A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney | The Disappointment is SO REAL

Posted October 31, 2018 by Sophia
11 Comments

A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney | The Disappointment is SO REAL

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A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney | The Disappointment is SO REALA Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney
A Blade So Black #1
Other Books: A Blade So Black
Published by Imprint on September 25, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher


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 a curfew.

Life in real-world Atlanta isn't always so simple, as Alice juggles an overprotective mom, a high-maintenance best friend, and a slipping GPA. Keeping the Nightmares at bay is turning into a full-time job. 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 author/publisher provided a free copy of the book for review purposes - thank you! Receiving a review copy does not guarantee a positive review and therefore do not affect the opinion or content of the review.

When I first heard of A Blade So Black, I got excited.

And I mean super excited! Here we have a book that features a black protagonist (we need more POC retellings!) who kicks butt like Buffy the vampire slayer and a retelling of Alice in Wonderland (which I should I get to one day but probably won’t happen).

But L.L. McKinney’s debut novel turned out to be a big bummer.

I didn’t hate it, but I very much could not get past 40% of the book – in fact, I suffered more than I should because I hoped the book would get a lot better later. But it didn’t get any better.

The writing style didn’t suit me.

I think this is another “it’s not you, it’s me,” but omg the writing made me want to sleep more than continuing the book. I found watching the 2018 reboot of “Meteor Garden” more interesting and probably watched an episode or two for every chapter that bored me to tears.

The concept is amazing.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets in Alice in Wonderland in a modern day setting? Hellooooo, please sign me up. This book spells dark and ominous and I definitely got that vibe while reading what I did.

But it was just sooo boring.

I checked out of the book by Chapter Four (but I tried to stay with the rest of the book, I swear!). Wonderland is full of action, but it was the same thing over and over again and got repetitive. Alice is juggling being a Dreamwalker, who can destroy the Nightmares that come from Wonderland, while being an ordinary student with a life, but it was all the same thing over and over again. It never really picked up.

Sophia is a socially awkward Communications major who has a GIF for nearly everything and is frequently in a Hogwarts House Crisis. More of her bookish reviews can be found at The Arts STL.

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11 responses to “A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney | The Disappointment is SO REAL

  1. Too bad you didn’t like it. It does sounds like it was a good idea. And you’re right, we need more diversity in the fantasy/sci-fi genre.

  2. Okay now that that is out of the way…

    I am sorry this one didn’t work for you. I was really excited about this concept as you know I am OBSESSED with BtVS and this sounds perfect in concept but not great execution.

  3. Oh no, that is disappointing. With the synopsis one would think that it did have a lot of action. I think I will avoid this one, slow and boring are not for me. Great review.

  4. Awwww I checked this one out of the library with similar feelings to yours – I mean, COME ON, that BLURB SOUNDS SO GOOD – and somehow I never got around to reading it and had to return it. Sounds like I didn’t end up missing much, though! Thanks for sharing such a lovely review!