A Blade So Black

The Nightmare-Verse #1

L.L. McKinney

fiction fantasy young adult
adventurous medium-paced

384 pages | first published 2018

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.

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summary of 766 ratings (see reviews)

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adventurous 97%
emotional 42%
mysterious 40%
tense 35%
dark 31%
funny 22%
inspiring 12%
lighthearted 12%
challenging 9%
sad 7%
hopeful 5%
reflective 3%
relaxing 1%


fast 49%
medium 48%
slow 2%

Plot- or character-driven?

Plot: 54% | A mix: 45%

Strong character development?

Yes: 44% | It's complicated: 27% | No: 26% | N/A: 1%

Loveable characters?

Yes: 66% | It's complicated: 30% | No: 2%

Diverse cast of characters?

Yes: 95% | It's complicated: 4%

Flaws of characters a main focus?

Yes: 66% | No: 16% | It's complicated: 15% | N/A: 1%

Average rating