Down the Rabbit Hole...

Splintered - A.G. Howard

This was curious.

 

The bugs were almost too much for me at the beginning. I was deeply concerned for a bit that they were going to be prevalent throughout, but things toned down after the first chapter or so and they became less central.

 

Alyssa is an odd duck, but she is strong. She's clever and thoughtful and gutsy and while she makes mistakes and certainly thinks about the two "men" in her life an awful lot, she generally keeps that in perspective and manages to grow despite them. She feels strangely real, a curious trait given the fantasy world she ends up tumbling into.

 

Jeb's relationship with her was odd. He's kind of a dick and not terribly supportive as far as "best friends" go. He is also weirdly protective. I think maybe it is supposed to feel charming that he is playing White Knight for her, but since Aly is strong and assertive and, what's more, significantly cleverer and more thoughtful than he is, it is mostly just annoying. He treats her like a stupid child and it feels like he is holding her back from becoming herself.

 

Wonderland was glorious and terrible, and Morpheus fit right in. I was not quite expecting all of the moments where I had to put the Kindle down with an appalled look on my face and just consider what monstrosity I had just encountered. I'm tempted to classify it as a horror novel for those moments alone. I can't get some of the imagery out of my head, for better or for worse. The very vividness of the rest of Wonderland only highlighted the darkness contained therein, which was epitomized by Morpheus in almost every way.

 

Morpheus was intriguing. He was bright and charming, dark and terrible, and he helped Alyssa grow in surprising ways. He surprised me quite a bit throughout, which is always lovely. I can't wait to see what happens with him in the sequel.

 

The plot did a lot of twisting and turning back on itself. I felt like it stopped just short of "too many twists!", but mileage may vary on that front. I will say that I do love things in verse, because no one in books can apparently rhyme and thus I get to figure stuff out more quickly. Or accidentally get off on a slightly wrong track and end up blindsided later. That's actually even more fun.

 

The subtle allusions throughout to the original stories were fun to track. I wasn't even quite sure which were going to be important and which were just slight nods to the canon, so I had to stop and highlight them all. It was even more fun because sometimes Alyssa, being familiar with the stories herself, could catch them with me.

 

I went back and forth on my rating for this. The relationship dragged things down, but otherwise is was beautifully written. Wonderland had a dark and grotesque beauty that I haven't really seen before, and it felt strangely true to the insanity of the source material in a lot of ways.