Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 567
A subversive, epic sequel in a must-read series
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
*This review contains spoilers for book one, A BLADE SO BLACK*

A DREAM SO DARK, sequel to A BLADE SO BLACK, follows where the first book left off: Alice is in deep trouble with her mom, Hatta is on the verge of Madness, and the evil coming from Wonderland is still a mystery. There is so much to love in A DREAM SO DARK, from the action-packed plot, the deeper world building, and the mystery.

Being a Dreamwalker and having to go in and out of Wonderland where time is wonky, Alice is constantly disappearing, not answering calls, and generally scaring her mom to high levels of worry. Alice is torn between telling her mom the truth and possibly putting her in danger (or her mom disbelieving her entirely). I love how their relationship is always a central part to the story: two family members who love each other dearly and would do anything to protect the other. As the danger in Alice's secret world increases, she will have to decide sooner rather than later what to tell her mom.

While there were a few times I struggled to understand what was happening plot wise, by the end, we get a good explanation of what's going on and, importantly, what no one understands yet. Through the twists and turns in the plot, we are introduced to more areas of Wonderland and more information on the other Gates. There is so much rich world building in this story that I continuously found myself hoping we'll get several more installments in this series just to learn more about McKinney's Wonderland and to get to know the new characters better. I've never been a big fan of the original Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, but McKinney's take on Wonderland and the complex, lovable characters she creates in this series have made me at least appreciate the original for being part of this series's inspiration.

While romance takes a back seat to the adventure, the romance(s) is so well done that I can't not comment on it. The central and secondary casts are primarily queer, and Alice has multiple romantic interests. A BLADE SO BLACK alludes to more of a love triangle, but truly, the trope is subverted in this series. Alice doesn't spend significant amounts of time worrying which person she likes the most. She's occupied with saving the world (multiple times) that, while she definitely has feelings for some people, she doesn't have the time to focus or explore them too deeply. There's just enough romance to add in swoons, butterflies, some drama, and set up the potential for more in future books. (And to clarify, romance is in no way treated as anything 'lesser' or unattainable in this series. Just not something there is room to resolve yet).

A DREAM SO DARK takes everything I loved in A BLADE SO BLACK (Wonderlandian adventures, kick-butt fight scenes, hilarious dialogue, and a top notch cast of characters) and multiples it by ten. This is a series you can sink into and stay awhile, and I hope we get more sequels!
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

Comments

Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

The Twin
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
After their parents divorced, 10-year-old twins Ivy and Iris were...
Devil Darling Spy
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
It's 1940, and Sarah Goldstein is hiding in plain sight...
The Life Below
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
It was hard enough for Naomi to leave Leo, a...
Mr Penguin and the Fortress of Secrets (Mr Penguin #2)
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Meet Mr. Penguin―Adventurer (And Penguin!) When Mr. Penguin...
Famous by Default
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Jax Buried, By my family's fame. Dying to escape...
Sword and Pen (Great Library Book, #5)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
With the future of the Great Library in doubt,...
Butterfly Yellow
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
Perfect for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo, Ibi Zoboi, and...
Jonny Lambert's Construction Site
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A beautifully illustrated book for babies featuring lots of noisy...
Pop-Up Peekaboo! Baby Animals
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Take your toddler on a rain forest adventure and find...
Seven Deadly Shadows
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Seventeen-year-old Kira Fujikawa has never had it easy. She’s...
Pet
Pet
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
The highly-anticipated, genre-defying new novel by award-winning author Akwaeke...
Gray (The Wings Trilogy, #3)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The long anticipated finale to the Wings Trilogy. ...
Black (The Wings Trilogy, #2)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
"I was the weak link in the chain, and the...
Two Worlds of Redemption (Two Worlds, #3)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Finally presented to the Allinan public, Maray’s life at court...
Two Worlds of Oblivion (Two Worlds, #2)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The blood that holds the power to change the fate...
Two Worlds of Provenance (Two Worlds, #1)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Her fate lies just one world away… ...

Latest Member Reviews

To All The Boys I've Loved Before
 
4.0
"This is one of the very few times I will ever say this but here we go.... I preferred the..."
My True Love Gave To Me
 
4.3
"I admit that I’m not a big anthology fan. I find the stories in them are hit and miss. ‘My..."
P.S. I Still Love You
 
5.0
"all i can feel about this book is envy... this book is just written so well. it still has the..."
To All The Boys I've Loved Before
 
4.7
"i'm finally done! i read this with a very slow start which i think is becoming a routine for me...."
My True Love Gave To Me
 
4.3
"Christmas has to be one of my all-time favorite holidays. I also love short story anthologies. Put the..."
To All The Boys I've Loved Before
 
4.0
"Lara Jen Covey has a secret. She writes letters to the boys she’s crushing on, seals them, and hides them..."
To All The Boys I've Loved Before
 
5.0
"I ended up finishing it in one night. I was immediately in love with this book. To all the boys..."
To All The Boys I've Loved Before
 
3.3
" Favorite Quotes: • “I don’t have to be so afraid of good-bye, because good-bye doesn’t have..."
P.S. I Still Love You
 
4.3
"MY THOUGHTS I adored the first book! It was the perfect contemporary, but thee ending just wasn't an ending! I..."
P.S. I Still Love You
 
4.0
"Adjusting to real dating after fake dating is a harder change than both Lara Jean and Peter expected. With old..."
Burn for Burn (Burn for Burn #1)
 
5.0
"I love Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian, and so when I saw this I could not contain my joy. This..."
Burn for Burn (Burn for Burn #1)
 
3.7
"I love revenge stories. There’s just something so liberating about exacting your revenge upon someone who has wronged you –..."
Burn for Burn (Burn for Burn #1)
 
3.0
"Why I Loved It: At the risk of being cliche, revenge has never been so sweet. I read..."
The Summer I Turned Pretty
 
4.3
"This book is another one that sat on my shelf ever since July 2012 and I wish I read it..."
Burn for Burn (Burn for Burn #1)
 
2.7
"I'm sad to say I'm a little disappointed after finihing urn for Burn. With all the hype surrounding the author..."
Burn for Burn (Burn for Burn #1)
 
3.7
"I decided to switch things up a bit from my normal reading this month, and try Burn for Burn ..."
Burn for Burn (Burn for Burn #1)
 
4.3
"Boys are just familiar with it. Girls know it. And that's why they do it better. Three girls, three stories,..."
Burn for Burn (Burn for Burn #1)
 
3.0
"Who has time for Karma to work her magic? Definitely not the leading ladies in Burn For Burn. Told in..."
Burn for Burn (Burn for Burn #1)
 
2.7
" Jenny Han has always been one of my favorite authors. I often find myself reaching for her Summer series..."
Burn for Burn (Burn for Burn #1)
 
4.3
"Wow. This is a pretty intense read. I mean...when I got done with the book, I sort of stared at..."