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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Audiobook Review: Splintered by A.G. Howard

TITLE: Splintered
SERIES: Splintered, Book #1
AUTHOR: A.G. Howard 
NARRATOR: Rebecca Gibel
PUBLICATION DATE: January 1, 2013
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook, 12 hrs and 38 mins
GENRE: Fantasy, Young Adult
ISBN: 9781620641859
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.


I received this audiobook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and the views expressed herein are my own. 

Alyssa Victoria Gardner is a 16 year-old teenager from Pleasance, Texas, whose great-great-great-grandmother was Lewis Carroll’s inspiration for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa’s childhood has been far from perfect. Her mother, Alice, was admitted to a mental institution when she was just five years old. Her best friend is the older boy, Jebediah Holt, who lives in the attached side-by-side and whose father is an abusive alcoholic. Jeb has always been like a protective older brother to Alyssa, but she yearns to be more.

Alice, whose family has a long history of mental illness, warned her daughter that the voices would start when she became a woman. Alyssa didn’t want to believe it at first, but she soon learned that she could hear the bugs and flowers. To shut out their incessant chatter, she always kept her earbuds in her ears and developed a macabre artistic sense. She would catch bugs, such as beetles or moths, and use their dead bodies to create artwork.

During one visit to her mother, she hears her mother talking to an insect and is shocked to hear it talking back! She always ignored the voices and treated it like “white noise.” However, if both she and her mother are hearing the same thing, then what does that mean? Either she is crazy as well, or her mother isn’t crazy at all! Alyssa learns about the family curse that all Liddell women have been afflicted with and that the only way to break the curse is to go down the rabbit hole. Alyssa  has to figure out how to do that to save her mother from being subjected to electroshock therapy.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this modern-day retelling of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Carroll’s classic is one of the more bizarre tales, and I was a little worried how a modern spin on such a unique story would fare. My worry was all for naught because Howard meshed the original story with her own fantastical thoughts and brought a different kind of flavour. She made it more dark and, if it’s possible, even more peculiar. I really liked where Howard went with the story, and I fell in love with the characters she created. Alyssa is a strong survivor, and I loved her father’s loyalty and devotion to her mother after so many years. It was so touching to see her parents’ love for one another, and it really was heart-warming as well to see Alyssa enjoy such a close relationship with her father. Jeb and also Morpheus, the moth who lures Alyssa to Wonderland, are both brooding contenders for Alyssa’s heart.

Memorable quote:

"No matter what happens, we'll find each other again, You're my lifeline. You always will be." - Jeb to Alyssa 

Overall, I really enjoyed Howard’s debut and look forward to reading more of her work!

I was already a fan of narrator Rebecca Gibel, and this audiobook is an excellent showcase of her talent! She brought the story to life with her distinctive vocalizations, and this is definitely a piece of ear candy! 

#10 for my What An Animal Reading Challenge VI    
#5 for my Spring Reading Thing 2013
#3 for my Once Upon a Time VII Challenge

View all my reviews


  1. Thanks for the great review. I've seen this around but wasn't sure if I'd like it. I think I would from your review and would love if our library gets it in audio version.

    1. Rebecca Gibel is an amazing narrator, Natalie! I hope you get a chance to listen to the audiobook!!

  2. I've been wanting to read this book for a long time! I think I might make an exception and break my book buying ban :P
    Thanks for the review

    1. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, Laura!

  3. I totally agree with your review. I think Alice re-tellings only work if the author maintains the same level of bizarre as the original and Howard definitely succeeded there!

  4. Sounds like I'll need to be checking this one out on audio as well! Great review, can't wait to hear your thoughts on the original tale too.

    1. Hi, Melissa. I'll be reading the original tale aloud to my children.

  5. What an interesting book you have there! I never heard of it before, but if she can make Alice In Wonderland seem even more bizarre, wow! Thanks for the great review, Darlene!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Rita! It was very interesting, and I'd recommend it if you enjoy fairy tale re-tellings.


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