling, so volatile, so patronising towards Alyssa, and no, I don't believe you can call his behaviour "aww, protective" because I don't believe it was. Jeb was constantly carrying Alyssa around, ignoring her wishes, and he treated her like a fragile doll.  It didn't help that she let him push her around and tell her what to do; she never stood up to him, and I would actually go as far as to say it was disgusting. To be honest, it reminded me a lot of Twilight; how Edward controls Bella's life and how she just takes it. Especially considering how Edward treats Bella like a puppy and carries her everywhere; just like Jeb and Alyssa.   
One particular scene that I haven't included in the example passages below but I still think is worth mentioning, is when Jeb warns Alyssa about losing her virginity. Or, as he puts it, "losing an important part of you".  
EXCUSE ME? Who the HECK does he think he is? lecturing her about her body and her choices; not to mention he's obviously got his priorities important part of you? Really? Is that what you think is important about her, Jeb?

Below are some passages that show how controlling and disturbing Jeb's behaviour was. And I have not taken any of these passages out of context :)  

SO Bella and Edward......

How controlling is this?!

This is not loving protectiveness. 

It's patronizing possessiveness.

Jeb has anger issues - he's unstable

What I liked about Splintered:

- The writing. The dialogue was also good (most of the time... *cough* Jeb *cough*).
The world building. The atmosphere.  
The story. It was exciting and entertaining. 
- Alyssa (most of the time).
- Morpheus. 

What I didn't like about Splintered:

- Jeb.
- The sexism.
- Alyssa's tendency towards 'damsel'

I do recommend this book. 
Howard has written a masterpiece. 
But the sexism is disturbing and offensive. 

I can't decide whether to give it 4 flowers or 4 and a half. Oh well, for now.............
I give it: 4 flowers!


  1. Didn't Jeb also have a girlfriend??
    I agree with you, in this book, I had a feeling Alyssa was in love triangle with bad and worse.
    I also think that the world building was amazing. In fact, this is one of my favorite fictional words, I mean this dark faeryland Wonderland, not Carroll's Wonderland.
    Great review! :)

    1. Yes, he was dating Taelor. Urgh, that guy was annoying.
      I TOTALLY agree with your comments there. And I'm glad you loved the world building too :) It was just WOW.
      Thank you!

  2. This is a book that is on my TBR and I love your review. I can't wait to try this one for myself and see what I think!

    1. Thank you :) Hope you get to read it soon, I'm really interested to see what you'd think!


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