I really don't know how to tell you how much I love this book. I'm pretty much sitting here thinking "wHAT IS WORDS" even though I finished the book two days ago and should, theoretically, know how to write this review by now.
But, I don't because I'm still in a state of
and while accurate, a review consisting of keyboard smashing does not make a proper review.
Splintered is an Alice in Wonderland retelling, a type of retelling I'm not exactly a novice about. I've read many retellings, watched many retellings, and for gods' sake, I've played American McGee's Alice (which, by the way, I wholeheartedly recommend). I'm definitely not new to the genre, yet Splintered still was an entirely new experience for me.
Instead of being a traditional retelling Splintered acts more like an addition or a sequel. It didn't really retell the story we all know, nor did it have any similarities when it came to storyline. In fact, the only similarities were characters. It functioned much like an AU fanfiction with the same characters but a completely different storyline.
While I could definitely see the similarities to American McGee's Alice in the world-building and overall feel to the book, Splintered was wholly original and beautiful. If you are not familiar with McGee's Alice, it's an very odd, yet thoroughly enjoyable, horror game in which Wonderland is turned upside down and about 217% wackier than the original. Likewise, Splintered was insane and unsettling at times, yet still lyrical. It managed to retain the Alice-ness of the original book, while still being a fairly original novel.
The best part of Splintered is most definitely the world-building. The world is as disturbing and unnerving, as it is beautiful and wonderful. The descriptions are vivid and bright, making the reader feel as if they are down the rabbit hole themselves, something often absent in average Alice retellings.
The first fifty pages of Wonderland are absolutely impossible to put down because of the vivid imagery and absolute magical-ness of the whole scene. It's incredibly surreal and just, a+ your parents should be proud of you Mrs. Howard. Honor on you and your cow.
However, Splintered wasn't entirely perfect as there was one problem, whether it is minor or major is up to you.
The majority of the characters of Splintered are very nicely done. Alyssa is a very nice heroine - appropriately kickass but also vulnerable. She is actually pretty likable, though admittedly not amazing. Morpheus, the star of the book, is extremely likable (which may be just me because he's not exactly the good guy nor a good guy). He is awesome and insane and brilliant.
And then, there's Jeb who's basically the one character who doesn't really fit in with the book. He's supposed to be Alyssa's human anchor to the mortal world but, to be honest, he was more of a pain than anything. Just because you're flipping gender standards and having a guy be a Mary Sue and have him be damsel distress doesn't mean it's any less annoying and stupid. Damsels in Distress are annoying no matter the sex.
Admittedly, this is only one character among four or five many. This may annoy you more or less than it annoyed me. It's a relatively minor complaint, I suppose but it still managed to annoy me and pull me from the story because all I could think was, "Are you kidding me Jeb? Dude, seriously, again?"
Overall, Splintered is an absolutely beautiful, magical read that I recommend to anyone who loves Alice in Wonderland and even to those who don't necessarily like it that much. Splintered is a fantastic book that should be read no matter what.