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A Blade So Black

A Blade So Black, Book 1
Narrated by: Jeanette Illidge
Length: 11 hrs and 17 mins
4 out of 5 stars (98 ratings)
Regular price: $32.19
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Publisher's Summary

A Blade So Black delivers an irresistible urban fantasy retelling of Alice in Wonderland...but it's not the Wonderland you remember.

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.

Debut author L. L. McKinney delivers an action-packed twist on an old classic, full of romance and otherworldly intrigue.

"Mixing elements of Alice in Wonderland and Buffy the Vampire Slayer...a delectable urban twist on beloved fairy tales." (Entertainment Weekly)

"An explosive, kickass debut...the Alice in Wonderland retelling the world has always needed." (Booklist)

"A thrilling, timely novel that ensures readers will be curiouser for a sequel." (Kirkus Reviews)

©2018 Leatrice McKinney (P)2018 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"With memorable characters and page-turning thrills, A Blade So Black is the fantasy book I've been waiting for my whole life. Alice is Black Girl Magic personified." (Angie Thomas, number-one New York Times best-selling author of The Hate U Give

"I loved the 'our world' framing and the 'other world' adventure so deeply. They were at such odds, but the overall effect was just chefkiss.gif perfect." (E. K. Johnston, number-one New York Times best-selling author of Star Wars: Ahsoka and A Thousand Nights

"Wholly original and absolutely thrilling - A Blade So Black kicks so much (looking gl)ass." (Heidi Heilig, author of The Girl from Everywhere

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

This book has EVERYTHING!!!

This book was amazing! I did not want to end, AT ALL! We need more novels like this, full of kickass black heroines in the world of fantasy!

Also, can this narrator get an Oscar please??? She made this book come alive!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Alice in wonderland meets Buffy

I thought the concept was unique and interesting. It hit all the YA staples but I appreciated the effort to incorporate Alice’s life in the real world and a different voice/perspective than the typical white main characters in popular YA fantasy. It reminded me a lot of Buffy the vampire slayer. I only wish Alice was more confident and badass like Buffy instead of questioning herself at every turn. I would have liked to see more time spent on the training and day to day balancing she did for a year instead of being told all of that by the narrator. Where does her mom think she is all the time?

The plot slowed a bit at a few points and I feel like the author struggled with the transitions/timing in the plot as well as secondary character development. But I am willing to give book 2 a try to see if she improves. Good first try and worth a listen.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Loved this

I love stories with great characters that are actually relatable people too. There is so much going on in this world. I want to hear more.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Quite Possibly the Best I've Listened to, Yet!!!!!

O. M. G. !!!!! First of all, WHERE have you been hiding this narrator?! She quite possibly rivals Tavia Gilbert in accents and tone. Please hire her for more books, IMMEDIATELY!!

Now, the story. I absolutely loved the plot, the twist on Alice in Wonderland, and the character development. I need both a great plot and good character development in my stories so I can feel a connection to them. I felt such a connection to these characters that I was literally crying at the end and scrambling with Google to figure out where I can get more of these books. September cannot come fast enough!

Alice. This connection I felt the deepest. Being able to read a book where the heroine looks like me is a feeling I can't express, except to say that it means the world to me. Like Alice, I have often been misunderstood, even bullied, for my love of comics, anime, and cosplay. Cosplaying is the best thing ever, and reading about how she created her costumes was so epically meta! The natural hair? I could just picture myself fighting nightmares. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALICE AND FOR SHOWING THAT WE CAN ALL BE STRONG, WE CAN ALL BE HEROINES, AND BEING DIFFERENT IS NOT SO BAD.

The third thing I need in my books is the setting and helping me picture it. The author does such a freaking good job of vivid descriptions of both Wonderland, the real world, and the characters that my mind could picture it all as if I was right there with them. Like I was watching it on TV.

And speaking of TV.... WHEN CAN WE GET THIS AS A NETFLIX SERIES??? I'm not joking. This story is TV material. Although they usually ruin books because nothing is as good as storytelling. So I ask this with some reserve that creators will miss the marketing and hire an actress that looks nothing like the heroine as described in the book because Hollywood hates diversity. I digress and kick away that soapbox!

Maybe not TV. But I desperately hope that the author or the voice actor or BOTH can come to DragonCon or MomoCon to sit on a panel or give autographs. After all, this book does take place in Atlanta. (Going to the Con websites, NOW!)

Yeah, so I am so very impressed and delighted with this book, the voice actor, and the potential for more to come from L. L. McKinney. Come on, girl - you and Jeanette Illidge make a GREAT team!!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Very interesting take on a classic

A Blade So Black was a fun read, and a great spin on the classic. You can definitely see the influences that the author was inspired by throughout the novel like Buffy, The Vampire Slayer and Sailor Moon. Great debut.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Loved this book

I really really enjoyed this book. This twist on the Alice in Wonderland story is so well done and well written. I cannot wait for the sequel.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Excellent fantasy adventure!

I loved the story & characters but struggled some staying connected through the early time jumps. Looking forward to the sequel!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • CC
  • 02-20-19

Fantasy and book boyfriends

First off, the cover is amazing. It features a beautiful black girl with hair I could only wish for. Secondly, the writing is fresh, light and perfect for someone looking for an escape. Fans of Alice in Wonderland will enjoy her unique take on the story. Mckinney colors the novel with plenty of social commentary, lest you forget that black folks are still black folks - even in fantasy novels. This fact makes the story relatable for those who are not big fantasy readers. Lastly, I have a new book boyfriend y’all! Bring on the mysterious Hatta! 🤤

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Hated it

I love the premise for this but the book itself just was not up to par. I really thought it would have worked better midi as a short story. I found Alice to be highly unlikable and the rest of the characters were extremely one dimensional. I had really high hopes for this but it fell very well below them so I do not recommend this book.

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Loved, Loved, Loved!

Alice is now one of my favorite female protagonists! Her love for Sailor moon is everything! I love a good fantasy novel and the fact that the story is from the perspective of a dark skinned American black girl is so refreshing!