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Splintered #1


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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.

371 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2013

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About the author

A.G. Howard

18 books8,763 followers
#1 New York Times and International bestselling Author of gothic / fantasy & paranormal tales, mystical & romantic with a side of horror. A.G.'s dark Alice in Wonderland inspired Splintered series has been published in over a dozen languages.

Young adult, Adult, and literary romance. Repped by Jenny Bent.

How A.G. Howard rates books on GoodReads:

"I only rate or review books I enjoyed reading, and won't give any rating below 4 stars. Please don't consider every high rating a personal endorsement / recommendation from me. My ratings here are subjective to me as an individual.

I don't rate books solely on style. Every writer's voice is individual and unique; I've come to respect this truth during my own personal journey. As long as a story takes me to another place and is well edited, I'm going to give it a good rating. And if, for some reason, a book doesn't entertain me or I don't finish it, I won't leave a rating or review at all.

If you're considering a book I've reviewed/rated, be sure to read other reviews/ratings alongside mine to help you decide if it's a read you might enjoy personally.

Happy book hunting!"

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5 stars
23,467 (37%)
4 stars
19,352 (31%)
3 stars
12,075 (19%)
2 stars
4,680 (7%)
1 star
2,615 (4%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 8,550 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
August 5, 2015
This book literally made my jaw drop. I'm still reeling from some of the offensive, annoying and downright incorrect things that made it past editors, proofreaders and buyers.

I could point out the way mental illness is sensationalized for a bit of drama and Alyssa's mother is just put in a straitjacket and wheeled off to a padded cell, even though straitjackets and padded cells haven't been used much since the introduction of psychotropic drugs in the 1950s and especially not for someone in her condition.

Or I could talk about the ridiculous YA tropes this book is drowning in. Mary Sue emo girl with plaid tights and dreadlocks lusts after a beautiful control-freak boy who has a girlfriend who is a stunning model, characterized by her short clothing and sexuality and - you guessed it - is a total bitch to the MC for no good reason. Probably because the author needs you to think the evil bitch deserves it when Mary Sue wins the guy.

And lets talk about Jeb and Alyssa, shall we? And the fact that this is an actual conversation that takes place in the book:
“Al.” His Adam’s apple moves as he swallows. “I want you to put a stop to this Hitch thing. Whatever’s going on, it’s not worth…” He pauses. “Losing an important part of you.”
Unbelievable. He thinks I’m such a prude, he won’t even say the word. “You mean my virginity?”
His neck flashes red. “You deserve better than some one-night thing. You’re the kind of girl who should have a commitment from a guy who actually cares. Okay?”

OH MY GOD. Is this real? Not only does this macho asshole think he can tell Alyssa to stop her relationship, but virginity is "an important part of you"? What freaking century am I in? If it wasn't for the iPods, I actually would have thought I'd picked up some historical fiction. I honestly thought we were starting to move on from the days when we gave our teen girls pro-virginity, woman-shaming propaganda. Guess not.

Jeb is constantly aggressive and condescending towards Alyssa and it only gets worse when they land themselves in Wonderland. He talks to her like she's five years old and literally pushes her around:
“No.” Jeb crosses my arms over my chest, then lifts me against one of the curtains on the wall so my feet dangle, pinning me like a butterfly to a cork board. “We’re not going anywhere.”

And people like this guy! He's supposed to be one of the love interests but he made me furious.

Despite the fact that Jeb is an abusive piece of shit, Alyssa still crushes on him throughout the book (blushing as she does it, of course, so you don't mistake her for one of those evil slutty girls). She also has no positive relationships with any other female character, except her coworker who she talks to, like, once.

As for the Alice in Wonderland retelling aspect, the book reintroduces many things seen before - talking flowers, drinks/cake making you smaller/bigger, a sort of white rabbit, etc. - and really the only interesting new thing is love interest #2 - Morpheus. Who is, by far, the most interesting thing about this book. In fact, he's the only remotely interesting thing in the book.

But even Morpheus isn't enough to convince me to force myself through the second book.

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Profile Image for A.G. Howard.
Author 18 books8,763 followers
January 21, 2012
I'm not giving it any stars because it's my brainchild. :) But I will say that I love my heroine and her two guys (the good one and the naughty one) and I had a blast warping up Wonderland. ;)
Profile Image for Kiki.
197 reviews8,525 followers
October 9, 2019
White girl anthem time, because literally, ew, I can't.



I can't.

So the other day I was watching Grey's Anatomy and I knew I was making a mistake because, being a casual viewer (and by casual I mean that I can stomach perhaps one episode every seven months) I wasn't invested enough in the convoluted story or the characters to ignore all of the insanely far-fetched medical and social oversights: a woman is furious that her brother died because "I'm a neurosurgeon, and I could have saved him!" even though by law you cannot operate on your own family; a woman with a broken neck giving birth in an elevator, with no spinal block or stabilizing equipment save for a flimsy neck brace, being told to "stay very still, or your neck will break more!"; a woman who just turned the machines off on her brain-dead husband being back at work after like two days on bereavement leave; the chief of surgery planning to marry the owner of the hospital and then, after one fight, calling off the wedding; surgeons walking around the hospital in gowns and masks and gloves, eating food; surgeons at the ambulance bay with long flowing hair left loose; a man being surprised that his wife has changed after a stint performing life-saving surgery in a war-zone; and a pair of interns left alone with a pregnant woman with a broken neck and subsequently nearly killing her by loosening her neck brace.

The list goes on. And it reminds me of this book and the absolutely absurd way it plays out even just from a medical angle. A nurse carries a syringe full of drugs in her pocket; a woman is put in a strait jacket in a padded cell; a young woman with a family is locked away on a ward indefinitely with only scheduled visits.

The nurse with the syringe in her pocket? What the fuck. Struck off. You cannot carry drugs around like keys. Even worse is that strait jackets and particularly padded cells are scaremongering horror fiction: using strait jackets, or indeed any extreme physical force, is these days widely considered a breach of human rights. There is no if, and or but - the author was sensationalizing mental illness. A patient like Alyssa's mother would never ever be confined to a strait jacket and certainly not a padded cell.

Alison would be assessed, medicated, and put back out into the community. Probably with home help. She's a young woman capable of looking after herself. Gone are the days in which mentally ill people were immediately holed up behind bars. But that's not tantalizing enough, is it, A. G. Howard? That's not sensational or exciting. It's not thrilling to see someone with mental illness take her medicine and live a normal life.

This book is FUBAR in terms of how it deals with mental illness. Like holy fuck, I cannot get over the nurse with the syringe in her pocket. Her POCKET! That shit stays on the drug trolley and then goes straight in the goddamn sharps bin when it's done. How did nobody catch this? How? This book went through an agent, an editor, and a whole publishing house, and no one thought to themselves, "Is that even allowed?"

Look, I should have known before I even started this. The blurb sort of piqued my interest, because I love parallel universes and girls who fall into them, but Alice in Wonderland always just stank to me. I never liked it. I don't even like the Disney movie and I literally like all of the Disney movies.

I guess I thought a retelling would bring something other than fishnets, fuckboys, and sensationalised mental illness to the table. Oh, how wrong I was.
Profile Image for Melissa Marr.
Author 107 books12.8k followers
December 5, 2013
I LOVED this book enough that I'm posting my first ever detailed Goodreads review.

The writing is gorgeous--lyrical and evocative without ever descending into unnecessarily purple. The story is compelling (& the twist was unexpected), and the characters felt like they were real enough to have heartbeats. The author is also one of those wonderful creatures whose pre-finished books are clean enough to read. I read this in manuscript, pre-galleys, and the writing was so polished that I only noticed one error in the text. THAT is rare.

SPLINTERED is a great companion read to Carroll's ALICE IN WONDERLAND without disrespecting the original text in any way. It's not a re-telling/re-envisioning, but a story that uses ALICE as background to jump off into a new story. Honestly, I was hesitant to read it because of the ALICE association. (I am a lifelong ALICE fan and former university lit instructor.) However, in A.G. Howard's hands, the allusions to the original story are treated with respect. It was masterfully done.

It's also the first book I've read that I could say was actually a read-alike for my Wicked Lovely series. I've seen that phrase thrown around by publishers since WL released, and I usually roll my eyes. SPLINTERED, however, is a perfect fit for any of you who enjoyed WL. In it you will find a pierced artist who is the protag's best friend, a girl who has a major secret and ends up caught up in the politics of a strange world filled with beautiful terrifying creatures. There's even a "living ivy vine" moment. It's a read-alike without being derivative.

Most of all, though, SPLINTERED is simply a delicious, disturbing, mad, wonderful read. I can't recommend it highly enough.
Profile Image for Demi.
86 reviews74 followers
January 11, 2016
Can we take one moment and wonder how much better this book would have been if Jeb wasn't in it? CAN WE?!

This guy was a major douchebag! Besides the fact that he was as good as useless to the entire plot, he had no respect all for Alyssa's opinions or decisions. "Jeb, I think--" "Shut the fuck up. I decide what you can and can't do."

Protective was not even how I would describe him. Controlling is still an understatement. He treated her like a fucking puppy. Its not even like I'm reading too much into this because Morpheus kept pointing it out. And I feel so sorry for his actual girlfriend who he used and cheated on. What the fuck is wrong with his mindset?

Alyssa fell into his bullshit everytime. I can't...I just can't even with her. She was a complete mary sue. That's all I have to say.

Morpheus had his bullshit detector on the entire time which made me love him. His relationship with Alyssa though was so back and forth it made my head spin.

The plot itself was alright. I would give it a 4. The ending was kind of quick and cheapened.

Just no with Jeb though. Just no.

A month ago a made the mistake of taking the plunge and reading the sequel (got it from the library no way in hell would I spend money on that trash) and it was even worse than I expected. If you're interested in seeing a (slightly spoilery) rant regarding the sequel and Jeb (again) then you can see it here.

All I can say is apparently the author based Jeb off of her own husband and if that doesn't make you question the society we live in than I don't know what ever will.
Profile Image for A.
58 reviews1,435 followers
Shelved as 'did-not-finish'
July 21, 2014
More reviews @ The Beautiful World of books

DNF halfway through...

What I felt about the cover-

What I felt when I started reading this book-

What I felt about the main character-

What I felt about the male love interests-

What I felt about the love triangle-

What I felt about the plot-

What I felt about the writing-

My feelings for the book-

My final verdict-


Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,538 reviews9,967 followers
August 10, 2022
Reread 2022 - I changed my star from 4 to 3. I didn’t love it as much this time. We shall see with the rest of the series. I know that I love all of her covers but I can’t let that be the reason I keep things. I still love Morpheus though Old review below!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾


Reread with friends at For Love Of A Book!

So after re-reading this I was quickly going down to a 3 star, maybe less - just because of Jeb's character. I mean he's hot and all and he's does good things sometimes, but for the most part he just sucks! I don't like the way he's controlling with Alyssa. I mean who is he to be telling her what she can and can't do or be with when he has a girlfriend. Whatever!

And even though Morpheus did some devious things in the book, I just love him and his beautiful blue wings =) So, I left it st 4 stars! 💕

The thing is, Alyssa is related to the Alice Liddell that Lewis Carroll wrote about and they all go mad . . .

Alyssa's mom is in an insane asylum for talking about rabbit holes and trying to kill Alyssa and talking bugs and flowers. Alyssa and her dad visit Alison in the ward all of the time. But things are just not as they seem. Why would they be, it's all cray in Wonderland world.

Alyssa is a skater girl and she can hear the bugs and plants talking too. She thinks she's going to go mad like all of the other women in the family.

But no, she just ends up going to Wonderland to be with Morpheus and try to help her mom. And of course Jeb just has to go along and for a while there I was ill reading all of his nonsense.

Alas, the crazy ensued and we were off to the races with madness all around. There were a lot of pretty cool parts, some morbid but hey, it is what it is.

And the freaking book covers on these books are some of the most amazing I have ever seen!!!!!

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Profile Image for Steph Sinclair.
461 reviews11.1k followers
December 4, 2013

More of a 3.5 star rating.

Okay, so here is a little truth for you: There is no other children's tale that scared me most as a child than Alice in Wonderland.* I will never forget the first time I heard the story. It was by way of my grandmother and these cassette tapes she bought me called Porch Swing Stories. It was very generous of her, but let me tell you, those tapes were the devil. Pretty much all of the stories were purposefully cranked up in the creepy department and I'm convinced that the person who created such torture devices never interacted with a child. Later, I saw the Disney movie version of the tale and was further traumatized by the damn Cheshire Cat, who was just a little too happy for my taste, and his Wonderland posse. I mean, what was their problem anyway?


Well, I guess that explains it...

Obviously, since losing my heart and soul (as Kat frequently reminds me), being afraid of Alice in Wonderland is no longer an issue for me. But besides that less than disturbing fact, I had to read Splintered because A) The cover is to die for B) The cover is to die for C) The cover is to die for. This level of novel vetting always works for me. That is, except when it doesn't, but that's besides the point. Splintered brings such a unique spin on Alice in Wonderland with rich world building, re-imagined characters and a clever plot.

Alyssa Gardener, our protagonist, has a family history of insane women all starting with Alice Liddell. In fact, even her very own mother, who she distantly refers to as Allison, is committed to an asylum. With her strange ability to hear the whispers of flowers and bugs, Alyssa fears she is soon to follow. However, her true fear is ultimately losing her mother to the madness unless she can somehow break the Liddell curse. So she gathers family trinkets (a key, mirror, gloves, hair pin, etc.), repeats history and travels down the rabbit hole only to find it's not exactly the same Wonderland described in the famous story.

If you are one who, unlike myself, knows the original Alice in Wonderland pretty well, then I think you'll be very pleased with what Splintered has to offer. Right from the beginning when we are introduced to Alyssa Gardener, I could see the subtle references. But, of course, simply mentioning pieces of the original isn't enough to make it feel authentic. There's the vivid descriptions, character mannerisms and, of course, Wonderland-like puzzles and riddles. And that is where I think Howard truly excelled with this novel. She effortlessly wove in the old with the new. So instead of it feeling like a simple retelling, it's more along the lines of an extension of the original because it's clear that Howard left no stone unturned when it came to crafting the her Wonderland.

If that isn't enough to entice you, there's also this gothic feel the novel carries, especially in the beginning when the mystery of Alyssa's past is at it's strongest. Alyssa the skater girl, who likes to wear colored dreds and collects moths for artistic collages. Little things like that added a certain level of charm, but also helped Splintered to stand out as taking a slightly different route as a retelling.

Now, while I've been singing praises left and right about Splintered, there are a few things that bothered me. However, I should note that it did not detract from my personal enjoyment from the novel much.

The Characters:

My biggest problem would have to be Jeb, Alyssa's best friend. I can understand what Howard was going for with his characterization. Present the reader with a character who has to have some type of control over the main character to help show her resulting personal growth by the end of the novel. At least, that's what I got from it. Unfortunately, this did not work out for me. Why? Because 90% of the time I found Jeb to be a controlling douche. In the beginning, Alyssa wants to go to London to study art, so her dad and Jeb sit down for dinner to decide if she can go. Did I mention that he is only a year older than her and the love interest of the story? Yeah... I wasn't exactly thrilled with him having so much say in the matter. Yet, I tried to like Jeb. Tried and failed. Every time he went missing from the storyline, I felt myself really enjoying the book, but when he returned? Nosedive. By the end of the book, the only way to describe how I felt for him is to simply say I tolerated him. Basically, I went from stabby feelings to an eye roll whenever his character had dialogue.

Even still was his girlfriend, who has a history of bullying Alyssa. Jeb seems to never defend his best friend, but instead expects Alyssa to try harder with getting along. >_> What's worse is that Alyssa never really calls him on that. Why should Alyssa have to place nice with a bully? More importantly, why would her best friend ask that of her and never say anything to his girlfriend?

The good thing is that once Alyssa got to Wonderland the annoyances decreased significantly. Alyssa's characterization picks up and we are introduced to Morpheus. And this might surprise some that know my tastes, but I kinda liked the guy. I think his twisted personality fit in perfectly with Wonderland. But I do think the reason why he didn't bother me is because I never truly saw him as a contender for Alyssa's heart. I saw that he had feelings for her and that they shared a connection, but I never thought it would go further than that.

Overall, if you are looking for a richly imagined retelling of Alice in Wonderland, Splintered is definitely the way to go. I had a few mild reservations, but I think most people will probably enjoy seeing just how deep the rabbit hole truly goes. I did and I can't wait to see what future works Howard has planned.

*Hopefully I didn't lose too many cool points with you for that strange, compulsive confession.

ARC was received from the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review. Thank you!

More reviews and other fantastical things at Cuddlebuggery Book Blog.
May 7, 2013
Before I start: how gorgeous is that cover? I mean really, if there exists such a thing as judging a book by its cover, I'm so there.

Alyssa is a descendant of the original Alice Liddell, the inspiration for Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland book. The women in her family suffer from a curse of madness, even the illegitimate by-blows of the family become stricken with insanity after they reach puberty. Her mother ends up in a mental asylum after trying to kill Alyssa when she was a small child, she and her father both suffer knowing Alison is mad; her father because he still deeply loves his wife, and Alyssa because she knows she is doomed to the same fate. They often visit her mother in the asylum, even if each visit is painful to them both, seeing their loved one in the grips of madness.

Alyssa has a close friend, Jeb, who is dating Taelor (I hate her already just by her name), the stereotypical beautiful, spoiled rich girl nemesis. Alyssa has been an outcast in school her entire life ever since Taelor reveals that Alyssa is descended from Alice Liddell. She is subsequently bullied and ridiculed by the other kids for her connection to the Alice of yore. I don't really understand the grounds for this: being related to the original Alice...that's pretty awesome. I would say it's more of a claim to fame, particularly in grade school, rather than anything over which to be ostracized.

Alyssa rebels by becoming a skater, wearing as much makeup, hair dye, and dreadlocks as possible to disguise who she really is (the fact that Jeb calls her "Skater Girl" really gives me Avril Lavigne vibes). When the latest visit to her mother in the asylum turns violent, her father is desperate enough to resort to consent to electroconvulsive therapy, Alyssa tries to save her mother by turning to the mysterious boy in her believed hallucinations. She finds herself down the rabbit hole in a darker version of Wonderland, and is accidentally joined by a stubborn and reluctant Jeb. In Wonderland, she meets the boy of whom she dreams, Morpheus, who has appeared in her dreams since she was a child. He tells her to go on a series of quests to fulfill her mission in order to save her mother.

The creatures she encounters along the way are definitely based upon the original Alice books, albeit remarkably more twisted. The recent adaptation of Alice by Tim Burton has got nothing on the creepiness of the creatures in this book. I love the clever spin and connection of the original tale with the methods that Alyssa uses to resolve through the dangers she encounters along the way.

I love the portrayal of mental illness, and the heroine is someone I actually like, despite my mental image of her being Avril Lavigne. I find it so hard to like most characters in YA novels; most of them are either too damn stubborn (coming from the cut-off-your-nose-to-spite-your-face school), too annoying and contrary, or just plain TSTL. I am happy to say that Alyssa is neither. She is smart, thoughtful, intelligent, and can figure shit out for herself.

I disliked the main love interest. Jeb doesn't seem good enough for her; he is overbearing, overprotective, and is the type who denies his own feelings FOR HER SAKE. No thank you, that's not my definition of love. I just wanted to smack Jeb away and leave Alyssa alone to do her thing, because frankly, she repeatedly demonstrates a capability of managing on her own.

The plot was great in the beginning, but drifts off in a myriad of confusion in the latter third of the book. The plot became confusing to me, twisting more and more until I didn't really understand what was going on anymore. By the end, I still wasn't sure what happened to resolve the plot. The confusing latter plot and messy ending was my reason for taking off a star, otherwise, it was a beautiful, surreal, fantastically imaginative read.
Profile Image for chloe.
246 reviews28.5k followers
December 12, 2019
This started out really interested and I loved the dark twist on Alice in Wonderland, but it soon became boring and I really didn't care for the love triangle which ended up being a huge part of the book.
Profile Image for Hailey (Hailey in Bookland).
614 reviews87.8k followers
April 7, 2017
SPOILER FREE REVIEW: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jN6NG...


“You understand the logic behind the illogical, Alyssa. It's in your nature to find tranquility amid the madness. And that's what we're doing here. We are giving our food a fighting chance.”

I knew going into this book that I would either love it or hate it and to be honest, I more so expected the latter. Through the Looking Glass is one of my favourite books and as such I knew I would be drawing comparisons the whole time. Lucky for me, I loved this book.

I had heard this described as a retelling of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland but I think it is more so a reimagining of Alice's Wonderland, a darker, much more sinister Tim Burton-esque Wonderland. I also found the events of the story aligned much more with Through the Looking Glass than they did with Wonderland, which got kind of confusing for spoilery reasons. Because of this, the book really wasn't what I was expecting, but I mean that in the best possible way.
June 12, 2018

“He starts to hum, a haunting melody. No words ride the music, only the familiar notes of a forgotten song.”

Story ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
When I was little I could never quite decide which fairy tale was my favorite.
But the older I was, the more I was fascinated by Alice and her adventure in wonderland.
The thing I liked the most of it? The craziness, the insane and illogical things in it. And the huge amount of fantasy for creating a world like this.
But I always felt like the story was too childish, too naive and nice.
So this book was the perfect match for me.
In German it’s called “dark wonderland” and finishing this book in just a few days, I can only agree to that.
The main character is Alyssa, a young girl with huge artistic talent and whose mother is in a asylum. Soon she finds out that to save her mother from an electric damage, she needs to find the rabbit hole.
And soon a huge adventure starts for Al with new friends, enemies and revelations about herself.
All in all I think this book was awesome in its storytelling. The twists and turns and all the fantasy in it is hugely entertaining and fascinating.
I loved it, especially all the plot twists that make me greedy for more. More insane thoughts and people and more creepy but fantastic creations.

Character ⭐️⭐️⭐️
“No one knows what he or she is capable of until things are at their darkest.”
I think this part of the book has a few flaws and weaknesses.
Starting with our main character Alyssa whose really brave, smart and all In really likable. But being around Jeb she always lets herself be saved. She’s playing the weak link and lets him speak for her.
In general she’s not deciding things for herself, always listening to some boys who try to push her to their side.
In the end that changes, but still, it’s a bit annoying that even though she could’ve easily saved her a lot of trouble and emotions by going through her adventure alone, she still chose to be guided by her all time hero Jeb.
Okay. Lets be honest. I hated Jeb. Didn’t start liking him throughout the book, even though I maybe should have. I just couldn’t.
He always spoke for her and decided for her, even though she could’ve easily done it herself. But no, he needed to play her hero and savior all the time. I know some girls and boys love this, but I think a good mixture or balance of strong woman who can save the world herself and men who support her and save her when all is lost and she really needs his help, is the best.
Morpheus was a really interesting character that sometimes reminded me of Rhys from acowar, but in a more wicked way.
He was extremely selfish with a huge intelligence and a great self-confidence.
He is a real good tactician that can master a plan easily even though people get hurt or killed. I liked that about him - the ruthlessness in his character.
All in all I think Morpheus was the most interesting of them and I’m glad we get to see a lot of him in the book.

World ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“Little blossom in peach and red
Trapping boys with your pretty head;
Tease and play, be coy and smart
For you will one day break his heart”

All the points for the world building in this book. The landscape, the creations, the people, twist and turns. It was brilliant even though it had many inspirations by Alice in wonderland. But that’s what I liked about it. It was like a really dark twisted and creepy wonderland with similar characters but a really great storyline.

Relationships ⭐️
“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.

Oh wow. I never had this situation. Every time a book had a love triangle, throughout the book I choose one side - and then I was team XY for the whole trilogy.
But in this book... I didn’t choose a side.
I didn’t like either of them. I couldn’t stand Jeb because of his character and I didn’t like Morpheus because even though he was really interesting, he really hurt Alyssa in a really bad and horrible way.
In my opinion this book could’ve easily live without a stupid love triangle (especially Jeb in it...), because Alyssa is a great female character and could’ve been a huge female hero.
But no... always boys that try to guide her on their side.
That was literally a part I really hated about the book. It was just unnecessary.

Writing style ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Well. Well. Well. This wasn’t a masterpiece of words but it was good. It was fluent and simple with a lot of imaginative descriptions.
The twist and turns, revelations and creation made the book so wonderfully individual.
So, I definitely recommend this book to anyone who love Alice in Wonderland and wants to try a new, twisted and creepy version of it.

“I need to get to that tea party and wake up the guests."
Jeb looks at me. "And how are you supposed to do that? Give a magical kiss to the half-baked hatmaker?”

757 reviews2,350 followers
February 25, 2017
*there's probably going to be a lot of grammatical errors in this review because i'm a lazy shit*

i honestly don't know what to think of this one. to me it was bland, boring and plain, yet somewhat enjoyable.

bruh, this was seriously not the kind of Alice in Wonderland i expected to read about. i actually forgot what the tale even is, but whatever it is, it was definitely not this, like it was different??? and i just realized that sentence probably made like no sense, but what the fuck ever.

so the beginning actually gave me a lot of typical ya contemporary with some magic realism vibes. it didn't really feel like an awesome magical fantasy retelling. it was rather bland and dull and seemed a lot like a ya contemporary to me. even when we got up to the "fantasy part" of the book, it still didn't feel like a "fantasy retelling" to me. felt like a ya contemporary magic realism fam.

the writing was kind of immature-ish and really dull and bland. like, the story didn't feel alive to me. idk why, but for some reason it lacked magic and simply felt dull??? it was very bland and i honestly felt no emotions while reading this except for annoyance. at jeb, particularly.

alyssa our mc, was the typical white, blonde hair, blue eyed pretty mc who doesn't really know she's so beautiful and has two guys lusting after her. *rolls eyes* she was extremely dull and annoying. she was whiny and downright annoying and i didn't like her??? like, am i supposed to like you? no thanks.

jeb was a controlling piece of dog shit. like, he needs to fucking calm the fuck down and stop trying to tell alyssa what to fucking do and stop being so fucking controlling to her. how the fuck do people like this guy?? he's a fucking shit.

morpheus on the other hand is fucking everything. unlike, jeb, the piece of shit, he's not a controlling, abusive asshole and pushes alyssa to do her best. he's fucking amazing and can i have him? thanks.

so like, overall, i'm disappointed, but hoping the next book is better.

Profile Image for Katie.
522 reviews423 followers
October 15, 2012
For this review, I will be utilizing the gloriously expressive face of Tom Hiddleston.

To Splintered, I would basically just like to say one thing:

When I saw the blurb for this book, I was a little unsure. I love Alice in Wonderland (both the book and the Disney movie...along with like, every adaptation there's ever been). But the bit about Alyssa maybe being crazy sounded weird, and I'd also heard some negative things about Alice in Zombieland, so I was sort of wary of any YA take on this classic.

Y'all, I'm here to tell you: don't be afraid to read this book! It is wonderful in every way.

Basically, this book made me feel lots of feels. The good kind.

This is one of those times where I can't find anything to criticize. I liked the heroine, I liked the love interests (yes, TWO!), I liked the pacing and the plot, and I liked the writing style.

But probably my favorite part of the book was the worldbuilding. Howard takes the original Alice mythology and not only expands on it but also changes it in a lot of ways. This is NOT the Wonderland from Lewis Carroll's children's book; it's darker, more terrifying. But it's still magical and gorgeous, and I kind of wanted to live there despite the scary bits.

Howard's writing is very visual, conjuring up these great images that really help you share her vision for Wonderland. Everything is described beautifully, and I can't help wishing this could be a movie or TV show or something. I feel like it would be gorgeous.

Also, this is sort of a small thing, but I loved that the clothes are described so thoroughly. Personally, I'm into fashion. And I love it when our heroine is too. And there are LOTS of cool clothes in this book. Everybody dresses sort of punk/alternative, so that was really fun.

Now, I MUST gush about the romance.

Hats off to you, Ms. Howard, for writing not one but two very hot boys. One of which is super creepy but so totally awesome in a scare-the-pants-off-you sort of way. Why is he so awesome? Because he's FREAKING MORPHEUS!

Now, most of you probably think this when you see the name "Morpheus":

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The cool people, however, think of this:

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But in A.G. Howard's book, Morpheus is one very delicious netherling with black wings, a Cockney accent, and a fetish for well-made hats. I loved him. He's the sort of bad boy you love to read about (but totally never want to meet in real life).

Then there's Jeb, the best-friend-turned-lover type but who's not really the boy next door. He's got lots of issues, but he's not brooding or mean. It was nice reading about a guy who has angst but isn't a douche. Yeah, he was protective, but I didn't think in the cliche, annoying sort of way you find a lot in YA. He was adorable, and while I sometimes wished he could have taken a more active role in the plot (he often plays sidekick to Alyssa - but, hey, this is HER story, not his), I really enjoyed reading the scenes he was in.

Splintered is probably one of the coolest, most imaginative YA books I've ever read. It's a mixture of a lot of my favorite things, and I found it a lot different than other fantasy titles out there. It side-stepped a lot of the cliches, I thought, and the premise is just so incredibly interesting that it was impossible for me to not fall head-over-heels for it.

This was my first 2013 debut I read, and it was awesome.

I will most CERTAINLY be reading future books by A.G. Howard!
Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,355 followers
July 12, 2016
Splintered seems to be another instance where I appear as the black sheep. I've seen numerous positive reviews of the novel before I went into it, and came out feeling pretty disappointed. A book I even thought at first I would absolutely love, ended up being just a little too drawn out. I had little love for the characters, and the fascinating twists came a little too late to grab a higher rating.

I will say, the novel is not a complete let-down, especially for Alice in Wonderland fans. I, myself, have never been a junkie of classic fairy tales, but out of all, Alice remains one of my favorites. Thus, I was instantly taken by the plot in Splintered. It has great connections to the Alice story we've known for years, taking us into the lives of Alice's very own great-great-granddaughter--Alyssa. By 20%, I was fully enraptured in this tale by which time I had incredibly high hopes for, thinking it a for sure winner. Sadly, when the initial high of this exciting plot peaks, it quickly crashes into an adventure filled with so many detours and a tiresome love triangle. It made it hard for me to even finish it.

To draw a picture of this love triangle: we have Jeb, a jerk who Alyssa is head over heals in love with. The boy next door who inadvertently becomes Alyssa's sidekick in this twisted wonderland, Jeb is not likeable at all. Mostly, he's boring, and any personality he does have includes him being irritating in his behaviour towards Alyssa. Sure I've seen worse love interests, he's hardly even in my least favorite, but his character is simply not attractive in the least. His obvious denied love for Alyssa, and their "we love each other but we can't because (insert lame reason here)" relationship is exhausting. Then comes Morpheus, a Wonderland native who is also madly in love with Alyssa and trying to win her over. I actually did not mind him. Sure he's a wanker, but he's abruptly honest about his personality so you can't help but just accept that he is who he is. We're not "supposed" to like him, so, as usual, I loved to hate him. :D

Honestly, I don't abhor love triangles as much as most, but I need to understand why it exist, and in this case it felt too much like the romance was there just because. It took too much attention off of the plot, which is by far the best modern Alice story I've read. The middle section could have easily been cut in half. Alyssa is taken on so many runarounds without getting any answers that it takes a lot of patience to get through this book. I'm not known for my patience…

I will have to say, however, that at the end I was thoroughly satisfied with the way the story played out. Cut out the romance, the long winded deviations, a boring protagonist, and we have ourselves a 5-star! (…crickets…) In all honesty, the main plot is fantastic. The plays on the original Alice, and the way the author makes it her own with unique twists is worth the read for that alone! I loved how we get a completely new "no, this is what actually happened" story. It's brilliant! This leads me to recommend this novel to any Alice fan, regardless of my issues with the less endearing parts of this novel. Just, be patient.

An advance copy was provided by the publisher for review.

For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
Profile Image for shady boots.
500 reviews2,042 followers
May 2, 2015
So I had to re-read this book, and I'm actually glad that I did, because a lot of the stuff in here--especially a huge chunk of the last half--I'd completely forgotten. Oh, and I have no idea why I ever considered myself Team Morpheus in the first place. He's kind of an ass. Actually I'm neither on Morpheus nor Jeb's side. I don't exactly love either of them. But I do love this book even now, exactly two years after my first read. I can finally read Unhinged now that I know all the necessary details.
Profile Image for Megan.
535 reviews345 followers
December 4, 2013

I sure wish now that I'd taken the blue pill and not read this book...

On paper, a book might seem like many things. Some might seem like rage-inducing snooze fests directed at sexist people with a death wish. Incredibly epic, of course, is the preferred synopsis of choice. When I picked up SPLINTERED, glossed over the synopsis a few times, and took it in with a final hard look, I saw one word flash across my eyes – AWESOME. And that was what I took when I opened my Kindle and started this one. Sometimes, though, a synopsis misleads you. For me, SPLINTERED seemed epic in a Tim Burton-esque way. In reality, it was a one way trip to Hot Topic where they were having a blowout sale on Alice in Wonderland merchandise with Johnny Depp’s face plastered everywhere.

SPLINTERED is the story of Alyssa, the daughter of a woman afflicted with severe psychiatric issues, and the granddaughter and great-granddaughter of others similarly affected. Alyssa herself can hear bugs and flowers speaking to her. With her love interest Jeb, a brooding artist currently dating the high strung and stereotypical enemy Taelor, Alyssa goes on a hunt to destroy the curse, leading her down the rabbit hole right into Wonderland.

The first 20% of this book is a tedious exposition on Alyssa’s current life. Her mother is at Soul’s Asylum, where she eats only out of tea cups among other strange things. Alyssa skateboards and listens to music while mooning over artist Jeb, a boy who draws her in his sketchbook and dreams of going to London – on the dime of his girlfriend Taelor’s father, sadly – to start his career. There is a strong focus on the fact he has a garnet-studded labret piercing.

This was my first warning that I might not like this book. I never was into the goth, emo, Hot Topic-type scene other than secretly listening to Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson on my iPod occasionally. SPLINTERED’s focus is not so much on a strong, well-plotted story as much as it is on concentrating on imagery that Tim Burton might be proud of if Tim Burton put in fake dreads and made Edward Skateboardhands instead of Scissorhands. SPLINTERED tries too hard to be cool, and loses itself in the process.

I never connected to any of the characters, including our heroine Alyssa. The rest of the cast became a massive blur punctuated by the occasional strange character that never was developed. By the time the book ended after a meandering course of wild goose chases and strange trips that made no sense, many of the characters became a singular mass of boring and blah. Likewise, the plot was muddled, confusing, and at times the imagery – remarkably well thought out, if a little too obnoxious in the descriptions – became lost in confusing schpiels about mooning and being angry with Jeb and Morpheus, the extremely jerky other love interest/man-moth hybrid thing. I’m still not sure about that.

SPLINTERED suffers heavily from an over emphasis on the romance and being different and loses itself in the process. We are drawn into a love triangle that I found to be rather unappealing, seeing as how I didn’t like Jeb or Morpheus. In fact, I quite hated Morpheus and didn’t see what Alyssa saw in him other than the moth that she was BFFs with when she was little, which wasn’t creepy at all. Oh, and the psychiatry in this book? It seemed like Tom Cruise at times was lecturing me. I must be glib.

VERDICT: Sometimes, a book and a reader just don’t mesh. This happened to me with SPLINTERED sadly. Too much romance and not enough plot make Megan a dull girl.

Profile Image for Sarah.
237 reviews1,114 followers
April 28, 2018
A.G. Howard’s Splintered is tied with Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland as the best modernized take on Lewis Carroll’s classic that I’ve read, better than Frank Beddor’s The Looking Glass Wars . That is a very low bar.

Our heroine, who narrates her tale in first-person present-tense, is Alyssa Gardner, the great-great-great-great…granddaughter of Alice Liddell, the inspiration for Carroll’s book. Her heritage is a well-known fact in her hometown, as is the fact that each woman in the family line since the original Alice has lost her mind. (In real life, nothing of the kind happened to Alice. This would hurt me if I were a descendant of hers; it bothers me enough as no relation). The kids in town have always taunted Alyssa about her ancestry, especially since her mom needed to be institutionalized.

Alyssa’s father is a sweetheart, but utterly clueless. She also has a friend named Jeb, who veers between disinterest in, and creepy flirtation with, Alyssa. Alyssa claims that she’s always had a crush on Jeb (which is obvious) but that he sees her as his little sister (which is never conveyed). Jeb has a sister, who works at the same emo thrift store as Alyssa.

Luckily for Alyssa, she likes her job, she likes to skateboard, and she likes to stab insects and flowers and glue them onto her paintings, so she has some solace in life. She does not kill the bugs or plants for their own sake, but because she hears them talking to her – the first sign of her hereditary illness.

A trip to see her mom at the insane asylum – which appears to be frozen in the 1950s – goes so badly that harsh medical treatment (of the kind not seen today) is suggested. Terrified, Alyssa wracks her brain for a way to save her mom, and resurrects some long-forgotten memories, particularly her early childhood adventures with a shape-shifter, sometimes a moth, sometimes a blue-haired boy.

Sensing this being can help her somehow, Alyssa calls on him, and he appears in her closet mirror.

POTO Mirror

This opens a (stupidly complicated) portal to the same rabbit hole the original Alice fell down all those years ago. Unfortunately, she’s been pining over Jeb all evening and her thoughts summon him to her. Together, they venture into Wonderland.

After facing a number of dangerous creatures – dark versions of the talking flowers from Through the Looking Glass and the Walrus from Tweedledum and Tweedledee’s poem in the same book – and making out despite Jeb having a girlfriend at home – they find their way to the blue-haired, moth-winged young man, Morpheus the Netherling, a sorcerer and a kingmaker. Morpheus is pleased to see Alyssa, but incensed at Jeb tagging along.

In his creepy palace, Morpheus explains to Alyssa that she is the rightful Queen of Wonderland (somehow) and he wants to crown her and save the kingdom. He might have done a better job explaining if he had stuck to explaining and not spent quite so much time hitting on her.

He holds a disturbing feast—where the duck entrée is still alive despite being cooked and wants to be eaten—which turns chaotic due to…something (it’s been a few months since I’ve read the book, and the book did not bat a thousand for coherency). Alyssa somehow discovers that Morpheus is in love with the White Queen, who ostensibly died years ago but has survived in a magical box – a Jabberlock. Apparently all his scheming on her behalf was really for the sake of his old darling instead. Feeling betrayed on a number of levels, the girl turns her back on Morpheus and flees with Jeb.

Alyssa and Jeb traverse Wonderland, meeting strange creatures, kissing, and having stupid arguments because he’s a jealous creep and convinced that something untoward happened between her and Morpheus (never mind him and Taylor back home).

Eventually (thank God!) they get separated, and Alyssa has to traverse the Wonderland of the Dead on her own, searching for the cure for her mom. Successful, she comes back to Morpheus and reaches a compromise with him. He wants to help her now – he claims he always has – and together they kill a monster. She finds out that Jeb is dead, but wishes to undo the whole adventure and saves him.

At home, she restores her mother’s sanity, makes peace with Morpheus, confronts Jeb’s cartoon of a girlfriend, and makes out with Jeb himself. The end, for now.

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As you can see, this book had very little plot. Two characters had a pulse (guess who they were) and the others, one in particular, were dead weight. The heroine’s relationships with her two suitors seemed based entirely on hormones; it seemed that every conversation with either Jeb or Morpheus deteriorated into a make-out session.

Yet the world-building was actually quite good. Many of Howard’s inventions – such as the Jabberlock – are perfectly Carrollian. She also has a good eye for visuals, and her taste in books and movies is similar to mine. There are plenty of references to The Phantom Of The Opera, Labyrinth, and the myth of Hades and Persephone. Morpheus and Alyssa are clearly meant to be such a pair, following the footsteps of Erik and Christine, and Jareth and Sarah. Sometimes they even almost measure up.

Jeb is supposed to be the Raoul to Morpheus’ Erik, and he is abysmal at it. His only useful quality is his brawn, which comes in handy when facing monsters, but Alyssa is almost always able to save the day herself through magic or charm. Meanwhile, Jeb is possessive, patronizing, and hypocritical – but portrayed as the “nice guy”, the safe Betty to Morpheus’ Veronica. Howard keeps telling us that Jeb and Alyssa have chemistry, but I don’t see it and never did.

In short, there is no reason for Jeb Holt to exist. Removing him would cut out half the silly make-out scenes, make Alyssa far more developed by forcing her to travel the strange world alone, and free up time for more world-building, an actual plot, and some character development for Morpheus so he doesn’t come across as nothing more than the pale little brother of Erik or Jareth. Labyrinth was just fine without a love triangle.

The book also comes across as oddly dated, given the Hot Topic imagery found throughout. I am convinced that Morpheus, with his jagged hair, guyliner, and penchant for top hats and cravats, is based on an emo band frontman – Andy Biersack (Black Veil Brides), Bill Kaulitz (Tokio Hotel), Brendon Urie (Panic! at the Disco) and Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance) are all possibilities – and Alyssa, with her long fair hair, heavy makeup, skateboarding, and sass, could not be more clearly patterned on Avril Lavigne. Alas for Howard, she published the book in 2013, and this particular party was pretty much over by 2010, but honestly it does not appear to have hurt her sales.



Content Advisory:

Violence: There’s the whole horrid scene with the cooked, live meats, where nothing is shown but much is implied. There’s also a fair amount of blood, although little actual death, and still-living severed heads are preserved in a magical box.

Language: I don’t remember any terrible words, but it’s been awhile.

Sex: Lots of kissing, described in great detail. There are points where things could escalate between Alyssa and either boy, but they never do.

Substance Abuse: People ingest alcohol at Morpheus’ feast, and given the subject of the book there’s a few inevitable drug jokes. Pretty mild.

In conclusion, Splintered is a beautifully printed book, and its prose isn’t bad. It has a lot of potential as a story, too. But Jeb is a simply terrible character, who holds the story back by contributing nothing and forcing a love triangle where it’s not needed. The sequels are worth reading, but they could have been so much better if he just. Didn't. Exist.
Profile Image for Heidi The Reader.
1,389 reviews1,470 followers
February 16, 2018
Alyssa is a descendant of Alice Liddell- the Alice who inspired Carroll to write his tale of white rabbits and fantastical creatures. But, Alyssa has a family secret: the women of her bloodline go insane when they come of age.

She tries to look on the positive side of this: "At least one good thing has come out of my inherited insanity. Without the delusions, I might never have found my artistic medium." pg 10, ebook.

Alyssa is in love with Jeb, a dark and brooding young man with a penchant for grunge clothing and a lip piercing (that she talks about all the time). But, he is dating the most popular girl in Alyssa's high school class, Taelor (of course).

Things get really exciting when Alyssa starts to hear voices coming from the bugs and plants.

After a brief introduction where the reader learns that Jeb is freakishly controlling and Alyssa's mother is in an insane asylum, she falls through a mirror and after some trials, finds her way into Wonderland.

I thought this could have been a potentially interesting re-telling of the classic Alice in Wonderland story, but Splintered's uniqueness is stifled under a bunch of teen angst and a love triangle.

Granted, I'm not the target audience for this book, but I'd been on a roll lately with awesome fairy tale re-tellings and I thought I'd give it a shot. Oh well.

I actually enjoyed A.G. Howard's interpretation of Wonderland itself. The characters were familiar but twisted slightly.

Here's a passage from the tea party- my favorite part: "Now we need to get back to our world. Like yesterday." "Yesterday, you say?" the hatmaker warbles in his bouncing timbre. "Yesterday is doable." Guffawing, the hare slaps a knee and adds, "Although two yesterdays would be impossible." The Door Mouse snickers, slipping back into his uniform. "No, no! You can retrogress as many yesterdays as you please. Simply walk backward the rest of your life." pg 187, ebook.

Howard nailed the classic characterizations, but Carroll's original creations were far superior to Alyssa, Jeb, and Morpheus, who were her main contributions to the story.

Disregard my opinions on this book if you simply must read any and all fairy tale re-tellings because, at the very least, it is that.

Just be aware what you're picking up- a young adult romance/coming of age- and if that's what you're in the mood for, you may really enjoy it.

I find that my expectations shape my opinion of a book almost as much as the text itself. For example, I think if I had been warned that Alice in Zombieland had really very little to do with the Wonderland story, I may not have disliked it as much as I did.

Splintered actually has a lot of the original Wonderland in it and, if I had to choose between Alice in Zombieland or Splintered, I'd pick this in a heartbeat.

Some highly recommended horror/fairy tale re-tellings (for adults): Alice or All Darling Children.

Thanks for reading!
Profile Image for Natalie Monroe.
596 reviews3,588 followers
July 19, 2016
Splintered reads exactly like The Iron King, except without the awesomeness of Puck and Grimalkin.

Both have incredible world-building. Even me, who has never officially watched Alice in Wonderland (Which come to think of it, is a serious flaw in my Disney education) can see the parallels Howard drew between the original and this wonderful reimagining. Old friends are here: the talking flowers, Cheshire cat, the Caterpillar (I'll get to Morpheus a bit later) and I absolutely loved the concept of Alyssa being a descendant of the original Alice.

The one thing that irked me were the love interests. Or more specially, a macho dominating asshole by the name of Jeb.

I hated him. I hated him. I hated him. He bosses Alyssa around all the time like he's her fucking dad. He orders Al to eat (Hey, look, Edward/Xavier are in Wonderland too!) He thinks the most important part of Al is her virginity.

"Al." His Adam's apple moves as he swallows. "I want you to put a stop to this Hitch thing. Whatever's going on, it's not worth..." He pauses. "Losing an important part of you."

Unbelievable. He thinks I'm such a prude, he won't even say the word. "You mean my virginity?"

Because that fucking slip of membrane is so important. Do you want to forbid Ally from riding bikes too, huh, Jeb? That sonofabitch triangular seat is getting hot and cosy with Al's virginity. Are you going to take a sledgehammer to that?

He is an absolute jackass and destroyed what should have been an awesome book. And you know what the worst part is—

Now onto Morpheus—the other half of the love triangle. (It's not really a spoiler, we all knew there was going to be one) Just as Jeb is cast in the role of the douchebag steadfast best friend, Morpheus is the dark, intriguing stranger who shrouded in secrecy.

The thing is, I've never been drawn to the dark, broody types. I prefer Pucks as opposed to Ashes. But thanks to the utter despicableness of Jeb, I have no choice but to root for him. And honestly, he sort of won me over in the end

Plus, he's sexy. 'Nuff said.

The other thing that irked me was Alyssa's bone with Taelor. It's like the author wants us to hate her, what with her cool-girl vibes and hippy name.

Sure, she's dating your best friend aka the guy you like, but that's no reason to be a bitch to her. Or And you never made a move, so you can't blame her if Taelor swooped in first.

Also, the thing with Jeb

But despite those pesky problems, Splintered was still a great read and a highly imaginative retelling of Alice in Wonderland. I highly recommend it.

And, Jeb?

Yeah, I just had to do that.

My review of Unhinged
My review of Ensnared
My review of Untamed
Profile Image for Lexy S.C.  .
43 reviews45 followers
December 10, 2016
I have no words to describe how terrible Splintered was. Alice in Wonderland is a childhood favourite of mine, so I had pretty high expectations of Splintered. Unfortunately, I didn't like much anything about it. The plot was overdone. Way overdone. Alice the great-great-grandmother, then Alicia, then Alison, then Alyssa!? That is a bit much, don't you think?
I was expecting a bit more from the plot. A little more substance and a little less...

I found the whole thing a bit stupid. And don't even get me started on Jeb. Jeez. What a loser. He helped ruin the book for me, among many other things.
I almost didn't finish this. It seems to drag on and on, and the version of the book that I read had a PURPLE FONT. Yes, PURPLE. I hate fonts that are not black and normal looking. HATE THEM. It annoyed me the whole way as I struggled through the words.
I am sorry to say can honestly say that this was one of the worst books I have read in 2016. Terrible. I've yet to find a fairy-tale retelling I love.
Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,607 reviews5,994 followers
March 14, 2015
Splintered is based upon real life Alice Liddell's story as created by Lewis Carroll. Little Alice pictured here.
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The females in her line all are inheriting madness. They here bugs and plants talking. Refuse to eat off of plates (teacups please). Until we come across Alyssa-she does not want to end up in the mental hospital and will venture down the rabbit's hole in order to stop it.

This author did an amazing job on bringing a fairy tale to life. Creepy and so very easy pictured in your mind, Wonderland comes to glorious life in the book.
Splintered vs the Disney version is more like this:
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OH and Morpheus...yes I do want you.
Profile Image for Vanessa J..
347 reviews605 followers
March 4, 2016
I'm gonna be honest with you: I liked Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. It may seem like a bunch of nonsense, but I liked it. And the same can be said about Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There - this one being even more nonsense, but the plot was more clever... if something that makes no sense can be clever.

Of course I was gonna go crazy when I saw this was a retelling of that classic (if you don't believe me, just look at the pre-review below, which I wrote like two years ago). Besides, this had all the potential for being a great story. Lovers of Alice and fantasy would find a treat in here. I'm both of those, yet this was completely underwhelming.

But let's get done with the good first, which can be reduced to one thing: The writing. Not over-the-roofs beautiful, but it's descriptive and makes the story flow easily. The author describes in detail how everything looks through the eyes of Alyssa, the subject to a curse that runs in the veins of all the females descendant of Alice Liddell, the inspiration for Carroll's book.

Everyone in her family has been tagged as crazy ever since the original Alice got out of the rabbit hole. Of course, they really aren't crazy - they're telling the truth, but this truth is what got them tagged as insane in the first place. Now Alyssa fears the same will happen to her, especially since she hears the voice of insects talking to her. But she's determined to break this curse to save her mother Alison, so she goes down the rabbit hole again, and won't come back until she has accomplished her mission.

For starters, this tagging everyone in her family as crazy annoyed the hell out of me. Sure, if someone came to me to tell me a grasshopper told her I should take care of myself, I would be weirded out, but I wouldn't take it seriously. The person may have been making things up, or indeed, their mind in fact thinks a grasshopper did that, but is that a reason to apply 19th century treatments to them? No.

You see, the portrayal of mental illness in this book makes me sick in so many levels. Take a look at some things:

Crazies like Alison - all they have are padded cells and blunted utensils. That's their normal.

And not to mention Alyssa fears they're gonna use straitjackets on her too:

Most of my makeup has been cried and rained off, leaving smudge tracks on my face. Now all I see is Alison. But if I look deeper, it’s me wearing a straitjacket and an eel turban, grimacing like the Cheshire Cat as I sip pot roast from a teacup.

I know for a fact padded cells and straitjackets are not used anymore as a treatment, so the mention of them as the treatment for someone that simply says bugs talk is extremely ignorant, and even if we ignored that, it's still exaggerated only to make everything more dramatic. As if someone who talks to insects was dangerous.

This is what annoyed me the most in this book. That alone would have settled my decision to rate this 1 star, but no, something else that made me even more angry had to be added. What's that, you ask? It's an abusive romance.

Some people find cute when a guy is possessive over her girlfriend because "he wants the best for her." I'm not one of those people. Jeb gave me nauseas every time he appeared. He's not hot. He's not sweet. He's an asshole. Proof #1 is this:

“Al.” His Adam’s apple moves as he swallows. “I want you to put a stop to this Hitch thing. Whatever’s going on, it’s not worth …” He pauses. “Losing an important part of you.”
Unbelievable. He thinks I’m such a prude, he won’t even say the word. “You mean my virginity?”
His neck flashes red. “You deserve better than some one-night thing. You’re the kind of girl who should have a commitment from a guy who actually cares. Okay?”

Because not only does he have a girlfriend already and has done what he thinks Alyssa will do and worse with other girls, but he also thinks he can have the final word when it comes to Alyssa's virginity. Look, it's not his problem if she wants to screw a hundred guys. Why can he do it and not her? It doesn't matter she was lying. What bothers me is his attitude.

Being so possessive about Alyssa doesn't go only as far as her virginity, though. Remember the little synopsis I added at the beginning? About Alyssa being determined to break the curse? Well, this guy doesn't give a damn about that. He doesn't care Alyssa wants to save her mother (ignoring all the offensive and stupid things about the bad portrayal of mental illness). He only wants Alyssa for himself and won't let her go and try. And all that because of why? Because a guy - Morpheus - knows Alyssa from dreams.

“No.” Jeb crosses my arms over my chest, then lifts me against one of the curtains on the wall so my feet dangle, pinning me like a butterfly to a corkboard. “We’re not going anywhere. That foaming freak thinks you stole those gloves. And now he knows your name. Very smooth, by the way.”

Honestly, I don't understand why she's so attracted to him. She even fears him:

Jeb’s supposed to meet me here. I’m dying to see him again but at the same time nervous about how he’ll react to my decision to help Morpheus without talking things over with him first.

Look, if you feel you need to ask the permission of a guy for saving your mother, you should also feel there's something fishy going on there. Worse even if you worry what he'll do when he finds out you did something without asking him for that permission first. That will only lead to an unhealthy relationship in which he controls her and will probably get to the point of hitting her (not saying he did, by the way). What she said there is enough for cutting every connection she had to him.

Also, you can't just take all the elements in a book, make slight changes to their names and call that a retelling. Because yes, this book only feels as if the author mixed the two Alice books written by Carroll with that movie and then she just switched some letters in the names of everything. For example, Rabid White is the White Rabbit, Queen Red is... well, it's obvious, and Humphrey is Humpty Dumpty.

Knowing all the possible options in which she could have made this a retelling, why did she have to go to the easiest and less imaginative one?

Then there's something else that bothered me. It's this line of the book:

Pausing, he traces a finger along the door’s frame. “The last place she remembered having it was at your store. But she figured you would’ve contacted her if you’d found it. You didn’t see it, right?”
I push down the guilt nudging me. “No. And I’m not her royal majesty’s purse keeper, FYI.”

I had said I liked the writing, and it's true, I liked the descriptions, but I don't think it's professional to type "FYI" instead of "for your information" in a book. It's even weirder because that was part of a dialogue. It's one thing to type that in text messages, but in dialogues? It just made me go like this:

I don't think there's anything in this book that saves it from a 1-star rating, to be honest. And nothing can convince me to read the sequel, either, because 1) this could have perfectly been a standalone, and 2) I'm not interested anymore. I don't want to know anything about Jeb or the love triangle between Jeb, Alyssa and Morpheus, or this "curse." A.G. Howard has lost me. I'm leaving this rabbit hole for good.



*Looks for Splintered by A.G. Howard*

*Sees this:*

This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

*Immediatly adds to "to-read" shelf*

It's a retelling of Alice In Wonderland, guys! Of course I'm going to read it. Besides, look at that cover. It could convinve anyone to read it it sounds interesting and many people say it's good. So, yeah, I will read it...soon...when I find time...
Profile Image for Cassie.
494 reviews9 followers
August 28, 2013
Ugh. Unlikable characters, plotting issues up the wazoo, derivative world-building (Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland and Lewis Carroll's original book are NOT interchangeable, and it's really freaking obvious where the author rips off Burton wholesale)... No thanks. The audio had a much better narrator than the book merited.

Can the uber-possessive boyfriend thing stop now, please? Jeb, the main love interest (let's not kid ourselves that the love triangle was really a viable triangle in the first place, you knew she was always going to pick this douche), infantilizes and berates Alyssa at every turn. He appoints himself her knight and protector because she's too weak and fragile to make any of her own decisions and needs to be saved from herself. When we meet him, Alyssa is mad because he and her dad have mutually decided that she's too innocent and unworldly to attend an exchange program in London, even though Jeb is supposed to attend school in the city, too. Even though he and Alyssa are supposed to be besties, he's dating the mean girl whose teasing and rumor-mongering have made her a social outcast. WTF? And when Alyssa finally has the cojones to call him out on this, he explains that he only dated her mortal enemy to get Alyssa out of his system. Since Alyssa's a virgin (and this is a detail that's repeatedly expounded upon by Jeb), he decides he's too much of a bad boy for her and doesn't want to spoil her innocence. Um, let Alyssa make that choice herself, asshat.

Morpheus wasn't much better, but at least he gave her the tools to empower herself even if he tried to harness that power to benefit himself. Also, it felt like he learned something through the whole experience. Even if he was a manipulative, lying, selfish jerk, he managed to make a sacrifice at the end. Jeb will never NOT be a jackwagon and ultimately is given no reason at all to change, but Morpheus actually exhibits a little bit of character growth. But once again, it's the losing party of the YA-mandated love triangle that actually treats the heroine as an equal.

If, in the end, your heroine ends up being treated like a helpless damsel in distress by her ONE TWU WUV (like Alyssa is and characters like Bella and Luce and Nora before her), then can we finally do away with the pretense that she's empowered and strong? Because I'm sick of these kinds of off-kilter, unequal relationships being normalized. If Alyssa were empowered at all, she'd realize how much better off she is without EITHER of these pathetic excuses for love interests and demand a man that can complement her without coddling or condescending.
Profile Image for Grace (LovingDemBooks) Z..
189 reviews1,414 followers
August 4, 2016
Buy this book on: | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Audible | BookDepository (FREE WORLDWIDESHIPPING) |

3 out of 5 stars (Please read my rating system below). I'm so glad that I finally got a chance to read this book! I met the author about 2 years ago so it was about time that I got a chance to read her work. Let me just say, A.G. Howard is one of the coolest authors you'll ever meet! I highly recommend going to one of her signings if you ever get the chance to. My favorite part of this book would hands down be the character Morpheus. I love a character that has mixed intentions, lies a little (hehe, sorry not sorry), and is suppppppppper snarky. MORPHEUS HANDS DOWN MADE THIS BOOK FOR ME. I really didn't care Jeb, the love triangle, or dialogue. Alyssa unfortunately did not stand out to me as a super unique protagonist, but Morpheus guys, MORPHEUS. One moment he's the villain, the next he's a friend, the next he's a lover. LIKE THE GUY IS SO CONFUSING, MESMERIZING, CONFLICTING, AND I NEED MORE ADJECTIVES. I'm reading the rest of the series for Morpheus.

My rating system: (I do use half stars.)
5 - I do not use the 5 star. Not because a book might not be worthy, but because a book is never perfect.
4 - I loved it! There weren't too many flaws, and I had no trouble getting through it. (A 4 star rating is the highest rating I've ever given a book.)
3 - I enjoyed the book, but there we're flaws that made me enjoy it less.
2 - I finished the book, but there were too many flaws for me to enjoy it.
1 - I could not finish the book, and I probably did not finish it....
Profile Image for ˗ˏˋ lia ˎˊ˗.
306 reviews386 followers
March 14, 2021
“tearing down the rest of the world won’t make you happy. look inside yourself. because finding who you were meant to be? what you were put into this world to do? that’s what fills the emptiness. it’s the only things that can.”

my goodreads friends all either seem to completely love or totally despise this book, so a whole bunch of people even dnf’d it. i guess i stand somewhere in between. while i loved the premise and the general atmosphere that was very whimsical and insane (but in a good way), i found the execution and development to be very lacking.

i never connected to alyssa, which should usually be a given. her aspirations and actions were entertaining, but that’s about it. compared to jeb, however, i still liked her enough to care, while jeb was just… there? he literally could’ve just died and i neither would be bothered nor would i probably notice his lack of presence. their relationship was also immensely questionable at times.

since i nevertheless enjoyed the world and writing style enough, i might still eventually pick up the sequel and give it a chance.

→ 3 stars
Profile Image for Cassi aka Snow White Haggard.
459 reviews159 followers
April 27, 2014

Splintered is one of those books that has a great concept --the family of Alice Lidell (from Alice in Wonderland) is cursed with a special kinda crazy as a punishment for Alice's mistakes in Wonderland. Alyssa is only the latest in a line of women who hear the conversations of flowers and insects. Alyssa tries to hide the voices, killing the bugs and creating artwork while her mother wastes away in an insane asylum. Then she stumbles on a website about the rabbit hole and someone from Wonderland offers her a way to cure her families curse.

Sounds interesting right? I know! Except the book completely lost it's own plot and instead turned into a poorly done paranormal romance without any real focus.

Instead of focusing on Wonderland, which you know is kind of interesting, Alyssa is absorbed by Jeb--the best friend she's secretly in love with. All of their interactions and conversations just feel artificial. He constantly calls her "skater girl" as a pet name. Just a hint, taking your pet names from an Avril Lavine song is not cute.

Everything feels forced. Jeb has a girlfriend who is less a character and more of an obstacle to the central relationship. She's a prop not a person. The moment Alyssa and Jeb pass into wonderland she's only brought up to create conflict (and this happens continually). There is drama, otherworldly creatures, pursuing armies, but the characters continually stop to argue about their relationship status.

The arguments don't even make sense. Near the beginning before she goes into wonderland she tells Jeb finds out she's trying to get a fake passport from a guy who works at the skating rink (seriously those things have microchips now folks, it's not that easy) and he confronts her. She tells him to stay out of it. This is his eloquent and intelligent response.

"Out of what?" The pain in his voice rips me apart. "Stay out of your plan to hook up with some random loser, or stay out of your life."

You may be wondering where he got the idea that Alyssa was going to hook up with a random loser. So am I. In the context of the story his accusions came out of nowhere. Alyssa is a virgin and there's no evidence pointing towards that that changing anytime soon. It's just an unnatural way to create another obstacle. Once they're in Wonderland he also accuses that a "perv lured you here via a magical website" showing his winning intellect once again.

It was over-descriptive to the point of being purple prose, elaborating describing clothing hair and make-up, describing taste and scent in a way that didn't really make sense. The description was bothersome and at times downright confusing.

"The minute I'm free, I catch his thumb and nuzzle it. He tastes like grass and icing and all the flavors of Jeb, magnified."

First off the nuzzling is weird. Second she's tasting him. Third, grass and icing? Really? Later he tastes like chocolate and salt. At least the salt makes sense, but chocolate? I know they say to use the five senses when writing description but it needs to make sense.

Overall this book just did not work. I can't include every groan-worthy quote. The flaws, clumsy writing and shoddy storytelling overwhelm a good idea. Without the romance and some self control with descriptors this could actually be a good book. Unfortunately it's not.
Profile Image for Caz (littlebookowl).
302 reviews40.2k followers
Want to read
September 29, 2012

Haha, see what I did there? ;)

And isn't that cover just AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL!?
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