Narrator: Rebecca Gibel
Series: Splintered #1
Published by Amulet Books, AudioGO on January 1, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Length: 12 hours 38 minutes
This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of Underland, as well as a girl's pangs of first love and independence. 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.
My Initial Reaction…
I LOVED the narration. I REALLY LIKED the parts in our world. I was SO BORED in Wonderland. 🙁 After all the hype surrounding Splintered I had high hopes and even got started off on a great note. But Wonderland just didn’t do it for me.
Rebecca Gibel’s narration was fantastic. I thought she brought the characters to life extremely well and she nailed some pretty difficult accents to boot. I wonder if I would have made it through Splintered without her reading it to me, honestly. Probably not.
Alyssa – the main character from whose point of view Splintered is told- drove me nuts. At first I really liked her. I mean she was a little creepy with the way she killed bugs for her art projects, but when I understood that it was because it was the only way to keep herself from going crazy because the bugs talked to her, it was ok. I mean, it’s a Wonderland retelling. I expected nuts. I also felt sorry for her because of the situation with her mom – who’s been in a mental institution for years – but I also didn’t love the way she acted towards her mom.
What I didn’t expect was indecisive, wishy-washy, and sometimes plain old mean. IDK how everyone who loved this book felt about Alyssa (I’m purposefully not looking at reviews until this is written), but her indecisiveness really drove me batty. She has this really good guy friend that she likes as more than a friend, but she goes back and forth from wanting him to wanting Morpheus (who I can’t for the life of me understand why she’d like him). And there came a point, for me, where her indecision was just cruel.
The guys in this cruel triangle – Jeb & Morpheous – were polar opposites to me. Jeb OBVIOUSLY cares about Alyssa and she keeps lashing out at him (sorry to beat a dead horse, but it annoyed me). The things he’s willing to do and go through for her should really spell it out for her. Morpheous, on the other hand, was a total dick IMHO. IDK how I was supposed to feel about him because I only really got glimpses. He’s a very main character – but for the Wonderland part where I was so bored my attention drifted a lot. So who knows, maybe I would have seen moments about him that I liked more, to be fair. But from what I saw, not a fan.
So here’s the deal with Splintered I really enjoyed it whenever the characters were in our world. I know this for a certainty because there was a moment after my ennui had really set in that I found myself super engaged with the book again. Guess what? They weren’t in Wonderland.
I think the problem was that I have never read Alice in Wonderland, nor do I have any desire to. I’ve seen the movies like one time each. And I enjoyed them. I watched the miniseries as a kid and loved it. But in no way can I call myself a true Wonderland fan. I don’t know all the elements and it’s not a place I’ve ever fantasized going to. This is a book for the people who are die-hard fans and would jump on an opportunity to visit Wonderland – at least IMHO. Because there’s no doubt in my mind that the places that bored me to tears were moments that played off the original story and would probably get true fans super excited. And I even suspect it was done well.
The story revolves around the mental illness that runs in Alyssa’s family – or supposed mental illness. Her great grandmother was THE Alice of Alice in Wonderland and ever since her, the women of the family have been a bit off their rocker. Alyssa unlocks the secret as to why and sets off on an epic adventure to save the women of her family. It has the makings of greatness and I can understand what people saw in it, that’s for sure.
So if you’re a Wonderland fan, I’d say give Splintered a shot, you’ll probably like it a lot more than I did. If you’re not, I’d stay clear or you may emerge from it bored and a wee-bit crazier than you went in 🙂