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Haruki Murakami, Philip Gabriel
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Splintered - A.G. Howard I sure wish now that I'd taken the blue pill and not read this book... On paper, a book might seem like many things. Some might seem like rage-inducing snooze fests directed at sexist people with a death wish. Incredibly epic, of course, is the preferred synopsis of choice. When I picked up SPLINTERED, glossed over the synopsis a few times, and took it in with a final hard look, I saw one word flash across my eyes – AWESOME. And that was what I took when I opened my Kindle and started this one. Sometimes, though, a synopsis misleads you. For me, SPLINTERED seemed epic in a Tim Burton-esque way. In reality, it was a one way trip to Hot Topic where they were having a blowout sale on Alice in Wonderland merchandise with Johnny Depp’s face plastered everywhere.SPLINTERED is the story of Alyssa, the daughter of a woman afflicted with severe psychiatric issues, and the granddaughter and great-granddaughter of others similarly affected. Alyssa herself can hear bugs and flowers speaking to her. With her love interest Jeb, a brooding artist currently dating the high strung and stereotypical enemy Taelor, Alyssa goes on a hunt to destroy the curse, leading her down the rabbit hole right into Wonderland.The first 20% of this book is a tedious exposition on Alyssa’s current life. Her mother is at Soul’s Asylum, where she eats only out of tea cups among other strange things. Alyssa skateboards and listens to music while mooning over artist Jeb, a boy who draws her in his sketchbook and dreams of going to London – on the dime of his girlfriend Taelor’s father, sadly – to start his career. There is a strong focus on the fact he has a garnet-studded labret piercing.This was my first warning that I might not like this book. I never was into the goth, emo, Hot Topic-type scene other than secretly listening to Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson on my iPod occasionally. SPLINTERED’s focus is not so much on a strong, well-plotted story as much as it is on concentrating on imagery that Tim Burton might be proud of if Tim Burton put in fake dreads and made Edward Skateboardhands instead of Scissorhands. SPLINTERED tries too hard to be cool, and loses itself in the process.I never connected to any of the characters, including our heroine Alyssa. The rest of the cast became a massive blur punctuated by the occasional strange character that never was developed. By the time the book ended after a meandering course of wild goose chases and strange trips that made no sense, many of the characters became a singular mass of boring and blah. Likewise, the plot was muddled, confusing, and at times the imagery – remarkably well thought out, if a little too obnoxious in the descriptions – became lost in confusing schpiels about mooning and being angry with Jeb and Morpheus, the extremely jerky other love interest/man-moth hybrid thing. I’m still not sure about that.SPLINTERED suffers heavily from an over emphasis on the romance and being different and loses itself in the process. We are drawn into a love triangle that I found to be rather unappealing, seeing as how I didn’t like Jeb or Morpheus. In fact, I quite hated Morpheus and didn’t see what Alyssa saw in him other than the moth that she was BFFs with when she was little, which wasn’t creepy at all. Oh, and the psychiatry in this book? It seemed like Tom Cruise at times was lecturing me. I must be glib.VERDICT: Sometimes, a book and a reader just don’t mesh. This happened to me with SPLINTERED sadly. Too much romance and not enough plot make Megan a dull girl.