Published by Imprint on September 25, 2018
Series: The Nightmare-Verse #1
Genres: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic
Source: eARC from 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.
A Blade So Black is the first book in the young adult fantasy reimagining series called The Nightmare-Verse by L.L. McKinney. A Blade so black is an urban fantasy reimagining of Alice in Wonderland, with some kick butt Buffy the Vampire Slayer vibes thrown in. This book was a lot of fun and was as equal parts paying homage to Alice as it was putting it’s own spin on the tale. I loved the Urban fantasy setting versus the traditional wonderland setting. This book was really interesting and I am certainly interested in continuing the series.
In A Blade So Black we meet our Alice, who lives in Atlanta. I loved the Atlanta setting for this wonderland. I think an Urban twist on the story was brilliant, and really added to my opinion that there are major Buffy vibes in this story, which I totally dug. I love a kick butt Alice! Alice fights and banishes Nightmares, which come from the magical dream realm known as Wonderland. I thought the nightmare element was a really cool addition to the series. I will admit that at times I found Alice annoying, but I liked her enough that I am super interested to see what kind of character growth and progression she will have throughout the series. There is some romance as well as a love triangle, but all of that felt kind of secondary to the overall plot. I am not sure if it will become more of a main feature in the next books, but I am excited to see if it does. I kind of want it to, because I am not sure what I think about the romance as it stands right now.
As for the plot- it was also pretty cool, though at times I was overloaded with details and information and I felt a bit overwhelmed and lost. As I kept reading, things became less confusing for me but I did find the writing style a bit jarring for me. I’m not sure if it was done on purpose because things are always a bit wonky in wonderland, but I didn’t connect with the plot as much as I wanted to because of this. Overall, I enjoyed A Blade So Black. I loved this take on wonderland and Alice and I really enjoyed the fight element. I think this book will be perfect for fans of Buffy, fans of Alice retellings and fans of Urban Fantasy in general. This was a good start to an interesting series. And plus side- book two is also already out so you can continue on if you are fan of The Nightmare-Verse.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2020 Retellings Reading Challenge
- 2020 Tackle My TBR Reading Challenge
- ARCtober 2020