Tavia is a buster, working off debts to the Kingpin of her realm, and thus selling magic to oft unscrupulous folks. One of her best friends is Wesley, who was also an orphan with her, but has now risen to be the Underboss of their region. Wesley has a domineering personality with some complexity that causes him to the lead the charge on this quest. Saxony also works for the Kingpin through Wesley, but for her own purposes. She still cares for Karam, a great warrior- and ex-girlfriend- who wants to protect her.
Together, the four embark on a dangerous and magical journey to stop the person in charge of distributing a dangerous new black magic that has the power to destroy everyone who touches it.
What I loved: The character-building here was the strongest element. Although the beginning of the book is a little slow to get going, the ending was magnificent with all the action/adventure, magic, and everything you could want (also a cliffhanger). Each of the four main characters was really fleshed out with flaws and all so that they felt completely real. I also loved the diversity in skin tone and in LGBT representation, with a romance! Although the romances took the backseat to the action, they were a really strong element in this book, and I really want to see where they go in future books. This book is one you have to read closely as there is a lot of detail and much of it is important as you go through. I absolutely already want to give it a reread to try to catch more, and I am so excited for the second book in this series.
What left me wanting more: This world seemed really unique to me, and I would love to get some history and more background to the way things are. We get some pieces here and there, but it didn't go in depth as I would have liked.
Final verdict: Absolutely enthralling with amazing characters, INTO THE CROOKED PLACE is a series that I definitely want to follow. While the character-building takes the charge in this book, I would love more history in future books. Highly recommend for fans of epic fantasy, action/adventure, magic, and romance.