A Blade So Black by L. L. McKinney

Published by


Cover of A Blade So Black by L. L. McKinney


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.


This story had me hooked from the beginning. It is an Alice in Wonderland retelling, and you can see the similarities but aren’t necessarily conscious of them, because this story stands for itself. If you’ve never read the Wonderland stories, or don’t know of Alice in Wonderland, you will still absolutely love this story.

A Blade So Black is the first book of the Nightmare-verse series by L. L. McKinney. This does a good job of setting things up and hooking the reader quickly. You will be captivated from page 1.

Alice is still in high school, and she kicks nightmare ass without her Mom knowing what she is doing. Thankfully she has her friend Courtney to help with excuses for Alice’s Mom. Except, due to craziness in Wonderland, Alice, misses an important event with Courtney. The two friends then have some tension, which also leads to some issues for Alice with her Mom. The excuses get kind of shaky, and Alice’s Mom is no dummy.

I enjoy following Alice, and have held my breath many times because of situations she finds herself in. I’m honestly between Alice and Hatta, as far as who is my favorite character. Hatta finds a young Alice in the very beginning of the story, and decides to train her to fight the nightmares. His problem with this, is Alice is hard on her weapons. This could also be because there seem to be more nightmares than in the past. It also means Alice has to be strategic at times in her fighting.

I truly recommend A Blade So Black to any Fantasy lover. I’ve already picked up the next book of the trilogy, A Dream So Dark. If this keeps up, I think L. L. McKinney will be a new favorite author.