Splintered by A G Howard

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Splintered by A G Howard

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Category: Teens
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James
Summary: Alice in Wonderland update has some good world-building but flat characters and a plot which lacks tension. One for die-hard fans of fantasy or of Lewis Carroll only.
Buy? No Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 400 Date: January 2013
Publisher: Amulet Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1419706271

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Alyssa Gardner has secrets. She can't tell anyone that bugs and flowers talk to her, or she'll end up in a mental hospital like her mother. All of the women in her family have struggled with mental health problems, ever since her ancestor Alice Liddell inspired Lewis Carroll to write Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. When she's dragged into Wonderland herself, can she break the family curse?

There are some good parts to the book, particularly in Howard's macabre vision of Wonderland, which seems closer in spirit to Tim Burton's film than the original book, but overall this is a waste of a great idea. Alyssa and the rest are rather flat characters, with the main offenders being the other two parts of the inevitable love triangle - best friend and secret crush Jeb is slightly bland, while the untrustworthy Wonderland-dweller Morpheus is pretty much a cardboard cut out 'fantasy bad boy'. To be interested in one of them would be bad enough, to be interested in both of them makes her seem like a colossally bad judge of character at best and a complete idiot at worst. Other characters mostly come and go so quickly that there's no real chance to care about any of them. Howard's writing style is also somewhat overblown for my own tastes.

In addition, there's not enough tension in the book, with Alyssa seeming to stumble onto the right way to solve most of her problems incredibly quickly, or just getting manipulated into doing what she needs to by other characters. On the plus side, we get that increasingly rare thing in current fantasy novels, an ending which actually means the book works as a stand-alone!

The interesting world-building means that this may be worth checking out if you're a big fan of either fantasy novels or of the original Alice, but overall I'm unimpressed.

For fantasy with stunning characters, I loved The Poison Throne: Moorehawke Trilogy by Celine Kiernan and the two sequels. Laini Taylor's series, which starts with Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, is also excellent. It's written for adults, but a mature teen might enjoy After Alice by Gregory Maguire. We think you'll love The Novice by Taran Matharu.

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Buy Splintered by A G Howard at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Splintered by A G Howard at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Splintered by A G Howard at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Splintered by A G Howard at Amazon.com.


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