Friday, January 1, 2016

Splintered - A.G. Howard

I picked up the book Splintered, by A.G. Howard, because I thought it looked awesome.  I totally judged this book by the cover.  Then I read the back and fell in love with the description.  Everything about this book seemed awesome.  Then - I hiked myself to the library and checked this book out.  See, it's the first book in a series, and I didn't want to buy it if it turned out to be awful.  Turns out, I made the right decision - because this book was not nearly as good as I thought it was going to be.

Splintered is a sort of retelling of the classic Alice in Wonderland story.  According to this book, Alyssa is the great-great-great granddaughter of Alice Liddell, a woman who actually traveled to Wonderland, then told her story to Lewis Carroll and gave him permission to write about it.  Alice's daughter, granddaughter, great granddaughter and so on, all have a touch of madness about them due to being descendants of Alice.  In fact, Alyssa's mom is even in a mental institution (where they do things like carry needles to the patients in their hands and dope them up with drugs sans the patients permission.) 

We meet Alyssa as she is arriving at work.  Later, instead of going straight home, she goes to a skate park where she falls and gets hurt.  Her kind of friend Jeb gives a ride to the mental institution - and later finally learns the truth about what's wrong with Alyssa's mother.  A couple of strange things happen that set off Alyssa's mom and send her into a fit in which she tries to kill Alyssa.  After hearing some strange speak from her mom, Alyssa makes her way to a mirror where she falls into wonderland followed by Jeb - who followed her because he wanted to make sure she was alright.  This leads to Alyssa's own personal journey through a land that everyone else thinks is fake. 

I think that in the hands of a better writer and a better editor, this story could have been great.  As it stands, the characters and the writing are weak, and there are some major mistakes that should have been caught.  For example, spelling errors of very basic words like thief (spelled theif in the book.)  The first thing that caught me really off guard was the fact that Alyssa's mother was in a mental institution.  This is not a valid plot point in any story because people who mental health issues do not go to institutions any more.   They stay in hospitals where trained medical doctors can oversee them and assist them in working towards integrated life with their families.  I also had a major issue with the description of the nurse giving Alyssa's mom a shot.  The nurse picked up the needle and carried it in her hand and behind her back towards Alyssa's mother.  She then injected this shot into Alyssa's mother with know forewarning and without her permission. This would not have been done.  In any normal setting, the nurse would have carried the syringe/needle to Alyssa's mother on a tray.  Also, Alyssa's mother would have been in her room, not out in some courtyard where any person could see what was happening. That raises issues of this place violating a person's right to privacy. 

The story is littered with weak sentences and situations that are thrown in just to move the story along. The characters do not change or grow at all throughout the book, and there are no real revelations in the story.  It was a dismal attempt at recreating a classic story and it did not live up to it's predecessor in the least.  You'd be better off saving your time to read something that's actually well written and well edited.  As for the rest of this series - I won't be following the "real wonderland."

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