Sep 9, 2019

DNF Review--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.

Well, I suppose it was inevitable that I would end up DNFing L.L. McKinney's A Blade So Black. Everyone I know who read it, ended up DNFing it too. I went into it with an open mind though. I love fairy tale retellings, I love anything close to Buffy, two things that this book spoke high of having. And yet...I just didn't click with this one.

I know my Monday post says I was starting it today, well, since I took today off I decided I would start it last night just to see if I liked it before I spent most of the day reading it. And I got just past the 50 page mark when I just had to quit.

Firstly, the first 30 pages was a pre-prologue and then a prologue. I saw pre-prologue which sounds like an oxymoron, but I get what people were saying about the "time jump." The story starts with Alice being introduced to her first nightmare and Addison Hatta. Then we jump to three months later after Alice has had some training and goes to the Wonderland type place where the Nightmares are created from all the dreaming people. It's her job to stop them from crossing into her world.

Then we jump to one year later. It's a little discombobulating to say the least. I mean, I basically read a 30+ page prologue and I remember when I did a writer's course with an author, she had told us prologues aren't necessary. Start the story where it's meant to begin and if you have to have said prologue, no more than 10 pages. Granted, this doesn't happen all the time with every author, but I kind of get what she meant to tell us as aspiring writers. 30+ pages of information that doesn't matter to the story at large was exhausting. Yet, I still tried giving the book a chance.

But then a few comments on race kept coming up in a conversation and for whatever reason it rubbed me the wrong way. Not to mention the fact that I felt like we were constantly being reminded of the race of every single character we came across at least once a chapter. I felt like more time should have been spent on telling the story instead of focusing on character appearances.

And that was as about as far as I got into the story. I don't think I ever even hit on the plot of what was meant to happen because too much time was spent in the past and then just an average day in Alice's life as she contemplated what she was doing in secret every night. I had so wanted to like this book despite seeing everyone else DNFing it, but it seems I felt victim to the DNFing as well.

I would still recommend this book to other readers should they be fans of Alice in Wonderland, retellings, and of course Buffy! But keep in mind it's a slower pace and you've got about 30+ pages in the beginning that didn't seem to have an effect of the main plot. If you're fine with the slower paced novel then I would say you would have zero issues with this one! Sadly, it just wasn't my cup of tea as I need something a little most faster paced or least build into a quicker pace a little, well, quicker.

No rating, as I don't rate DNF books.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't mind the topics of race and was happy that it was talked about frankly (especially in 2019) but that time jump was killer, it took me out of the book almost immediately.


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