Book Review: Splintered



Title: Splintered

Author: A G Howard

Genre: YA dark fantasy (retelling)

Length: 371 pages

Published by: Thames and Hudson

Source: received for review from Thames and Hudson (thank you!!!)


 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.

I mean, even from the synopsis you know this is going to be awesome. I was SO excited to read this, and I think for that reason I was perhaps a tiny bit disappointed. I loved it, but I also wanted to love it more. If that makes sense.

My favourite parts of Splintered were the ones that were faithful to the original story but twisted in some way.

Like falling through the rabbit hole. This is a personal preference, but I would have liked to see more of the original elements – it seemed like there wasn’t enough of that. I loved the author’s twists on these, when they appeared.

Other things I loved:

1) The ocean of tears

2) The tea party

3) Morpheus

4) The madness of Wonderland

5) The sheer imagination of the world, which was incredible

Actually I’ll expand on that point a bit, because I feel like it’s worth mentioning how imaginative and innovative A G Howard’s Wonderland is. It’s darker, and twisted, and fantastic. The descriptions of characters we know and love changed them forever, and it was easy to see how the original story could fit into this “darker, funkier” tribute. There’s definitely that undertone of weirdness in Alice in Wonderland – I think Lewis Carroll’s writing in general lends itself to creepiness. It wasn’t all flowers and butterflies, that’s for sure..

(note: I actually love the cartoon Alice in Wonderland. I’m not bashing it)

I think if you’re writing a retelling, it has to be different to the original in a way that doesn’t diminish how amazing the original is. Because Alice in Wonderland is pretty spectacular. I want to write my own version, actually, but that probably won’t happen for a while. If it does happen, I’m totally having a Blood Orange Queen instead of a Red Queen.

Oh and also, let’s talk about the cover! Yes, this cover is amazing! I just love LOOKING at it.


Alyssa. Alyssa is a great protagonist. She’s quirky and artistic and Wonderland brings out the weirder side of her, which I love. She’s definitely VERY different from this Alice:

Jeb: Jeb was kind of boring. He didn’t have much of a personality.

Morpheus: Hells yes to the moth dude! He was manipulative and technically a villain, but I loved him. He kind of reminded me of David Bowie from Labyrinth.


I didn’t really see the point of the love triangle, though. It didn’t add anything for me (but I wouldn’t take my word for it, since other people say it’s one of the best love triangles they’ve ever read. I’m just a really cynical person).

I also didn’t really like the middle of the book. The pace dropped off a bit and it got kind of slow.

But overall, I loved it. I’m sure this will be one of those books that I love even more with a re-read, but this time I’m giving it four stars.



11 thoughts on “Book Review: Splintered

  1. This book totally messed with my brain. I had SO many issues and complaints about it…yet I gave it 5-stars and put it on my best-of-the-year Goodreads shelf. XD Morpheus. Basically. *ahem* I loved how dark and creepier it was…like Tim Burton’s version of Alice in Wonderland. I didn’t really see a point in Jeb, too. Bleh. I mean, he was okay and everything but I found him way too possessive and controlling. oh, wait….Morpheus was manipulative and evil too… But definitely more awesome. So that makes it okay. Or something.

    • It’s weird when that happens! I was the same for The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I guess even though you can objectively find things wrong with a book you still love it. I loved how creepy it was – Tim Burton was mentioned in the acknowledgements so I’m guessing she got a lot of inspiration from that.

      LOL. I don’t know why Morpheus was different, but he just was. Hopefully I’ll see more of him in Unhinged 🙂

  2. I’m all for retellings so this one has been on my radar since it came out but i just haven’t gotten around to reading it. I loved how you mentioned key elements being featured in the book, makes me want to read it even more to see how they manage to play out. Great review 🙂
    Lily @ Lilysbookblog

    • Retellings are great, right? I love the originals so much that I have to see different interpretations! Someone else mentioned they liked me mentioning key features, so it might become something I regularly do in reviews 🙂 thanks, Lily!

  3. I’ve been really obsessed with Alice in Wonderland ever since you posted that picture of Alice and Dorothy haha. Since then I read Lewis’ Alice in Wonderland and GAH. I utterly adore it. This retelling seems like an great one, it seems like that dangerously intoxicating vibe Wonderland has is still very much evident in Splintered.

    Great review! (:

    • Recently, I have been too. Something in the air. We’re doing an Alice in Wonderland play at school, and my short story for extension English is an Alice retelling, and just…dude. It’s such a great world and story.

      Thanks, Larissa 🙂

  4. Pingback: What Happened This Week: Stacking the Shelves (4) and School Stuff | The Loony Teen Writer

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