Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Splintered (review)

2/5 stars

Splintered is one of those books that has a great concept --the family of Alice Lidell (from Alice in Wonderland) is cursee with a special kinda crazy as a punishment for Alice's mistakes in Wonderland. Alyssa is only the latest in a line of women who hear the conversations of flowers and insects.  Alyssa tries to hide the voices, killing the bugs and creating artwork while her mother wastes away in an insane asylum.  Then she stumbles on a website about the rabbit hole and someone from Wonderland offers her a way to cure her families curse.

Sounds interesting right? I know! Except the book completely lost it's own plot and instead turned into a poorly done paranormal romance without any real focus.

Instead of focusing on Wonderland, which you know is kind of interesting, Alyssa is absorbed by Jeb--the best friend she's secretly in love with.  All of their interactions and conversations just feel artificial.  He constantly calls her "skater girl" as a pet name.  Just a hint, taking your pet names from an Avril Lavine song is not cute.

Everything feels forced.  Jeb has a girlfriend who is less a character and more of an obstacle to the central relationship. She's a prop not a person.  The moment Alyssa and Jeb pass into wonderland she's only brought up to create conflict (and this happens continually).  There is drama, otherworldly creatures, pursuing armies, but the characters continually stop to argue about their relationship status.

The arguments don't even make sense. Near the beginning before she goes into wonderland she tells Jeb finds out she's trying to get a fake passport from a guy who works at the skating rink (seriously those things have microchips now folks, it's not that easy) and he confronts her.  She tells him to stay out of it.  This is his eloquent and intelligent response.
"Out of what?" The pain in his voice rips me apart. "Stay out of your plan to hook up with some random loser, or stay out of your life."
You may be wondering where he got the idea that Alyssa was going to hook up with a random loser. So am I.  In the context of the story his accusions came out of nowhere. Alyssa is a virgin and there's no evidence pointing towards that that changing anytime soon.  It's just an unnatural way to create another obstacle.  Once they're in Wonderland he also accuses that a "perv lured you here via a magical website" showing his winning intellect once again.

It was over-descriptive to the point of being purple prose, elaborating describing clothing hair and make-up, describing taste and scent in a way that didn't really make sense. The description was bothersome and at times downright confusing.
"The minute I'm free, I catch his thumb and nuzzle it. He tastes like grass  and icing and all the flavors of Jeb, magnified."  
First off the nuzzling is weird. Second she's tasting him. Third, grass and icing? Really?  Later he tastes like chocolate and salt.  At least the salt makes sense, but chocolate?  I know they say to use the five senses when writing description but it needs to make sense.

Overall this book just did not work. I can't include every groan-worthy quote.  The flaws, clumsy writing and shoddy storytelling overwhelm a good idea.  Without the romance and some self control with descriptors this could actually be a good book.  Unfortunately it's not.


Kat Salazar said...

Oh no!!! That does sound terrible! And I was so looking forward to this one too... :( Thank you for the warning. Eeesh.


JezzebellJC said...

This is a very well written review! Your points all make a lot of sense. I am sorry that it wasn't all that it could have been. I admit, the potential of this book intrigues me. If I would have noticed the things you pointed out though, they would have bothered me as well. I can't say that I want anyone to taste like grass and Skater Boi was a song from 10 years ago. I haven't read it yet, but I am glad for your review of it. Old follower :D Jaclyn @ JC's Book Haven

Nyx said...

Interesting. This is the first bad review I see for this book. I keep seeing 5 stars, but I was still not convinced mostly cause I have never actually liked the story of Alice so yeah...Those quotes you put definitely sounds like something I wouldn't want to read, so thanks for the heads up!

-Nyx @ Unraveling Words

veela-valoom said...

Kat Salazar: You're welcome. Hope you find a great book instead.

Jaclyn: Thanks! When I don't like books I always try to explain why so I'm glad it worked. I understand being enamored by the potential. I love retellings. LOVE. And Alice & Wonderland just has so much potential. But it just went wrong.

veela-valoom said...

You're welcome Nyx. I've seen some 5 stars but I've seen a lot of 3 stars too. One of the worst problems for me is when books forget the story & focus on the relationship problems instead.

Unknown said...

I'm sad that the book didn't turn out to be more than 2 stars because the cover is gorgeous. I guess you can't judge a book by its cover ;)

Thanks for sharing

Peace & Love
Crystal @ The YA Society

Unknown said...

I have this book to read, too, I admit I was looking forward to reading it. I still am, just now in a different way!

Unknown said...

I have this book to read, too, I admit I was looking forward to reading it. I still am, just now in a different way!

Chelsey said...

Thanks for the honest review. I am only about a fourth of the way through the book and I just can't seem to finish it. I have been reading a lot of negative reviews on it lately.

New follower (:

Chelsey@Charming Chelsey's

Bookluvr Mindy said...

That's too bad that it didn't do it for you. I loved this book. I felt like she did an amazing job creating a vivid picture in my head. Great review.

Kara_Malinczak said...

Yeah, I gave this book three stars, so there were parts I liked, but it was definitely a book with a lot of flaws.

The romance was nauseating. Jeb made me sick. He wasn't as controlling as some other love interests, but he was still creepy as f*ck.

This would have been a wonderful and compelling story without the romance, but I felt like the romance was tacked on last minute because you cannot possibly have a YA book without a romance. It's like the book changed focus from what it was supposed to be and became all about the romance. I had a huge problem with that.

Great review, Cassi.

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) said...

I hate it when an interesting premise gets ruined like that. The authors should know better than the fall into the same old PNR pattern, but apparently they don't. I don't really read re-tellings so I was never going to read this, but I'm glad my suspicion is confirmed.

Unknown said...

Bummer... I had this on my TBR list but wasn't so sure about it. Thanks for your review.