Monday, May 20, 2013

Book Review: Splintered by A.G. Howard

I've always found retellings of classic tales extremely clever. It's like the author takes an old boot, a little snip here and some embellishment there, and transforms it into a glass slipper (allegory intended). I stumbled across A.G. Howard's debut novel "Splintered" many times on my perusals on Amazon and Goodreads, but haven't gotten around to reading it until a few days ago. There's no doubt that it's a unique twist on "Alice in Wonderland", complete with grotesque creatures and a darkly tantalizing world. Unfortunately, I did have a little trouble falling down the rabbit hole with Alyssa, despite the many enchantments along the way.

Alyssa Gardner has always been that girl to everyone else, the girl whose ancestor was none other than the Alice Liddell from Lewis Carroll's whimsical tale of Wonderland. The freak. But what everyone doesn't know is that Alyssa hears the whispers of insects and flowers--precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. Alyssa might really 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'd dismissed as fiction is based on a terrifying reality, one that she has to face soon. The real Wonderland is far darker and more twisted than  Lewis Carroll made it out to be, and Alyssa has to pass a series of tests to fix Alice's mistakes and save her family. Or she may be stuck there, trapped, forever.

One of the most obvious aspects of "Splintered" that I have to talk about is the world. At first, I was a little skeptical of a darker twist on the "Alice in Wonderland" story. I'm not exactly a punky/dark side kinda gal, but I will willingly admit that there is some incredible world building going on in the novel. I liked how Ms. Howard took the characters of the classic tale and warped them into strange and grotesque creatures, like how the fluffy White Rabbit became Rabid White, a skeletal being with antlers protruding from its skull. There's definitely a huge amount of imagination in this book, from the eerie speech patterns of the sprites who work at the cemetery to the tantalizingly dark and twisted Wonderland itself. The world that Ms. Howard brings to life is so full of magic and secrets, one that's sordid but at the same time beautiful in its own way.

Another thing I appreciated about "Splintered" was the lyrical writing style of Ms. Howard. The language used to describe the beautifully constructed Wonderland was magical in its own right. It was expressive and evocative, without being too purple. I felt like the descriptions didn't overshadow what was going on in the story too much, though I do think that things would've been a little more fast-paced had Ms. Howard cut down just a little on the words at times. I was pretty bored throughout the first 3/4 of the book, and things only picked up when the puzzle pieces started falling into place.

Having said all of this, I have to say that I didn't find "Splintered" as fun and compelling as it could've been, and I think the reason behind this lies in the characters of the novel. I'll start off with the main dame of the story: Alyssa. Alyssa is definitely not your typical YA heroine. She deals with potential mental issues, skateboards in a cool, neon skate park called Underworld, and wears tutu skirts with neon tights. I don't know whether it's because I'm anything but punk/alternative/I don't really know the proper word for it, but I couldn't really relate to Alyssa. Or maybe it was Jeb. Sure, he's protective and all, but in a way he was almost controlling. And he has a complete queen bee witch as a girlfriend back home, but he reveals that he doesn't really even like her and instead loves Alyssa? Not cool, dude. Even Morpheus, the twisted, complex, seems-to-be-evil guy is better than him.

Overall, "Splintered" by A.G. Howard has some amazing potential, with a lyrical writing style that really brings to life this macabre and grotesque version of Wonderland. But what really turned me off the book were the main characters, who weren't very relatable or particularly likable, even. I have, however, read many, many good reviews on the novel, so I'd give the first few chapters a go, just to see whether it's to your liking!

Rating: 3/5

4 comments:

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  3. Message: Reading Jim Kulzer article about a spell caster namely Odumodu was, i will say the best that ever happen to me this year based on the fact that i had a lot problem that i was trying to over come.I had problems at home which affected my work greatly. I was now always in a cross fire with my boss.I really don't want to tell story here so i guess i would just go strange to the point on what i have to say.My wife wanted out of our marriage for no just reason.We were married for four year and i think we were happy though we had no kids, it was her idea not to have any cos she wasn't ready to be a mom yet and i was okay with it i mean i didn't like the idea but i went along with it just to please her.It was always like that i mean she always get what she wants.All i wanted was to see her happy i could never do anything that will make her so unhappy.This was all i did wrong that is make her have it her way all the time. I mean that was the reason she gave during our therapy session.She wanted out of the marriage cos i was to nice. From what she said, i was the kind of man ever woman will die for but she wanted a real man to enforce his will no her meaning was i was to week a man for her.And that was the least of therapy session we had cos like she said we where wasting our life together and no amount of therapy was going to get us back together.I was a total mess thinking of how i was being dumped based on how much i loved my wife and how good i treated her,I really didn't know if she was ungrateful or just confused about what she wanted that is mid-life crisis but the bottom line is that she left me and who knows maybe for another man.I was still in love with her, she was the love of my life and i still wanted her to come back that was when i saw Eva-Yolanda article on Odumodu.When i contacted him he made me known that i will have to go through all the spell casting process.Like he said most people are too scared cos of trust issues.I had trust issues, but getting my wife back was my ulterior motive and from my experience with Odumodu i can tell you he is 100% truthful and honest with his customer.I was asked to get some material to prepare the spell and after which he sent me a package contain the spell and the rest just happen the way it was suppose to happen i got my wife back and she was my wife back again i mean she was not that woman who wanted a hard man she was woman i fell in love with who loved me cos i am me.If you want help or fell he can help contact him with his email address drodumoduspellcaster@gmail.com..... ONCE AGAIN HIS EMAIL ADDRESS IS: drodumoduspellcaster@gmail.com



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    (1) If you want your ex back.
    (2) you need a divorce in your relationship.
    (3) You want to be promoted in your office.
    (4) You want women & men to run after you.
    (5) If you want a child.
    6) You want to be rich.
    (7) You want to tie your husband & wife to be yours forever.
    (8) If you need financial stance.
    (9) He can make you pregnancy.nancy

    ReplyDelete