Splintered by A G Howard
Splintered is not really a retelling, not even really a reimagining of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland – it’s more a story that starts after. The premise for the story is as follows:
Alyssa is the great-great-great granddaughter of Alice Liddell – who was the inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s story. Apparently, the Liddell women suffer from a curse, in Alyssa’s case this translates into her hearing bugs and plants talking to her. Not so healthy when her own mother is already in an institution and Alyssa fears that the same madness will soon overtake her. Of course Alyssa is soon to have bigger things to worry about as she discovers that the only way to break the Liddell curse is to follow in Alice’s footsteps and enter Wonderland.
I really enjoyed this story. It’s quite beautifully written, full of imagination and brings a slightly more sinister feel to the Wonderland we all know. Basically, Lewis’s reimagining of Alice’s fantasy world leaves a few minor details out according to this story – it may not have been so child friendly otherwise.
So, Alyssa willingly follows in Alice’s footsteps, accidentally taking with her her childhood friend Jeb – who she’s also been harbouring a crush on for sometime. And so their own adventure is about to begin.
Alyssa’s other childhood friend lives in Wonderland, a strange boy who inhabited her dreams during her early years and who Alyssa has kept a secret over the years. His name Morpheus (which is really quite fitting that he’s named after the God of Dreamland). Can he be trusted? Strange and quite beautiful with his unruly blue hair and dark, gothic like wings.
Like it or not, the three of them are set on their course of action and must see it through to the end.
I just thought this was beautifully told. I’m not sure how enchanting it would be for people who haven’t read the original, or at the very least have seen the film. I think some knowledge of the original story is necessary in order to fully appreciate what AGH has actually achieved with the characters and setting.
In terms of criticisms, well, there is a love triangle here – I think that’s the current curse of many books (perhaps we need to go back in time and break this particular affliction!) That being said, I thought this particular love triangle was quite well done – in fact, let’s just be honest, both of these guys are a bit hot. One good one bad, both with more to them than meets the eye and both sharing a history with Alyssa yet from totally different perspectives. No easy choices here – for either the reader or Alice! I think my only niggle was a slight flagging as the story neared it’s conclusion but I still raced ahead to be honest as I needed to find out how this ends.
This book appealed to me because of the beautiful cover and the picture above doesn’t do it justice – it’s really lovely. The inside however surpassed the beauty on the outside. Descriptive, imaginative, sinister. Filled with weird and wonderful animals and scenery that just sprang to life in my mind’s eye in vivid and wonderful colour. I will definitely pick up the next.
I’m submitting this for my Once Upon a Time event over at Stainless Steel Droppings under the heading ‘Fairytale’.