ARC Review // Into the Crooked Place by Alexandra Christo

Magic rules the city of Creije Capital and Tavia Syn knows just how many tricks she needs up her sleeve to survive. Selling dark magic on the streets for her kingpin, she keeps clear of other crooks, counting the days until her debt is paid and she can flee her criminal life.

But then, one day, with her freedom in sight, Tavia uncovers a sinister plot that threatens to destroy the realm she calls home. Desperate to put an end to her kingpin’s plan, Tavia forms an unlikely alliance with three crooks even more deadly than her:

– Wesley, the kingpin’s prodigy and most renewed criminal in the realm

– Karam, an underground fighter with a penchant for killing first and forgetting to ask questions

– And Saxony, a Crafter in hiding who will stop at nothing to avenge her family

With the reluctant saviours assembled, they embark on a quest to put an end to the dark magic before it’s too late. But even if they can take down the kingpin and save the realm, the one thing they can’t do is trust each other.

Thanks to Hot Key Books for sending me a proof copy of Into the Crooked Place! 

It seems like gangster fantasies full of misfits are one of the latest YA trends, and yes, I love them along with everyone else. After loving Alexandra Christo’s To Kill a Kingdom, I was really excited for Into the Crooked Place and so happy to have been able to read and review it early!

Although it felt as though it took me a while to really get to know them, I did find that I could connect with all of the main characters – Tavia, Saxony, Wesley and Karam – which isn’t something I’d often say about this kind of novel. I definitely had a soft spot for Tavia though, and am looking forward to hopefully learning more about her and her past in the sequel. Of course, all of these characters had questionable motives and actions, and it was interesting to see how these played out in comparison from their own point of view to others points of view. I definitely got a big Six of Crows vibe from this book and this group of misfits – from relationships between the characters (especially Tavia and Wesley’s strange friendship) to the way everyone on the outside sees them as awful people but once you get inside their heads you can see there’s much more to them than that, but the similarities didn’t put me off!

Into the Crooked Place is a very fast paced book, and for me I’d say that’s a bit of a negative as I think more time definitely could’ve been spent on world building. Creije is presented as being a beautiful, magical city, special to the characters, but I did struggle to picture it in my head – as well as the other realms the characters visit on their journey throughout the book. I do think the story also could’ve benefited from the magic system being explained a bit more, however I do think this will be coming in the sequel.

I definitely think the character development was the strongest part of this book, as like I say, I did actually enjoy reading each character’s point of view, and often in a multiple POV book there’s always at least one character who’s chapters I’m just trying my hardest not to skip through. Into the Crooked Place really set itself up for it’s sequel with a dramatic cliffhanger ending, so I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what happens to these characters next – and dreading the wait!

Into The Crooked Place is released on the 8th October. If you preorder and you’re in the UK or Ireland, you can also get a signed bookplate from Hot Key books by following these instructions!



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