A really interesting modern take on Alice in Wonderland, Splintered is the story of Alyssa Gardner, the great-great-great-granddaughter of Alice Liddell – the inspiration for Louis Carroll’s original story. Like all Alice’s descendents, Alyssa suffers from the ‘Liddell Curse,’ the ability to hear plants and animals, which, while inspiring artistic talent, leads to extreme mental health problems. When her heart is broken by her best friend Jeb and her mother faces extreme electric treatments, Alyssa jumps down the rabbit hole to put right all that Alice did in Wonderland.
A.G. Howard has created a believable fantastical world that blends together enough of Carroll’s original story, modern day characters and a sense of the macabre perfectly – at no point does it feel forced, or undercooked. The main action sequences have a great filmic quality – I’d love to see what a good director could do with it. The narrative in the book was well paced, and deftly kept in check by Howard’s well written prose.
I found the character of Jeb a little underdeveloped and couldn’t quite see until the end why Alyssa felt so strongly for him. However, for a story with it’s emphasis on the female line, the characterisation of Alyssa was superb – enough teenage girl to be believable, but with a developing inner strength that, refreshingly, wasn’t entirely based on the males around her. A great read, I’ll be looking forward to what Howard does next.
e-proof recieved with kind thanks to ABRAMS and netgalley.com