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A Great and Terrible Beautyby Libba Bray
Synopses & Reviews
This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girls pangs of first love and independence. 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 Carrolls Alices Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.
When her mothers 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 Alices tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alices 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.
Praise for Splintered:
"Fans of dark fantasy, as well as of Carrolls Alice in all her revisionings (especially Tim Burtons), will find a lot to love in this compelling and imaginative novel."
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Alyssa is one of the most unique protagonists I've come across in a while. Splintered is dark, twisted, entirely riveting, and a truly romantic tale."
"Brilliant, because it is ambitious, inventive, and often surprising — a contemporary reworking of Lewis Carrolls “Alices Adventures in Wonderland, with a deep bow toward Tim Burtons 2010 film version."
—The Boston Globe
"Its a deft, complex metamorphosis of this childrens fantasy made more enticing by competing romantic interests, a psychedelic setting, and more mad violence than its original."
" Protagonist Alyssa...is an original. Howard's visual imagination is superior. The story's creepiness is intriguing as horror, and its hypnotic tone and setting, at the intersection of madness and creativity, should sweep readers down the rabbit hole."
"While readers will delight in such recognizable scenes as Alyssa drinking from a bottle to shrink, the richly detailed scenes that stray from the original will entice the imagination. These adventures are indeed wonderful."
"Attention to costume and setting render this a visually rich read..."
"Wonderland is filled with much that is not as wonderful as might be expected, and yet, it is in Wonderland that Alyssa accepts her true nature. The cover with its swirling tendrils and insects surrounding Alyssa will surely attract teen readers who will not disappointed with this magical, edgy tale."
—Reading Today Online
"Creepy, descriptive read with a generous dollop of romance."
—School Library Journal
"A Gothic touched by modern conceptions of adolescence, shivery with both passion and terror." Kirkus Reviews
"Bray's gripping and suspenseful debut novel provides the perfect canvas for Wyatt....Colorful details of Indian bazaars and the Spence School in London make this outing all the more compelling." Publishers Weekly
"A well written page turner, with strong characterization and dialogue, this Victorian-era gothic novel will find many readers unable to put it down until the very last page." Children's Literature
"Soundly researched and credible....[An] exhilarating and thought-provoking read." VOYA
"An interesting combination of fantasy, light horror, and historical fiction, with a dash of romance thrown in for good measure." Library Journal
A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights
Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazis wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . shes falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.
She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.
About the Author
Libba Bray has worked as a waitress, a nanny, a burrito roller, and an advertising copywriter. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and son.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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