Splintered (Splintered Series, #1) is a 2013 fantasy adventure romance novel written by A. G. Howard, serving as the first installment in the Splintered Series. The story follows Alyssa Gardner who ventures into the real Wonderland, which is far darker and more twisted than the lively tale suggest, to rid her family of a generations old curse stretching back to her ancestor Alice Liddell. Aiding her in her quest is her secret crush and best friend Jeb, and her mysterious guide, Morpheus.
- Great characters
- Engaging story
- Highly descriptive writing
- Great setting
- Some problems with the writing
Plot: The story is really compelling though initially it does start off a bit slow. Alyssa’s mission to rid her family of the generations old curse does take her down a long and twisted road. There are plenty of twists and turns that maintain the compelling component. The story comes to an explosive climax although honestly, the resurrection of the Red Queen could’ve been handled better. This subplot did feel shoed in and could’ve been supported better throughout the story or not been introduced at all. (3 out of 5)
Characters: The story does feature some really good characters. Alyssa is the main protagonist, who ventures to Wonderland to rid her family of its curse. Alyssa has shown herself to be a good character, demonstrating character, determination, loyalty though at times she can be overwhelmingly stubborn. She is a strong protagonist, not physically, but in personality. Jeb is a good character also, serving as her protector. There are some moments where he does come off as a badass while protecting Alyssa but also a douche when it comes to his interactions with Morpheus. And Morpheus is just awesome. He has the best moments, best one-liners and is more likable compared to Jeb due to his personality. Even with his interactions with Alyssa, he does come off more authentic. (4 out of 5)
Setting: The Wonderland setting not only feels vibrant but definitely feels chaotic and blight against the physics of our reality. As much as it captures the magic of the original while emphasizing the more twisted, darker elements of Wonderland. Wonderland definitely feels alive with all the various landscapes, creatures, and customs. (4 out of 5)
Writing: When it comes to the writing Howard definitely shows a lot of great talent flowing with a gorgeous hand. The focus on characters, singular and their relationships, help to give depth to the story. The romance is handled well; Howard balancing Alyssa’s feelings for Jeb and Morpheus, both serving as opposing sides to another as well as the rivalry between the two. Character descriptions are good and deep. There are some issues s when it comes to the medical practices, mental illness treatment, and procedures of the asylum which felt too old school wacky and nightmarish. (4 out of 5)
The Verdict: In the end, Splintered (Splintered Series, #1) is a great read. Although there are some moments where the writing could’ve been handled a little better the novel does feature good characters, good writing, a great setting, and an interesting story. Splintered (Splintered Series, #1) gets 4 out of 5.