Splintered by A.G. Howard is the first book in the Splintered trilogy, which is a YA Alice in Wonderland retelling and continuation. The story is steeped in fantasy that is morbidly vivid, which fits the Alice and Wonderland theme perfectly and is great for fans of the darker side of fairy tales. There is also a pretty hefty dose of typical YA romantic elements.
If I could give this book two ratings instead of one, I totally would:
5/5 Stars for the fantasy adventure elements
The world of Splintered drew me in immediately. I was fascinated by Alyssa and her reality. By way of explanation, here’s the opening paragraph:
I’ve been collecting bugs since I was ten; it’s the only way I can stop their whispers. Sticking a pin through the gut of an insect shuts it up pretty quick.
Howard had me at “gut of an insect.” Reading on like a bystander watching an impending crash, I was hooked.
Netherling logic resides in the hazy border between sense and nonsense.
This adventure thrives on that border. There are fedoras crafted from dead moths, giant octobenus-eating clams, frothing carnivorous flowers, wish-granting venomous ferret creatures, and so much more. Not having read Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland in many years, I can’t remember exactly how many of these scenarios and characters came from the original story but regardless, Howard’s contributions and descriptions are phenomenal.
2/5 Stars for the romantic elements
I had several issues with the romance in this story. Overall, though, I felt like it was trying to be too many things at once – the new paranormal “it” romance, best friends turned lovers, good girl meets bad boy, true love conquers all, etc. The end result was a mishmash of tropes that kept pulling me out of the story.
All in all, I’d be up for continuing the trilogy with Unhinged, but I’m not racing out to start it immediately. I’m going to save it for a time when I’m itching for more of Howard’s morbidly fascinating setting.