ARC Review: A Blade So Black

A Blade So Black


If you ever want to talk about a book that was an absolute struggle to get through, pull up a chair and get cozy because we’ll talk about this book. And you better clear your calendar beforehand because it will be a long conversation.

Short recap: Alice in Wonderland retelling but Alice is a POC and has Buffy-like responsibilities. What more do you need to know?

Here is the biggest thing to know about this story: disappointing. I was so excited for this as it was a fairy tale retelling and who doesn’t love those? So why was this such a rough story? Number one: the writing was choppy, unstructured, confusing, and just all around bad. Number two: unoriginal take on the well known plot. It was boring. Number three: so many inconsistencies within the storyline itself. Number four: no development or explanation or backstory or anything. I will elaborate a little further…

The writing had absolutely no clear structure to it. Instead of the words flowing and pulling the reader (me) into the story, it felt like a metric ton of sentence fragments. Picture interrupted thoughts strung together in the hopes that it just makes sense. There were no similes, no creative descriptions. This was a hard core case of the author telling the reader (me) what was going on instead of showing me. I’m not a fan of that.

The overall storyline was just not that original. I can see what the author was trying to do but failed big time. With the writing style being as choppy as it was, it made it that much harder for me to really understand what was going on – ergo – I didn’t care about the actual story. What a shame.

The inconsistencies peppered throughout the entire story left me with a headache. The reader (me) was told in the beginning of the story about some big fight scene (remember – the writing simply told me a fight took place so I couldn’t picture it) but apparently that first chapter took place several months after the prologue but it was not ever stated. I just had to come to that conclusion on my own. HUH? The reader (me) was never given the backstory on Alice’s training, I just had to go along with whatever was written. That’s difficult to do when I’m told  how much of a badass Alice was but never given any true reason to believe it. I didn’t see any of her history. Again, I’m not a fan of that writing style.

The author tried to keep some of the original Alice in Wonderland characters in this story but they were weak as weak could be. There was a set of Tweedle twins but they were given to us in the form of Russian Nightmare slayers … so… yeah. I did not buy that for one hot minute. None of the characters were handled well at all, let alone portrayed in a way that did them justice.

I kept wanting to DNF this because it was just all over bad. The cover is very pretty and the blurb was brilliantly written, but the entire execution was not good. This story needed to be reedited several more times because it was lacking in every possible way.



7 thoughts on “ARC Review: A Blade So Black

  1. Oh dang, I hate it when retellings just butcher all of the great things about the original story. This sounds like the author was trying too hard but didn’t really know how to transform the original story. It stinks too, because I was actually looking forward to this one… Great review, Sara!


  2. I’m sad this didn’t work out well, I had it on my TBR and was excited for a WOC lead in an Alice retelling, but from what I’ve read, the consensus is it was a bit of a fail 😦


  3. I love and crave fairy tale retellings like air to breathe, but hot damn if I don’t hate books that tell rather than show. I’ll probably not pick this up now. Plus, I have some other retellings that sounds better now that reviews are out. Thanks for sharing. ☺


      1. I am reading a book now that completely shows you everything, got so lost I read more than half of it in one sitting. Comes out today – Hot Pursuit by Kay Marie. (Gonna add a review later today). ☺


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