Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Splintered by A.G. Howard

Just when you thought the paranormal romance YA genre was dead. Do not be deceived by the pretty cover or the purple print meant to lure you in to this teeth-grinding "love" story or its promise of an interesting spin on Alice in Wonderland.

The story is of Alyssa Gardener, who is descended from Alice Liddle, the girl who inspired Lewis Carrol's famous works. This, however, is a serious problem for young Alyssa since she seems to have inherited some kind of curse which causes the women in her family to hear the voices of animals and insects and slowly drive them mad. The curse can only be broken by traveling back to Wonderland and fixing all the problems Alice left behind in her adventures while dealing with (you guessed it) two hot guys who have a crush on her.

Where do I begin? Well, good things out of the way first, because there are some. There is some imagination and promise in this book. The designs of Wonderland itself and some of the inhabitants is creative, such as a faceless Mad Hatter whose head changes so he can fit hats perfectly to the heads of his customers. And that's it. Seriously. That's the only thing I can say for this book. That's the only redeeming quality, that it is sometimes imaginative. Oh boy.

First off, forget Wonderland, it's the "real" world that is bizarre. Alyssa's mother has been committed to a mental institution that still uses padded cells and straight jackets and  nurses carrying around loaded syringes in their pockets. And yes, this is supposed to take place in our current century! Also, high schoolers pick on Alyssa mercilessly for her heritage, using phrases like "Mad Hatter's love slave" (who talks like this?). Yeah, Alyssa has a mother in an asylum and they pick on her for having a famous ancestor. 'Cause that's so how it works in real life.

Also, the way this thing is written is just irritating. Once again from that annoying first person perspective that novels of this kind just love doing, but it seems the author just wants to talk about what the characters are wearing as opposed to advancing the story. There are whole paragraphs describing the clothes, even the conversation get interrupted because the characters are describing each others clothes, and it is just eye roll inducing. It feels less like it's adding to the whimsical world of Wonderland and more like a promotion for a fashion line.

But the real problem lies in the "characters" of this thing. Alyssa is so passive and boring and so stereotypically "misunderstood" and "tortured" that I've seen deflated balloons with more personality. You also have your token best friend who disappears for the interesting parts and never hear about again and the even more token mean girl who hates the main character for no reason.

But the biggest offense, the main event, the literary embodiment of everything wrong with this book and this genre can be summed up in one name: Jeb! Oh my gosh, this guy is horrendous! I've rarely come across a character so abusive, so cruel, so demanding, and so plain despicable....that I'm supposed to like! Jeb is sad because he doesn't want to be an abusive pig like his father but he's an abusive pig too! Every time Alyssa tries to do something against his wishes, he fights her to the point where he even picks her up and pins her to the wall to force her to stay put. Every time the magical third member of the triangle, this book's version of the Caterpillar named Morpheus (subtle), Jeb gets physically violent with him. Always grabbing, shoving, pushing and threatening, but the way Alyssa's exhausting inner monologues go, you'd think he was a the most perfectly perfect guy in the history of perfect. The whole thing is enough to make feel sick. Girls, if your boyfriends ever behave this way: GET OUT!

Final Verdict
Splintered was a pain to get through, plain and simple. The story was unoriginal. The characters were either boring tokens or unbearable pieces of human waste (Jeb!) and I have no problem placing this story right where it belongs in the Waist Bin of Despair! No need to pick this one up, people. You don't need this kind of negativity in your life.

Next time: Now for something a little different. Supernatural and the FBI, anyone?

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