Into the Crooked Place begins a gritty two-book YA fantasy series from Alexandra Christo, the author of To Kill a Kingdom. The streets of Creije are for the deadly and the dreamers, and four crooks in particular know just how much magic they need up their sleeve to survive. Tavia, a busker ready to pack up her dark-magic wares and turn her back on Creije for good. She’ll do anything to put her crimes behind her. Wesley, the closest thing Creije has to a gangster. After growing up on streets hungry enough to swallow the weak whole, he won’t stop until he has brought the entire realm to kneel before him. Karam, a warrior who spends her days watching over the city’s worst criminals and her nights in the fighting rings, making a deadly name for herself. And Saxony, a resistance fighter hiding from the very people who destroyed her family, and willing to do whatever it takes to get her revenge. Everything in their lives is going to plan, until Tavia makes a crucial mistake: she delivers a vial of dark magic―a weapon she didn’t know she had―to someone she cares about, sparking the greatest conflict in decades. Now these four magical outsiders must come together to save their home and the world, before it’s too late. But with enemies at all sides, they can trust nobody. Least of all each other.
Into the Crooked Place (Into the Crooked Place, #1)Featured
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.