Splintered by A.G. Howard Review: Love Triangle Hell

July 22, 2015 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 2 stars, Books, Reviews

Splintered by A.G. Howard Review: Love Triangle HellSplintered by A.G. Howard
Series: Splintered #1
Published by Abrams, Thames and Hudson on 1 November, 2012
Source: Publisher
Genres: Young Adult, Fairy Tales & Folklore
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Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers, precisely the problem that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. Surely, she tells herself, it has nothing to do with the fact that she is directly descended from Alice Liddell, the real life inspiration for Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland. But when her mother takes a turn for the worse and the whispers grow too strong to bear, Alyssa learns that she’s not mad but she must find the origins of a secret family curse. A series of clues leads her through a cracked mirror into the real Wonderland, a place for darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There she must 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 all of his own.

Here I go, black sheeping again…Splintered was a really interesting dark twist on Alice in Wonderland, but unfortunately the horrible love triangle and bland main character detracted from the rest for me.

It starts out quite promising, with Alyssa’s mother stuck in a mental hospital. She hallucinates, talks to bugs and is convinced that she’s living in Wonderland. Alice is actually Alyssa’s distant grandmother, and the insanity runs in her family’s history. This made me super excited, with the mystery about Allison’s condition, the mental health hospital and the creepiness, but unfortunately it takes a turn for the worst.

All I know is I’ve always been different in my world. In a place like this, I’m actually ordinary. 

Alyssa and her childhood crush/best friend Jeb venture into Wonderland which is dark, creepy and twisted. Characters aren’t who they seem to be, as told in Alice in Wonderland. I honestly got lost with most of the novel’s recollection of Wonderland, it was highly imaginative but quite different from the original book’s events which I found really hard to follow. It reads like a classic fae read, with lots of whimsy and outlandish characters and events.

Thus revealing the crux of the story – the fated love triangle. Alyssa, for most of the story, is obsessed with her best friend Jeb. Jeb is touchy, feely, possessive and loves telling Alyssa what to do and won’t let her venture out into her own without him. He’s meant to be portrayed as the knight in shining armour, but coupled with Alyssa’s lack of confidence to make her own decisions, he comes across as a jerk. The thing about Jeb, is that he also has a girlfriend. He mucks around with Alyssa behind her back and admits that he was only using her as a distraction to get his mind off Alyssa. What a romantic! /sarcasm

Six years of secret desire. Six years of denying that he’s the orbit of my world. 

Morpheus is the third party to the love triangle, who was Alyssa’s childhood playmate. I liked Morpheus a little more, as a conniving, manipulative, totally whimsical and pretty much a classic fae that couldn’t be trusted. He has his own agenda, and is brutally honest about his abrasive personality. Morpheus is smouldering, flirty and seductive, and he does this to get his own way. And to be honest totally creepy. But at least he’s upfront about it.

Throughout the novel, Morpheus and Jeb argue over Alyssa constantly. You’ll have Morpheus telling Alyssa not to get too close, and Jeb warning her about Morpheus. This arrangement could only work if Alyssa was a bland, Bella like character who can’t make up her own mind, which is pretty much what it seemed like. She ended up redeeming her character in the end, but it look a long while to get there.


With a whimsical, enchanting and dark twist to Alice in Wonderland, Splintered could have been awesome. Unfortunately, most of the plot was focused around that dastardly love triangle. I also didn’t like any of the characters and had trouble following the plot. Lots of people loved it though, so if you love Alice in Wonderland, go for it.

*exits Stage left, narrowly avoiding hedgehogs, bandersnatches and flamingos being thrown at me*

Rating: 2 out of 5


Thank you to Thames and Hudson for sending me a review copy. 

Discussion Review with Benish @ Feminist Reflections

I wasn’t the only one who didn’t like Splintered! I buddy read it with Benish, and we both felt the same way about the book. Check out our discussion review here.

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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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53 responses to “Splintered by A.G. Howard Review: Love Triangle Hell

  1. Krysta

    Wow, I'm glad I read this review. I've been meaning to pick up this book for awhile, but I'm over reading about love triangles and this one doesn't sound healthy at all. Worse, I almost gave this to someone for a gift and she would not have appreciated the romance portrayed like this. Thanks for saving me from sending my friend a book she wouldn't like! This is why I prefer to read books before I gift them.

  2. Romi

    I didn't actually finish Splintered, but it seems like I'm also one who tends to dislike the really popular books in the blogosphere, so you're certainly not alone (although I bet the comments attest to this); this one didn't do it for me, but I'm not a massive fan of Alice or anything as it is, and creepy retellings often aren't something I particularly enjoy, so probably it wasn't surprising that this didn't work out for me.
    From what I skimmed, the romance seemed like something I would have become frustrated with, too- both guys seemed to have plenty for me to hold against their characters, and Jeb seemed really frustrating.
    My recent post From me to you and back again -4-

  3. Charnell

    You are not alone!!! I even went back to read my review, and was very generous and gave it 3/5. But that was more out of genuine fear of the wrath of the blogosphere 😉 I even put that in my review, I was scared of the backlash haha!

    I didn't like Morpheus at all, I still don't understand why people love his character so much. Alyssa annoyed me. Jeb annoyed me. The love triangle aspect REALLY annoyed me.

    I won't ever read the other books. But I heard how she ended the trilogy and ended the love triangle and it was the worlds biggest cop out. Very glad I didn't continue on, I would have just been even more disappointed.

    • Oh man, I totally know those feels Charnell! I was scared to post this one but glad I had Benish by my side lol. I really did not like Morpheus. He was really creepy. But I hated Jeb more. I mean, I guess Morpheus has that mysterious thing going? Yeah, I think I\’ll put up the rest of the Splintered series on Books for Trade.

  4. readerswonderland

    Yeah, the love triangle rides that ragged line of you either love it or hate it, and in this book it kind of bothered me but I liked it in the second and third book. Jeb still isn't my favorite character though, I always preferred Morpheus, creepy or not haha. I loved the unique and darker Wonderland although I don't remember the exact way the original went so maybe that's why I liked this more?
    My recent post Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

    • Hahah yeah, I did prefer Morpheus even though he was like, super creepy. I did like the darker Wonderland though, even though I had trouble following.

  5. Braine-Talk Supe

    Oh lord so so sorry this tanked for you! I managed to tolerate the love triangle mostly because it felt one-sided in that she knows who she wanted and didn't encourage Morpheus… it got bad on book 2 though. If you thought this was bad, book 2 played the love triangle trope to death!
    My recent post Disliked It: Love Lies Beneath by Ellen Hopkins

  6. Bwhahha I am picturing you with plastic lawn flamingoes being thrown at you, and it is funny (I mean, as long as they miss! 😉 ) To be honest, this sounds a mess. I have been on the fence about reading it for SO long, never thinking that it was my "thing". But now, even though I am much more likely to read a retelling, I STILL don't think I want to read it. I mean, I dont even dislike love triangles, as long as they are useful and make sense. This seems like neither. And why is everyone named some variation of "Alice"? That sounds either corny or lazy and I don't like either option. So far, I am sticking with passing on this one! Sorry you didn't like it, but I can totally see why 🙁
    My recent post Organizationally Challenged? Join Me!

    • Hahaha that's a funny scene Shannon XD knowing me they wouldn't miss haha! Such a shame, I mean I had heard mostly raves, on GR it is mainly 4 and 5 stars, and then I just couldn't even stand the characters. I think Alice was their great ancestor, then Allison and Alyssa are her descendants. Thanks Shannon!

  7. I rated this higher, I think 4 stars? But I have to agree that I absolutely hated Jeb. And the ending was the worst because it's just back to square one, you know what I mean? I don't expect much development from him.

    Off to read your discussion review now!
    My recent post Top Ten Tuesday #64

    • Yeah, I think I read your review Val. I wasn't sure what to think of the ending…I mean there was some growth there and she did meet Morpheus, but yeah Jeb was horrible.

  8. thesepaperhearts

    Morpheus was my favorite character in this series. He is definitely the most interesting of the 3 main characters. I liked Alyssa less and less as the series went on. The last book is literally just her going back and forth between the two guys. drove me crazy -__- Splintered shows scenes of Wonderland that make you think for a second this could be an interesting series, but then the love triangle rears its ugly head again and again and again :/
    The ending to this series just pissed me off. I feel you are not missing out lol.
    My recent post Review: The Heart of Betrayal

    • I know, he's definitely intriguing but I don't know if that's enough for me to keep reading..especially hearing from you about how it all goes, that just sounds horrible *shudders*

  9. Charlene @ Bookish Whimsy

    Hmm, I wasn't too keen to read this, and definitely if the love triangle aspect is that annoying, I'm not that interested. It's too bad this was a disappointment, since it has such an interesting premise and I love the cover!
    My recent post Review: Uprooted

  10. I felt the same way about this book, Jeann. The love triangle was simply aggravating! And oh Morpheus is such a manipulative jerk! Ugh.

  11. Lisa @ Lost in Lit

    I know how tough it is to have to write a review for a book that you didn't love, but that is so popular. I felt the same way trying to read a few that just didn't work for me. *cough* Daughter of Smoke and Bone *cough* Though I did really enjoy this story, I wasn't a fan of the love triangle either. Though they normally don't bother me much, sometimes they are just pretty aggravating. Hope your next read is better, Jeann! 🙂
    My recent post Let’s Chat: Exposed by Brighton Walsh

  12. danielleisbusyreading

    You know I'm no fan of love triangles, but this one sounds particularly awful. The fact that the two guys are arguing about her right in front of her… she needs to grow a spine! How annoying.
    I hope your next read goes better for you. Thanks for your honest review, babe! <3

  13. Oh my, this looks like especially irriitating love triangle. There is nothing worse as indecisive heroine. And since I have never been fan of Alice in Wonderland, I will be definitely staying far away from this book. Great review, Jeann!
    My recent post BLURB LOVE #4

    • Yeah, normally I don't mind it, but it's also the way the love interests behaved fighting over Alyssa, and the main character herself.

  14. Kara Terzis

    Lovely, honest review Jeann! Yeah. I can see why people might not like this one! It's been a few years now since I read Splintered–but from memory, I did enjoy it. At the time though I remember seeing heaaaaaaps of five star reviews, whereas I rated it three. Even so, I would actually recommend reading the second one. I liked it better. I mean, you might not–but hey, it might be worth a shot. 🙂
    My recent post What Should I Read Next? (1)

    • Thanks Kara! Even looking back at Goodreads, there are mostly 4 and 5 stars, so I'm definitely in the minority.

  15. I honestly didn't really feel either of the love interests in this one. Your thoughts about Jeb and Morpheus pretty much reflect what I think! Bleh to either of them, haha! The whole reason I liked the book was because of its twist on Alice in Wonderland, and because I have SUCH a soft spot for retellings. 😛
    My recent post Talk to Me 75: ARC Attention-grab!

    • Oh man, I just really didn't like how abusive/posessive they were :/ I did like the Alice in Wonderland twist though, but yeah, I got kind of lost.