Audio Review: Splintered by A.G. Howard

Posted January 28, 2013 by Carmel in Audiobook Reviews, Carmel, Young Adult / 2 Comments

Audio Review: Splintered by A.G. Howard
Splintered by A.G. Howard
Narrator: Rebecca Gibel
Series: Splintered #1
Published by AudioGO
Published on: January 1, 2013
Genres: Young Adult
Length: 12hrs, 42 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audiobook Jukebox
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This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of Underland, 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.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is one of my all-time favourite fairy tales so when I had the opportunity to review A.G. Howard’s spin-off I just couldn’t resist. I prefer Lewis Carroll’s original dark and twisted version over the Disney-fied one which worried me some because Splintered is shelved as Young Adult. Thankfully, the author is a fan of the classics and opted to take a walk on the morbid side of this genre. I enjoyed everything about this book; from Howard’s poetic writing style to her unexpected plot twists.

For me, it was the writing that took center stage in this novel. Howard’s vivid descriptions and lyrical style are mesmerizing. The ebb and flow of her words really brought this story to life in my mind’s eye. Also, my hat goes off to Rebecca Gibel for nailing the rhythmic tongue twisters and the odd song too. Narrating this book couldn’t have been easy but her skillful use of tone and pitch was impressive. My only complaint is that her pacing was a little on the slow side which made this audiobook slightly longer than it needed to be.

I loved the way that the author incorporated elements from the original tale by having Alyssa pass a series of tests which involved righting Alice’s wrongs. I liked that there were both old and new aspects weaved into the story; it helped create links to the original while still adding a fresh perspective. Most of Carroll’s characters made appearances but there were also a couple of interesting additions including Humpty Dumpty from Through the Looking-Glass! I kept holding out hope that Tweedledum and Tweedledee would make appearances but alas, it wasn’t meant to be.

The conclusion seemed obvious from the get-go: Alyssa would successfully pass all of the tests and return to her old life. I should have known that that was too obvious! Instead, Howard goes off in a completely unexpected direction which left me reeling. The final twist is where she really takes ownership of this story and makes it her own. My only complaint was the weird love triangle; it was unnecessary and a little creepy. I liked Jeb’s character but I think that this book would have been just as good, if not better, had he not followed Alyssa down the rabbit hole. And kissing a moth is just plain yucky!

Splintered is sinister, unpredictable and disturbing which is exactly how I like my YA!

Recommendation: Fans of Lewis Carroll’s fairy tales will not want to miss this!
Like this, like that: Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter.

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Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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2 responses to “Audio Review: Splintered by A.G. Howard

  1. Beautifully put! I totally agree with everything you said, especially about the love triangle, my sentiments are the same.
    Excellent work, as usual! Aah! How I wish I could express myself this eloquent 🙂