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review 2018-10-06 11:00
A Blade So Black
A Blade So Black - L. L. McKinney

She shook the jitters from her hands. Slayer of fear itself, and she was worried about crossing her mom. With damn good reason, but still.

 

If you love Alice in Wonderland re-imaginings, and you love Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the thought of having a Watcher with a British accent in your corner makes you feel warm and squishy inside, but you think the cast was too white and straight and Buffy’s mom was The Worst, OH MY STARS IS THIS THE BOOK FOR YOU.

 

Alice is freaking awesome. She cosplays Sailor Moon and fights evil with Harry Potter memorabilia and is so kick-ass Buffy Summers could take lessons. She’s also a normal teenager trying to juggle school and friends and Nightmare slaying while dealing with some PTSD and an overprotective mother and the lingering grief from her father’s sudden passing. She’s complex, she’s flawed, she screws up, and she nearly kills herself trying to make it right, and I freaking love her. I’d like to think if I’d gone to school with her, she would’ve been in my D&D group. I also ♥ Courtney and her friendship with Alice. Chess, poor guy, did not make much of an impression on me. He just kind of Xander’d his way through the book, but there wasn’t really room for him to do more in between all the Alice alternately kicking ass and getting her ass kicked.

 

I’m super excited for the sequel, which I wish was coming out yesterday, because I have some predictions and wild guesses about a few plot points and I’m dying to know if I’m anywhere near the mark.

 

While I really enjoyed A Blade So Black, I did not get everything in this book, and I want to talk a little bit about why. I am reeeaaaally white, born and raised in a really white neighborhood in a really white city. I can count the number of black kids I went to school with, preschool through 12th grade, on one hand without running out of fingers. When Alice said stuff like “deeze” I had to stop and do some Googling because my experience with AAVE is limited to television, internet memes, and whatever words and phrases have been appropriated into the English lexicon. If publishing in general would get off its fossilized dinosaur arse and publish more books like this, books aimed at black kids without worrying whether a white audience gets it, that wouldn’t be an issue. Empathy and understanding are better achieved when books don’t force the reader to view POC through a white lens. I already know how I see stuff. I need to see other perspectives. And God knows kids of color need to see themselves. So get on it, publishing! *steps off soapbox*

 

I read this for the Halloween Bingo 2018 Diverse Voices square.

 

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url 2018-09-27 23:49
17 Fall Books We [*snicker* the publisher, TOR] Cannot Wait to Read
Vengeful - Victoria Schwab
A Blade So Black - L. L. McKinney
The Sisters of the Winter Wood - Rena Rossner
Source: www.tor.com/2018/09/20/17-fall-books-we-cannot-wait-to-read
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review 2017-01-05 00:00
Bright Blaze of Magic (Black Blade)
Bright Blaze of Magic (Black Blade) - Jennifer Estep I quite liked this third book in the trilogy and the ending of the story arc started in Cold Burn of Magic. There is plenty of action and adventure going on. The book starts with a big fight seemingly spelling the doom for the Sinclair family but Victor Draconi did not factor Lila and her friends into the equation. Minor spolier alert! One thing I like with this book is that the baddies actually get what they deserve and not a simple quick kill either but a nice showdown where we get to see, or rather read about, his surprise just before the end. I know, I know... I am sucker for happy endings.

The book does not have very many plot twists. A few mishaps are thrown in the way of Lila but generally it is a pretty straightforward adventure leading us to the, not entirely unpredictable, conclusion of the trilogy's overall story arc. As I wrote there is plenty of action and adventure as well as a wee bit of romance. The book pretty much follows the same style as the other two books in the series.

The writing is good in the usual Jennifer Estep style. Although the plot felt a bit more straight lined in this book it was certainly good enough. I quite liked the world building in all three books and the magical and monster filled world that the author have created. It has to be said though that most of the monsters were rather friendly creatures, at least if you paid them their tribute. Something the bad guys were been known not to do of course.

Overall the Black Blade trilogy was an enjoyable and relaxing read bringing me back to the adventure stories I used to read or watch when I was younger. A quite pleasant experience.
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review 2016-08-29 03:28
Review of "Bright Blaze of Magic" (Black Blade, #3) by Jennifer Estep
Bright Blaze of Magic (Black Blade) - Jennifer Estep

Well, mini-review anyway.  

 

This wraps up the trilogy nicely, pretty much as expected.  Enjoyed the read well enough but it never really got out of the mafia/mob family turf war territory despite the supernatural / paranormal elements.

 

Helluva good cover though.  Perfect for this book even if not matching still-er, more shadings of covers on rest of series.

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text 2016-08-28 03:35
Just starting
Bright Blaze of Magic (Black Blade) - Jennifer Estep
The Boleyn Deceit - Laura Andersen

And two more came thru library waiting list.  

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