Series: Splintered #1
Published by Abrams, Thames and Hudson on 1 November, 2012
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.