HAPPY SUMMER EVERYONE! It’s the hottest time of year here in Texas! What do we do to escape the heat?! Travel to another world, of course! 😀
Alice in Wonderland is one of the best-known stories of our world. The vivid characters and magical world that Carroll brought to life for us has inspired people of all ages. Many of us could identify with Alice as she bumbled through the world of Wonderland meeting new people and looking for a way home after her tumble down the rabbit hole. In many ways, the worlds she experienced reflected the horrors of reality.
Howard took this idea and twisted it into a story that you cannot put down. The world that Alyssa experiences is anything but the sweet, fantastical world that she read about in the Lewis Carroll’s stories. Her family is connected to Carroll, through her great-great-grandmother Alice Lidell. She must travel through this scary place if she is to undo the curse that Wonderland left on her family.
I was skeptical going in if I’m completely honest. Wonderland? Dark and Twisty? Why would someone twist a story that is so beloved?! I pushed aside my skepticism and dove in. After all, dark and twisty is my game! The book started out slow, but by chapter 2 I was hooked.
The characters of Splintered are multidimensional and full of life and heart. Jeb, Jenara, Taylor and Alyssa’s Parents all had their own pain, heartbreak, and joy that Howard wove into the story with flawless ease, making them seem as though I could reach out and hug them. The Wonderland characters are just as dimensional and well constructed as the humans. Wonderland’s residents all had stories that were tragic and heartfelt enough to understand that underneath all the facade of death and hatred there were people who truly wanted the best for their worlds. Whether it was the White Queen, Queen Red, or the Caterpillar, himself, you understood their internal battles and hoped that their lives would be saved as well.
“You understand the logic behind the illogical, Alyssa.
It’s in your nature to find tranquility amid the madness.
And that’s what we’re doing here. We are giving our food a fighting chance.”
The tone of the book is set pretty quickly on, and the story seems to take on a life of its own as I progressed. Howard took care to shape the journey through Wonderland in a way that made you cheer for the villains and the protagonist of the book all at the same time. There were twists that were very obviously foreshadowed as well as twists that came out of nowhere, throwing the story in a direction that caused my brain to work in overdrive — desperate to get through the final chapters.
I’m usually not one for romance sub plots in stories but the romance seemed so natural that it didn’t hinder the story in any way. In fact, the love that the MC has for her two interests is so heartbreakingly real that it’s hard to choose which one I liked more. (I did slightly lean in favor of one over the other, but no spoilers!) The triangle that forms is believable and very well thought out but did let me down a bit. Alyssa’s decision really must come from her heart of hearts, and while that is a very noble decision, you know her choice pretty early on in the story. A bit more suspense on knowing what she was going to do would have been nice but did not retract from the over all quality of the book.
Over All, I give this book a solid 4.5 stars! If you are looking for a dark and twisted take on a tale you THINK you know, this one is definitely for you! The combination of old and new melded in a way that was perfectly fluid carrying you off to lose your head.
I will be reviewing the remaining two books (and novella collection) in the Splintered Series! Keep a look out for those shortly!