SFX - - Reviews - Ed­die Rob­son

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Au­thor ll McKin­ney

Pub­lisher ti­tan books Alice’s Ad­ven­tures In Won­der­land is one of the most heav­ily-mined texts in fan­tasy fic­tion, its im­agery and set-pieces end­lessly bor­rowed – yet very rarely are any of the homages half as weird as the orig­i­nal. LL McKin­ney’s A Blade So Black is no ex­cep­tion, but it’s still a good novel. It’s about Alice, a black teenager in mod­ern-day At­lanta, who stum­bles upon the dream realm of Won­der­land – and, in a Buffy-style twist, is in­vited to help fight the mon­sters that come from there.

McKin­ney’s style is vivid and her plot­ting is deft: she starts with Alice’s first meet­ing with her men­tor from Won­der­land, Ad­di­son Hatta, but skips over all the busi­ness of com­ing to terms with the ex­is­tence of this world, tak­ing us straight to a point where Alice is all trained up and split­ting her time be­tween hunt­ing mon­sters and try­ing to live a nor­mal teenage life. But then the night­mare crea­tures that cross over from Won­der­land to the hu­man world start to be­come mys­te­ri­ously stronger...

The only lin­ger­ing doubt is that the Lewis Car­roll con­nec­tion doesn’t add very much to a well-re­alised fan­tasy world with an in­ter­est­ing mythol­ogy of its own; it could eas­ily have been a suc­cess­ful stand­alone novel. Still, the Won­der­land im­agery gives the book an ex­tra hook – plus more ma­te­rial to mine for any fu­ture se­quels.

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