A huge thank you to Aimee, Always for organising the tour and L.L McKinney for providing a copy of the book. For my stop I’ll be talking about the book, a guest post by McKinney and a giveaway for a finished copy of the book at the end of this post.
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Published: 25th September, 2018.
Publisher: Imprint (Macmillan)
Rate: 4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
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.
A Blade So Black is a retelling of Alice in Wonderland, and I have come to the realization that I love retellings. I find them fascinating and more often than not they answer the question ‘What If…’ and A Blade So Black does that perfectly. I find it difficult to find a relatable character in fantasy books, in terms of looks mostly. So I felt represented while reading the book and that was a huge plus for me. I loved the world building, the descriptions of the underworld are vivid and quite imaginative that at some point I actually believed that it’s a real place. McKinney writes beautifully and the prose flows really well I found myself done with the book in two days. The book is action packed from the first sentence and it grabs your attention.
What I didn’t like was halfway through the book, the story starts dragging for a few chapters and it get really confusing. That, however, didn’t takeaway from my enjoyment of the book and I got through it. The twists and turns felt really predictable, so the surprising/shocking factor didn’t really work (on me) and it was a let down.
About The Author
Leatrice “Elle” McKinney, writing as L.L McKinney, is a poet and active member of the kidlit community. She’s an advocate for equality and inclusion in publishing, and the creator of the hash tag#WhatWoCWritersHear. She’s spent time in the slush by serving as a reader for agents and participating as the judge in various online writing contests.
Elle’s also a gamer, Blerd, and adamant Hei Hei stan, living in Kansas, surrounded by more nieces and nephews than she knows what to do with. Aside from rockin’ the Favorite Aunt thing, she spends her free time plagued by her cat – Sir Chester Fluffmire Boopsnoot Purrington Wigglebottom Flooferson III, esquire, Baron o’Butterscotch or #SirChester for short or defending the realm from the enemies of Azeroth. FOR THE HORDE.
I got to ask McKinney about her writing process and here is what she had to say.
What’s my writing process.
Like, how I write? How I plan?
It’s…kinda a hodgepodge of various things. I’m not really a plotter, and I’m not
really a pantser, I’m kinda in between. I’mma steal this from Dhonielle Clayton,
I’m a headlights writer. I can plan out a short distance, as far as I can see in my
headlights, then right to catch up. Then I rinse and repeat. The most I can plan
ahead for is about five to ten chapters. I usually know the main beats of the story
though, what I want to happen overall. But that’s very broad strokes, beginning,
middle, end type stuff. Sometimes the ending eludes me until I get there, and
most of the time the beginning changes after I’ve reached the end. Writing is
funny that way, at least for me.
As far as what happens when I sit down to write, I have a pretty set routine.
There are certain steps I take every single time and this sort of primes my mind
to be ready for the words. First, I make a cup of coffee, or buy a cup if I’m at a
café. The type doesn’t matter, but I’m a fan of chai lattes, pumpkin spice, and
caramel macchiatos. Also regular coffee, though doctored up a bit.
Then, coffee in hand, I settle in and pull up the playlist I plan on listening
too—each book/series has its own—or turn on the movie/TV show I’ll have going
for background noise. Usually something fantastical.
Next, I say a prayer. Every time. I ask for guidance, I ask for swift fingers and a
clear mind, I ask that my work end the end glorify Him, and I thank Him for all
he’s allowed me to do and accomplish up to this point and all He has planned for
me. Then, I write! Sometimes I manage a few hundred words an hour, a couple
thousand, or just a couple. All progress is forward progress, IMO.
Once the draft is finished, I’ll let it sit then come back to revise it, if I have time.
Sometimes it sits for a few days, sometimes it sits for a few weeks, it all depends
on what I’m able to do. If my schedule doesn’t allow for this, it goes off to my
editor. At the same time, it goes to my BETA readers and critique partners. I have
two sets of people who read my stories, fellow writers, and just regular readers
who read the kind of books I like to read and write.
After my writing buddies are finished looking it over, and I’ve made changes
based on their feedback, I turn it over to my BETAs, who read it without the rules
of being a writer getting in the way for them. After that, I look over everything one
more time, make sure the feedback I found beneficial is implemented, then send
it to my editor again. Then we’ll go back and forth, and maybe I’ll rope my writing
friends and BETAs in again, if there’s time.
And that’s pretty much it! It varies from book to book, of course. Some books I
might plot more than others, what counts as plotting for me anyway. Some books
might have seven other pairs of eyes on it before it goes to my editor. Some
might only have one other pair of eyes, or maybe none, it all depends.
This process, my process, works for me.
For The Giveaway
You’ll get one finished copy of A Blade So Black. Unfortunately this is US only. (publisher terms) The giveaway ends on October 4th.
To enter just click here
If you want to check out the other tour stops you check this tour schedule
Do you like retellings? What’s your favourite?