We Have Moved!

We have moved our blog to the new CHB website! Check us out over there to find our latest stories and reviews!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Victoria Reviews: Splintered by A.G. Howard

            "Why is a raven like a writing desk?"
            If you're familiar with this quote, you'll probably love A.G. Howard's debut novel, Splintered, a strange and macabre take on Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There.
            A short summary of the plot reads thus: Alyssa Gardner, a descendent of Alice Liddell (the inspiration for Carroll's Alice), can speak to bugs and plants. This worries her, since the same ability put her mother in the asylum; she's afraid  she'll end up like her mother and all the women who came before her who also went mad. Gradually, Alyssa starts to realize that this hereditary madness might actually be some sort of curse that descended upon her family when Alice went down the rabbit hole - that's right, Lewis Carroll's children's tales were actually true. However, real Wonderland doesn't exactly resemble the place of wonder and magic that Carroll's books described; it's much darker and more sinister. Alyssa must break the curse on her family by going into Wonderland herself and fixing all the trouble that Alice left behind.
            As a huge Alice fan myself, this book was a deliciously strange take on one of my favorite childhood tales. A.G. Howard says she was inspired by Tim Burton's Alice film, and her descriptions of the "real" Wonderland clearly show this influence. Howard does a beautiful job of describing her version of Wonderland. The picture in my head as I read was very vivid and detailed, and she wove a lovely mix of strange and twisted with beautiful and imaginative. Many Alice character favorites make appearances as well: the Mad Tea Party, the Red and White Queens, the Cheshire Cat, and many more, though don't expect them to be the same characters you know and love from Carroll's books! Howard has made most of them entirely her own.
            Alyssa is a strong character despite being haunted and scarred by her mother's insanity through most of the story. She is clearly a caring and mostly selfless person. I liked her and found her fairly easy to identify with. Alyssa also has two men in her life: her best friend and crush, Jeb, and her mysterious and dark guide to Wonderland, Morpheus, both of whom tug on different heartstrings. Jeb plays the part of the sweet, trustworthy teenage boy-who's-a-friend. Morpheus, on the other hand, is a Wonderland resident from Alyssa's childhood dreams and memories. He's different from anyone else she's ever known, and they seem to have some strange connection as he leads her deeper and deeper into the twisted Wonderland and into the darker corners of her own mind. I think Morpheus would have to be my favorite character. I have a thing for characters with ambiguous loyalties and morals, and Morpheus fits that description perfectly.
            Although the things I've mentioned really make this a great book, it's going on my favorites shelf in large part for another reason: Howard connects her book intricately with Carroll's books, and her story is filled to bursting with recognizable references to the originals. I absolutely adore this, especially in the context of a rich, unique story. She's done a lovely job with this novel.
            I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes Lewis Carroll (as long as you're okay with having the familiar story changed quite a bit…). As the book's cover says, "Welcome to the real Wonderland."

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...