A Blade So Black

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A Blade So Black Young Adult - Science Fiction/Paranormal

4 out of 5 stars

(1 Reviews)

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  • The Vorpal Blade went Snicker-Snack

    4 out of 5

    Written by , Posted on at 1:25:40 PM

    Alice is a girl suffering from her father’s death. Months have passed and she’s still not over it. But she goes through the motions and gives everybody the usual line: “I’m fine.” But Alice is also a warrior, trained in the use of magic blades and fighting demons called Nightmares. She’s a black version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and, like Buffy, she has capable if odd friends in her corner. With this setup, we get Ms. McKinney’s alternate and brilliant re-imagining of Carroll’s Wonderland, complete with a back story that is and isn’t what we know. Alice’s original entry into Wonderland was no dream but an inexplicable intrusion that caused her to make a royal friend and bring horrors into this strange realm. Now only mortals like Alice can deal with the eldritch creatures brought forth from it. The story pulls us into this new Wonderland with its own rules, characters and wonky time lapses. The Mad Hatter character is split into a woman who spouts the nonsense words we know from Carroll and a handsome boy hundreds of years old with changeable gemstone eyes straight out of “Brooding YA Hero” by Carrie Ann DiRisio. The Tweedledee and Tweedledum twins are here portrayed as mischievous Russian guys forever sparring with each other and ribbing Alice. The mortal component is aptly supplied by Chess and Court, a cheekily named boy and girl who have to deal with Alice’s excuses, absenteeism and scrambles to balance her home life and scholastic pursuits with the demands of dealing with demonic creatures. Alice also has a no-nonsense mother who is oblivious to her daughter’s other life and angry about Alice’s delinquent absences. Yep, definitely like Buffy. The novel is fast paced, intelligent, believable in its conversations and action-packed sequences, adept in contemporary lingo when Alice speaks with her friends and filled with surprises. I thought I’d figured out the secret identity of the new Black Knight but I was wrong. The ending of this volume pulls the rug right out from under you and sets the stage for future horror to come. Alice and her coterie will have their work cut out for them in dealing with a new threat. I for one can hardly wait for that important date.