May 13, 2015

Book Battle | Splintered vs Alice in Zombieland

Welcome to the second round of Book Battles!

If you missed the first round between The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska, then you should go on over and read it!

Today's face-off is between two retellings of Alice in Wonderland.

When I was a kid, Alice in Wonderland was my least favorite Disney movie. The Cheshire Cat haunted my nightmares and I would not go near any holes in the ground for fear of falling into Wonderland. The story was just too creepy for my childish brain.

Now, it is one of my favorite topics for retellings because it is so bizarre, unique, and just the right amount of terrifying.

Splintered vs. Alice in Zombieland

The Plot

Splintered- Centers around Alyssa and her struggle, and eventual failure, to live a normal life despite her mother's commitment to a mental institution and the fear of "catching" her crazy. It turns out that Alyssa is related to Alice from Alice in Wonderland and her story is not just a story after all. So, Alyssa needs to go back to Wonderland to fix Alice's mistakes, but along the way she discovers that the magical land is not as sweet and innocent as the story portrays it to be.

Alice in Zombieland- Alice's father believes in zombies, but she does not believe him until he is killed by one. Now, she is determined to avenge his death by killing any zombies that she can find. With the help of bad boy, Cole Holland, she might just have a chance against the wrath of the undead.

The Characters 

Splintered- The cast of this book was completely unique and intriguing. There is Alyssa, the skatergirl who is trying to be relatively normal in the wake of her mother's insanity, Jeb, the cute boy-next-door with a punk-rock style, and Morpheus, the hard-to-explain-without-giving away-spoilers guy who is equal parts sassy and mysterious.

Alyssa is a strong-headed main character who will do anything for those that she loves. Even if she does not seem like it on the outside, she is naive and very trusting (perhaps too much). She is also very sassy and sarcastic. 

Alice in Zombieland- The cast of this book is like a teenaged version of The Walking Dead, or any other zombie hunting production. There is the new girl, Alice, who has absolutely no idea what she is going. There is the bad boy leader, Cole, who also happens to be the love interest. Then, there is the jealous, ex-girlfriend, and the rest of Cole's lackeys. 

The most unique character was Kat, Alice's best friend. She did not care what anyone said about her. She was the best friend Alice could ever dream of, even when Alice ignored her and treated her like the zombies she hunted. Kat was perfectly snarky, girly, and the perfect foil to Alice. I really loved the sarcasm and sass that she brought to the book.

Alice is stubborn and bent on revenge. She refuses to give up on a difficult situation, especially if their are lives at stake. On the other hand, she is a cliche love-sick puppy when it comes to Cole. She completely melts over him and pretty much does whatever he says, even when she shouldn't. She is also easily influenced by gossip and peer pressure, which was not appealing. She has several jealous rages over the course of the book. 

The Writing

Splintered- Descriptive, whimsical but dark at times, crazy

Alice in Zombieland- Detailed, dramatic, violent

The Originality

Splintered- I can truly saw that I have not read an Alice and Wonderland retelling like this before. Actually, I have never read anything like it before. Howard put a morbid and frankly terrifying spin on the classic tale while still managing to incorporate all of the beloved aspects of the story. The originality comes in because of the unique perspective of the book. Apparently, Lewis Carroll was a little bit confused when writing his book. He actually thought that Wonderland was a nice, happy, and generally wonderful place to be, but according to this twisted story, he was as crazy as his characters.

New characters are blended into the story and hidden secrets of the real Wonderland are revealed. Splintered is so amazing because it remains totally original while still maintaining the roots of the story that everyone knows and loves.

Alice in Zombieland- Unfortunately, I cannot say the same thing about Alice in Zombieland. Most of it was cliche and overly dramatic, including one of the parts I was most excited about--the zombies. In reality, this book is like a spin-off of any popular zombie movie or TV show. It follows the standard plotline: girl's family killed, girl wants revenge, girl falls in love in .001 milliseconds, girl tries to fight zombies with said love and fails, girl figures out she has some kind of special power that will help her defeat the zombies. Personally, I have seen this story arc a thousand times, and I did not really want to read it again.

The Romance

With these books, picking a better romance is like picking the better of two evils. 

Splintered- The romance in Splintered is centered around a love triangle. It is not really the center of attention, with all of the adventure that happens in the book, but it is present. I am alright with love triangles as long as they are unique and avoid the overused cliches, which Splintered pulled off. The competition is between two old friends of Alyssa, but it could not be more complicated. 

Alice in Zombieland- The romance, or should I say cheese, in this book reeks of insta-love. There is one of those annoying moments where the characters eyes met across the hallway and they just "knew" that they were going to spend the rest of eternity together.

The Faithfulness to Alice in Wonderland

Splintered- This is yet another category that Splintered passed with flying colors. All of the original characters from the book, even some that were not mentioned in the Disney movie and I never knew about until reading it, were included. The book also references the original story several times. The setting, Wonderland, is almost exactly like the one I know and love. The caterpillar, Cheshire Cat (who I have grown to love), talking flowers, Red and White Queens, and the jabberwocky all make appearances in the book.

Alice in Zombieland-  This book could really just be named Zombieland, because it had almost nothing to do with Alice in Wonderland. The zombies were the focal point of the book, not the tale of Alice. The only indicators that it was inspired by Alice in Wonderland is the arbitrary appearance of a white cloud in the sky that resembles a white rabbit. That is basically all of the ties to the book. No Cheshire Cat, caterpillar, 

There might be some deeper meaning that I am failing to see in comparison with the original tale, but my point is that Alice in Zombieland is not obviously related to Alice in Wonderland.


This round goes to...

Splintered by A.G. Howard

Splintered was more unique, creative, and true to the original story. The romantic drama could be overwhelming at times, but is the only complaint that I have. The story of Alice and Wonderland is brought to life and given an interesting, but creepy, twist.

What is your favorite Alice in Wonderland retelling? Did you like Splintered or Alice in Zombieland more? What other Book Battles do you want to see?

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