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.
In L. L. McKinney's A Dream So Dark, the thrilling sequel to A Blade So Black, Alice goes deeper into a dark version of Wonderland.
Still reeling from her recent battle (and grounded until she graduates high school), Alice must cross the Veil to rescue her friends and stop the Black Knight once and for all. But the deeper she ventures into Wonderland, the more topsy-turvy everything becomes. It’s not until she’s at her wits end that she realizes—Wonderland is trying to save her.
There’s a new player on the board; a poet capable of using Nightmares to not only influence the living but raise the dead. This Poet is looking to claim the Black Queen’s power—and Alice's budding abilities—as their own.
Dreams have never been so dark in Wonderland, and if there is any hope of defeating this mystery poet’s magic, Alice must confront the worst in herself, in the people she loves, and in the very nature of fear itself.
L.L. McKinney is a writer, a poet, and an active member of the kidlit community. She’s an advocate for equality and inclusion in publishing and the creator of the hashtag #WhatWoCWritersHear. She’s spent time in the slush by serving as a reader for agents and by participating as a judge in various online writing contests. She’s also a gamer girl and an adamant Hei Hei stan. Follow her on Twitter @ElleOnWords or visit her site at llmckinney.com.
"With memorable characters and page-turning thrills, The Nightmare-Verse is the fantasy series I've been waiting for my whole life. Alice is Black Girl Magic personified."
—Angie Thomas, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The Hate U Give
"The Alice I never knew I needed. The Alice I was missing. McKinney conjures a Wonderland for those of us who weren’t given the looking glass"
—Dhonielle Clayton, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The Belles
"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, #1 New York Times-bestselling 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
"Mixing elements of Alice in Wonderland and Buffy the Vampire Slayer... a delectable urban twist on beloved fantasy tales." —Entertainment Weekly
"This really is Lewis Carroll by way of Buffy, and it makes for a fun, gritty urban fantasy." —NPR
"A dark, thrilling fantasy-meets-contemporary story with a kickass heroine." —Bustle
"Retold fairy tales have been a popular trend... but you’ve never read one quite like A Blade So Black." —Nerdist
"An action-packed twist on an old classic, full of romance and otherworldly intrigue." —The Mary Sue
"A brash, refreshing, vitally diverse retelling of a classic... You need this book." —Tor.com
"A Blade So Black is a novel that roars mightily in the face of all those Wonderland tales that have come before. L.L. McKinney is on her way to someplace special with this debut; get onboard now." —Locus magazine
"This isn't a retelling, this is Alice in Wonderland 2.0." —BlackSci-Fi.com
"An epic about Black Girl Magic." —We Need Diverse Books blog
* "An explosive, kickass debut... The Alice in Wonderland retelling the world has always needed." —Booklist, starred review
"Relentless action, spiraling stakes, and a fierce heroine... A heartbreaking cliffhanger will leave fans clamoring for a sequel." —Publishers Weekly
"A thrilling, timely novel that ensures readers will be curious for a sequel." —Kirkus Reviews
"With a modern flair, a rich backstory, and just enough emotional heft, this particular looking glass will have readers eagerly falling through it." —The Bulletin
"Teens will root for Alice as a strong, multidimensional black girl usually unseen in YA fiction... A must-purchase." —School Library Journal
"A Blade So Black is a modernized version of a well-known story that retains enough of the original to be lauded by both fans of the classic and readers wholly new to Wonderland." —Shelf Awareness