A Blade So Black

A Blade So Black

Book - 2018
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"This isn't 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. "--Dust jacket.
Publisher: New York : Imprint, [2018]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781250153906
Characteristics: 370 pages ; 22 cm


From Library Staff

While it is usually a beautiful escape, travel to this Wonderland is currently not recommended. The Nightmares are getting out of control and our exterminator is a little overwhelmed.

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
JCLChrisK Oct 26, 2019

Interesting mythology and lots of good action. The characters' reactions to their situations didn't always ring true to me, too much was explained through exposition instead of events and interactions, and the plotting could have been better, plus I think it missed the mark in incorporating Carroll's Wonderland--not nearly enough whimsy and nonsense (which can be made to menace if needed); it had the wrong tone and feel. That aside, I enjoyed the adventure, was caught up in the drama, and felt for the characters. It was a nice diversion.

sjpl_rebekah Aug 26, 2019

This book wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t really my cup of tea. It was sort of Alice in Wonderland meets The Mortal Instruments meets Social Justice Warrior.

The author was clever in how she wove the aspects of the original tale into her adaptation, which is why I thought it was an OK read. Unfortunately, many of the hot button issues that were addressed in the story such as race relations and violence were not fully fleshed out and I was bothered by the occasionally prejudiced dialogue, the selfish characters, and the anti-law enforcement undertones.

I will, however, note that many of the elements I found to be problematic are mostly in the first half of the book. The second half of the book is, in my opinion, a much more enjoyable read than the first half. I initially thought I would be rating this book with two stars, but it went up to three as I neared the end of the book. I believe this is McKinney’s debut novel, so I imagine her character/plot development and pacing will continue to improve in any subsequent books in this series.

I did listen to this book in audiobook format, and although I thought that the various voices chosen by the performer worked for the characters, I thought that she had some difficulty with transitioning between those voices. At times this was confusing, but overall I liked the cadence of her voice and thought she did a good job.

JCLAndrewE Jun 19, 2019

Interesting Premise and twist to the old "Alice in Wonderland" tale but the motivations of the main characters were absurd to the point that I had to stop reading. I don't care if you're a teen, you don't end up nearly dead and in a days long coma caused by an evil force of nature who beat and mangled your body, then wake up only to go begging for forgiveness to your "best friend" for missing their birthday. It's contrived. I'm also tired of the "I'm a teen girl, and my main love interest is an ancient dude who just happens to look like a teen" trope. It was creepy in Twilight, and is still creepy now. Finally, the thing feels like a mild rip-off of Frank Beddor's Looking Glass Wars (though I can't say if holds out for the rest of the book), especially the use of the "Mad Hatter" character as a swashbuckling bodyguard type. I will say it was nice to see some multi-racial representation in literature, I just wish it had been in a better book.

JessicaGma Mar 27, 2019

I have to agree with the TEENREVIEWBOARD in that the story started off solid and was going places, but then fizzled. Kudos for the Alice retelling and the nods to the classic, but it just needed a touch more to be pure magic.

Feb 07, 2019

When I first saw the book’s cover, I was stunned. It’s cool the author made sure to show an actual fully-black girl on the cover to depict the character- black representation really matters. Anyway, long story short, I bought the book then went home to read it. It started out pretty well, but plummeted almost entirely downhill afterwards. It claims to be a retelling of the Alice in Wonderland but it just seems like yet another Teen Fantasy novel. The story had the potential to be wholesome- it needed to be told by a different writer I suppose. At least there were some funny bits in it that gave me a few laughs. Well, that’s just my verdict- give the novel a read and develop yours! 2.5/5 Stars. @Bloop of the Hamilton Public Library Teen Review Board

arapahoeshirmeca Dec 10, 2018

A modern and urban extension of the Alice in Wonderland story. Allison is a street-wise teenager who has to deal with loss, coming of age, and the attempting to save the world while making curfew and not upsetting her momma.
Great storytelling and good action.

Nov 29, 2018

I loved this book! Loved it so much that I’m writing a review and that’s not usually my thing. Alice is Black Girl Magic to the max! She’s the definition of bada**. Even with her doubts of her abilities and what’s she capable of, she still manages to get the job done. Pushing herself and never giving up. Her loyalty to her friends and those she loves is what drove her and is a major part of the story. I enjoyed this spin on Alice in Wonderland and the author paints a vivid world that I’m excited to see more of in the next books in the series. This is one of the best fantasies that I’ve read all year! A must read!

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Nov 11, 2018

An entertaining extension of the Alice in Wonderland world for teens. Good fun!

OPL_KrisC Apr 26, 2018

An Alice in Wonderland retelling with an urban twist.


Add Age Suitability
OPL_KrisC Apr 26, 2018

OPL_KrisC thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at GRPL

To Top