Thursday, January 31, 2013

Classic Double Challenge: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Splintered

 I'm excited about participating in Melissa's Classic Double Challenge over at One Librarian's Book Reviews this year! I'm going to try and do two or three more of these because it's just so much fun to read an original classic and compare it with a modern retelling. First up, Alice in Wonderland and Splintered!

From Goodreads:
Weary of her storybook, one "without pictures or conversations," the young and imaginative Alice follows a hasty hare underground--to come face-to-face with some of the strangest adventures and most fantastic characters in all of literature.

The Ugly Duchess, the Mad Hatter, the weeping Mock Turtle, the diabolical Queen of Hearts, the Cheshire Cat--each more eccentric than the last--could only have come from that master of sublime nonsense, Lewis Carroll.

My Rating: ****

It was weird reading this, because I was so familiar with everything that happened, except it was strangely different than I was expecting. And yep, strange and weird and probably some of the best descriptors for Alice. Seriously, sometimes it was so bizarre I wondered if that's what it would feel like to be on hallucinogens. Alice's adventures are so upside down that they are hard to follow at times. But holy cow the creativity. The poetry! The sheer genius of Lewis Carroll.

I enjoyed it.

It didn't take long to read either, which was nice, plus I'm not sure how much more of that my brain could have handled. I liked that it was also subtle satire on that period's education system, with poems and lessons mixed-up and mocked. I'm glad I can now say that I've read it. I'm not sure what my kids would think of it, though. I'm considering trying it out on them... I'll let you know if I do.

From Goodreads:
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.
My Rating: ***

Okay. I really liked the way Splintered was connected to the original story of Alice in Wonderland. So clever! I loved the completely tangible connection to the actual book and the person who inspired it and the way that Wonderland turned out to be real. Except horribly, grotesquely MORE.

Just to warn you.... Splintered is creepy and morbid and gross at times. It gets really dark (not totally my style which is partially why it only gets three stars from me). But the way that A.G. Howard took the original elements of the book and reimagined them for her world was genius. Everything is there and everything is the same, but so much scarier.

Then there are the characters. Alyssa was just too much of a wimp for most of the book. She relies so heavily on Jeb for everything and Jeb is so annoyingly protective and over-bearing. Fortunately that changes later on, but it was too little too late for me. Honestly, I liked Morpheus more. He had such an incredible depth to him. All sorts of mixed motives and conflicting actions. He kept it interesting for me.

Splintered is vivid, weird, shocking, magical, and so engrossing. A good read if you're a fan of the original story and can stomach some of the nastier bits.

Content: Just dark, scary, and violent. There's really not much in the way of sex (some innuendo) and foul language.

1 comment:

melissa @ 1lbr said...

What a great comparison/review! I'm definitely going to get a post up soon so we can link to these reviews - they need to be shared.