Early Review: Splintered by A.G. Howard

Posted December 19, 2012 in Review / 11 Comments

By A.G. Howard
Expected Publication January 1st, 2013
Amulet Books
384 Pages
Young Adult | Urban Fantasy | Retelling
Source: Received ARC on the ARC Tour from Tami, the Krazy Book Lady and from Amulet books (via NetGalley) in return for an unbiased review
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Splintered by AG Howard on GoodreadsSplintered by AG Howard on amazon


From Goodreads: This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. 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.

I’m having a helluva a time writing this review.  I’ve started it three times now.  It’s the bane of my existence at this point.  I think I’ll blame my lack of getting any other reviews done just on my inability to put into words my feelings on this one book.  *sigh*

I love this book.

This was my most anticipated, most wanted book of this year (err, okay, next year).  As soon as I read the synopsis, I lusted for it.  I turned green with envy every time I saw someone with an actual physical ARC.  Yes, I was that blogger.  I begged Tami at the Krazy Book Lady, “Pleeeeaaase, don’t let it be too late for me to get on the ARC tour!!!”.  It wasn’t, I got on (phew).  But, being the gambler I am, I had hedged my bets and ended up with a NetGalley copy, too.

You just know with that kind of hype you’re setting yourself up to come crashing down to reality.  The book will inevitably suck dishwater.  HELL NO!!!  Not in this case!  I was entirely blown away by A.G. Howard’s imagination and the story/mystery/world she concocted for our heroine to navigate through.  I love the fae/netherlings – the more whacked out the better.  And Ms. Howard’s Wonderland certainly did not disappoint!

Story / Tempo

True to the classic Lewis Carroll story, nothing is as it seems from the very beginning of the story.  We first meet Alyssa as she’s doing her artwork… bug artwork.  She captures bugs, moths, any insect, in a trap that suffocates the insect.  She then makes collages out of these bugs.  Amazingly, it never really sounded gross to me – it just kind of sounded warped, over the top crazy.  But I guess if you could hear bugs and flowers talking, you might want to shut them up every now and then.

And the crazy imagery doesn’t stop there.  Even before we hit Wonderland, Ms. Howard has dreamt up some amazing clues for Alyssa so she can find her way to Wonderland to right the wrongs that Alice did so many years ago.  There is a ton of foreshadowing, hints, details that come out in the beginning that will be referenced later so you might want to be using that “highlight” feature on your e-reader to keep track of interesting quotes.

Setting / World Building

In Alyssa’s “real” world, there’s a skatepark she goes to that’s built into a cave or dome-like structure and it’s mostly dark and lit up with black lights.  The only way you see your board is if you have glow tape on it.  What the???  Is there such a place?  I never would have imagined such a place.  But Ms. Howard did!  If it’s not already built, someone needs to go build one!

You can only imagine it gets frightening weirder once Alyssa leaves the real world and enters Wonderland.  The creatures that inhabit this world are absolutely amazing!  It’s when I re-read passages that I pick up more details about the creatures and their personalities.  I think I flew through the first reading just a bit too fast.


The one inhabitant of Wonderland that makes the entire book worth reading is Morpheus.  He is such a complex character.  From his appearance to his personality, everything about him is dual.  UGH, I want to go on and on about him but I can’t.  I actually have mixed feelings about him.  Sometimes while I was reading, I absolutely hated him.  Other times, I truly loved him.  Some moments I felt sorry for him (but not too often – the man is not dumb!).

I really wish I could do more justice to this book with my review.  I fear I’m going to have to rely on the bevy of other rave reviews out there.  I KNOW a lot of people will be reading this.  If this isn’t on your radar yet, PUT IT THERE!


AG HowardAuthor Bio: A.G. Howard was inspired to write SPLINTERED while working at a school library. She always wondered what would’ve happened had the subtle creepiness of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland taken center stage, and she hopes her darker and funkier tribute to Carroll will inspire readers to seek out the stories that won her heart as a child.

When she’s not writing, A.G.’s pastimes are reading, rollerblading, gardening, and family vacations which often include impromptu side trips to 18th century graveyards or condemned schoolhouses to appease her overactive muse.

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook


Other Reviews:

Tami at Krazy Book Lady

Crystal at WinterHaven Books

Jaime at Two Chicks on Books

Giselle at Xpresso Reads


About Kristin

Kristin has to ensure she gets her minimal requirement of "happily ever after" books in between those books that contain cliffhangers and never-ending story arcs. It's for her family's sake. When not reading, she's homeshooling her 10-year old son, watching cartoons on TV, or taking a nap.

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11 responses to “Early Review: Splintered by A.G. Howard

    • K

      I KNOW! When I saw the twisted world of A.G.’s website, I was like, “ah, man, this chick rocks!!!”. I love her Pinterest boards, too!

  1. I had a heck of a time loading your blog it was so slow to load and I had to do it three times… what is up? Okay I just snagged a copy of this and was suprised to get it. I thought no way in hell… I first passed this up because I am supposed to be on a severe book intake ban but that is not working. I also thought since everyone was grabbing it that it might be another pretty cover and I have been reading some amazing reviews. I will be getting to it soon. Hopefully I will love it as well.
    Heidi recently posted…Crimson Frost (Mythos Academy #4) by Jennifer Estep: Interview, Review and Giveaway

    • K

      HUGE thank you on the heads up on the blog!!! I’m going to back up, clean out the gunk and see if that works. Otherwise, I blame GoDaddy (grrrrr). 😀

      Well, I’ve seen reviews go both ways. I just love twisted books and this one IS! A LOT of people keep comparing it Tim Burton’s movie but I never saw it so keep that in mind, too.

    • K

      I’m shocked you didn’t have this one! You read all the good stuff 😀 Watch out soon b/c Fiktshun and Bookish Brunette have reviews coming soon and they both liked it.

  2. I know just what you mean about a review being the bane of your existence! That almost always happens to me with books I absolutely love – I just sit and stare at a blank screen with so many things I want to say I can’t physically get them all down fast enough. Then it just turns into a big jumble and I have to start over. I will say the fact that this happened to you with this book is quite the endorsement, it means I cannot miss out on reading it! I think you definitely did the book justice:)
    Jenny recently posted…Review: Paper Valentine