Thursday 27 September 2018

Review: A Blade So Black - L.L. McKinney

The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. Now she's trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. Yet even warriors have curfew.

Life in real-world Atlanta isn't always so simple, as Alice juggles an overprotective mom, a high-maintenance best friend, and school. But when Alice's handsome and mysterious mentor is poisoned, she has to find the antidote by venturing deeper into Wonderland than she's ever gone before. And she'll need to use everything she's learned in both worlds to keep from losing her head . . . literally.

The Nightmare-Verse Series:
A Blade So Black
A Dream So Dark

Visit L.L. McKinney's website for more information

As a huge Alice in Wonderland fan the second I heard A Blade so Black is a retelling where it was actually Buffy who fell down the rabbit hole I was all in for this book and I'm so happy to say that it lived up to my high expectations.

Alice is a fantastic character, she's smart and hard working and she knows how to kick butt. She may not always make the right choices but she goes with her gut and she'll fight to the death for the people cares about. Ever since she was attacked by a creature straight out of our nightmares she has been training with her mentor Addison Hatta learning how to protect humanity from the creatures of Wonderland. It's not easy juggling school and homework with being a warrior, especially when her overprotective mother wants to know where she is every second of the day, but she does her best to balance all the balls she's juggling.

I think one of the things I loved most about this story was that Alice's mother was in the picture and constantly nagging her about missing curfew or sneaking out at night. So many YA books have absent parents who don't seem to have a clue what their kids are up to so it was nice to see the opposite here. I actually felt really sorry for Alice's mother and if I had a kid like Alice they would drive me insane constantly disappearing on me but at the same time it wasn't easy for Alice to keep such huge secrets from her mother either. I'm hoping in the next book (there's got to be a next one right?!) that she'll let her mum in on what's going on, I think she's going to have to if she wants to explain her latest absence. This story is full of fantastical elements but is also really grounded in the real world which I liked.

A Blade so Black has just enough elements of the original story to excite Alice in Wonderland fans but not so many that it's boring to read, I thought L.L. McKinney hit the balance perfectly there and I really enjoyed the way she made so many nods to the original but took characters we already know and love and still managed to make them her own. Hatta and Maddi were particular favourites (although I wish Maddi had spoken in riddles for the entire story!) but I also loved the Tweedle twins and many others too. There's plenty of action, lots of diverse and wonderful characters and great world building so I'm definitely hoping to see more of these characters in the future. The way it ended there just has to be a sequel & if there is it's definitely going to be at the top of my wish list!

Source: Received from Titan Books in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
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