September 26, 2014

Review: Splintered

Splintered by A.G. Howard

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This is another book that I simply could not finish. I gave it the old college try, getting almost halfway through before I stopped, looked at the book, and thought, "I don't give a good goddamn what happens to these people, or how Alyssa solves her problem."

When I feel like that, I know it's time to give it up. I have way too many books sitting unread on my nightstand to waste my time on something like this. However, I didn't hurl it against the wall, mostly because I think plenty of people would like it; it's just one of my idiosyncrasies that I didn't.

For one thing, the setup was really good. Alyssa Gardner, the great-great-xx-granddaughter of Alice Liddell, the inspiration for Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, starts the book by trying to fight the insanity she thinks runs in her family; it landed all her female ancestors in asylums, including her own mother Alison, and she is dreadfully afraid she's next.

Only thing is, she's not insane at all; Wonderland really exists, and Alice and Alyssa herself really did go there. So she sets out to find it again, to undo the mysterious curse placed on her family, starting with the original Alice, and save her mother from upcoming electroshock treatments she fears will cause irreversible brain damage.

All well and good. Alyssa is smart and determined, and Jeb, her best-friend-who-she-secretly-wishes-was-more, seems to be a decent, caring sort. It's when the two of them (because Jeb saw her going through the looking-glass, and like a complete knucklehead, followed her in) hit Wonderland that the story begins to fall apart. Despite a few modern touches and distinctions, it's basically a retelling of the original story. We already have that. And it's way too surreal and disjointed for me; I'm sorry, I've got to have a bit of logic in my fantasy.

Even the arrival of Morpheus, the cobalt-haired, dangerous "netherling" (AKA the Caterpillar) who runs the place, wasn't enough to save the story. That said, I'm sure other people will love it. I just couldn't connect with the story and characters, and have moved on to something else.

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