The Splintered Series by A.G Howard
If you’ve read my reviews before, you know that I don’t normally review an entire series at one time. Originally, I planned on reviewing Splintered on its own, but I ended up reading this series so fast that I can’t really separate the books anymore. It’s all just become one giant blur of emotions and crazy events. So, I’m going to do my best to try to explain why I ended up loving this series so much.
Here is the Goodreads synopsis of Splintered to give you a bit of background:
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.
When I started reading this series I had no idea what to expect; unlike so many other books that I’ve read, there wasn’t really any hype or talk surrounding it (or at least none that I had seen). It seems like the Splintered fandom is pretty quiet, and that needs to change effective immediately because these books are AMAZING.
Since the author does draw inspiration from Lewis Carroll’s story, Splintered features magic and crazy creatures galore- but with a dark and sinister twist. One of the reasons this series is so amazing is Howard’s attention to detail and her commitment to engaging the readers’ senses. Her descriptions of Wonderland and its inhabitants are so rich that you feel as if you are experiencing everything first hand. Wonderland is no longer the fun and bright place you saw in the Disney movie; it’s scary and threats lurk around every corner.
Another aspect of this series that also drew my attention was the extent to which the protagonist’s parents were involved in the plot. A common trend I often see in young adult literature is the lack of a consistently present parental figure, or the presence of one who is problematic. While these kinds of relationships certainly exist in real life, they are not a reflection of every real world family. It was refreshing to see that even though Alyssa’s relationship with her parents, especially her mom, does become strained at times, her parents consistently support her and do what they can to be around her and keep her safe.
As for Alyssa, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this series from her perspective. She’s fun and quirky and, like any good character, has her own flaws and shortcomings that she works through on her journey into adulthood. She develops strength and confidence as she matures, and along the way she learns to balance other people’s expectations with her own expectations for herself.
Now I know what you may be thinking. What about the romance? Are there any good looking love interests to swoon over? Yes, there are romances. And yes, they are very swoon worthy- I literally had to stop reading several times to either a) stop blushing, or b) put a hand over my heart and sigh dramatically. I kid you not. In case you were wondering, there is a strong presence of a love triangle, but that wasn’t a problem to me. It certainly didn’t detract from the story. Actually, I would argue that it made the story better because Morpheus and Jeb (the two love interests) are like incarnates of Wonderland and the human world, so they represent everything that those two worlds have to offer.
Oh, and you know this guy?
Well, he’s the character that Morpheus is supposed to be based off of, but he gets a MAJOR upgrade in Splintered. Oh, Morpheus. I could write an entire post on why his name has been added to my “Favorite Male Characters of All Time” list. He’s a tricky, manipulative, self-serving word master with a penchant for eccentric fashion and flashy moth-covered hats, and yet I could not help but fall in love with his wicked ways. But seriously, the guy’s got a hat for literally every occasion. Seduction Hat? Check. Insurrection Hat? Check again.
Before I end my post, I’d like to take a moment to do something I don’t normally do. I’d like to thank A.G Howard for writing this beautiful series. Before reading it, I had been stuck in the biggest reading slump of my life. College had hacked away at my will to read, and, in a fit of desperation, I almost gave up on something that I consider to be my passion. This series changed that. It made me fall in love with reading all over again, and I will be forever grateful for that.
Take the time to fall into this series just like Alice fell down the rabbit hole. I promise you that it’s worth it.