Some of my favorite stories are created when an author can take an old tale, add a crazy twist, and make it completely their own. This being said, I often find myself driven towards fairytale retellings. It’s really something special when you can take someone else’s old idea and make it new. At a cute little bookstore in Washington a few weeks ago, I was hoping to find one of these great stories in Splintered, by A. G. Howard.
The story starts off well enough, showing us what regular life looks like for our main character. Howard adds some family history, helping to build to the storyline. Then comes the call to action, but in this category, I’m disappointed to say that the characters’ reactions were stereotypical and easy to guess. The same goes for their personalities. For the entire book, I kid you not, Alyssa, the main character is waiting for her hunky boyfriend to come to save her. On the hunky boyfriend’s side, he actually acts like her dad. He tells her she’s not allowed to do things, and she actually listens! She looks up to him and acts like a lovesick puppy dog, never getting mad at him, even when he’s at fault!
Morpheus, another love interest of the main character, has a somewhat more unique personality. Though, on occasion, we see him falling into the bad boy stereotype. Instantly, towards the beginning of the book, I feel like the author almost incorporates Alyssa’s love life into the hook. She kind of uses instant love, with hunky boyfriend and with Morpheus, but at the same time, she describes, in lacking detail how Alyssa has known both boys practically her whole life. So it might not be instant love for the main characters, but for the readers, it sure seems it. We don’t get enough interactions between Morpheus and Alyssa to justify her strong feelings towards him.
Going into the world building, I adore the somewhat similar, yet altogether a wee bit different Wonderland Howard created. The only thing I would’ve enjoyed there being more of was an explanation of Wonderland politics and drama. Towards the end, things became a bit tangled and I found myself having to repetitively go back and reread, in attempt to fully comprehend the insane twists and wild ending. Granted, the twist may be predictable, but all the small details that go along with it are a surprise.
I would have immensely enjoyed this book better if I could stand the main character. I think it’s still worth a shot to try the next books, in hopes she grows up and develops as a person better. I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.