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Into the Crooked Place

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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 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.


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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 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.

30 review for Into the Crooked Place

  1. 4 out of 5

    destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

    I don't really care what it's about, I'll just read anything Alexandra writes after the magnificence that was To Kill A Kingdom Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review! I don't really care what it's about, I'll just read anything Alexandra writes after the magnificence that was To Kill A Kingdom ♡ Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

  2. 4 out of 5

    jessica

    gangster fantasies are so my thing - i love the gritty, unapologetic adventure of it all - so its been very exciting to see it become such a popular trope. as with all tropes, recycled elements are bound to pop up from book to book, but its how the story enhances those elements that makes its worthwhile. and unfortunately, ‘into the crooked place’ doesnt really add anything special to the genre. its a solid book on its own - there is a variety of characters and representation, interesting magic gangster fantasies are so my thing - i love the gritty, unapologetic adventure of it all - so its been very exciting to see it become such a popular trope. as with all tropes, recycled elements are bound to pop up from book to book, but its how the story enhances those elements that makes its worthwhile. and unfortunately, ‘into the crooked place’ doesnt really add anything special to the genre. its a solid book on its own - there is a variety of characters and representation, interesting magic system and world building, and decent writing and pacing. all great things, but thats where it stops. its nothing i havent read and enjoyed before. so while this is still entertaining, especially for fans of gangster fantasy stories, there really isnt anything about this that makes me obsess over the story. ↠ 3 stars

  3. 5 out of 5

    Helena of Eretz ✰

    I received this complimentary ARC from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. BOY, was this disappointing! It was boring, predictable, and I wanted to DNF it multiple times (but didn't because it was an ARC). Where did Alexandra Christo's compelling writing style from To Kill a Kingdom go??? It's like an entirely different author wrote this! After White Cat, Six of Crows, The Gilded Wolves, Ace of Shades, and now this...gangster fantasies are essentially becoming a trope. Which isn't I received this complimentary ARC from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. BOY, was this disappointing! It was boring, predictable, and I wanted to DNF it multiple times (but didn't because it was an ARC). Where did Alexandra Christo's compelling writing style from To Kill a Kingdom go??? It's like an entirely different author wrote this! After White Cat, Six of Crows, The Gilded Wolves, Ace of Shades, and now this...gangster fantasies are essentially becoming a trope. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing! The problem is that Christo didn't add anything new to it. There's nothing to distinguish this book from any of the ones mentioned above. It comes across as merely generic. Is it a terrible book? No, it's - for the most part - well-written. It's just uneventful and tedious. The characters are mere caricatures of ones we've come across before. I wish I could say that this is my new favourite book, but I can't. I don't even know if I shall continue with this duology.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sabrina

    Gangster fantasy that’s literally the only thing I need to know. I feel a Peaky Blinders vibe!. Gangster fantasy that’s literally the only thing I need to know. I feel a Peaky Blinders vibe!🙌🤞.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra Christo

    This is my book. It comes out tomorrow. I think it's pretty damn great and I'm excited to throw these crooked little cupcakes out into the world.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nenia ⚡ Aspiring Evil Overlord ⚡ Campbell

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest If I had to sum up my feelings about this book in a single sentence, I would say this book is passable. I read a lot of fantasy and there was nothing about INTO THE CROOKED PLACE that really made it stand out to me, as it follows the typical formula of many best-selling YA titles coming out these days, to the point that over-saturation has rendered them virtually indistinguishable from one another. INTO THE CROOKED PLACE is not a bad book, Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest If I had to sum up my feelings about this book in a single sentence, I would say this book is passable. I read a lot of fantasy and there was nothing about INTO THE CROOKED PLACE that really made it stand out to me, as it follows the typical formula of many best-selling YA titles coming out these days, to the point that over-saturation has rendered them virtually indistinguishable from one another. INTO THE CROOKED PLACE is not a bad book, nor is it an exceptionally good one. It's an okay YA fantasy with decent writing and some interesting but two-dimensional characters. The setting of this book is in a fantasy city called Creije where magic is forbidden (whoomp, there it is). At night, black market traders sell charms and potions to people looking for a little extra, where they split the profits with their crime boss masters. Tavia is one of these, and her boss, Wesley, used to be her childhood friend until he was corrupted by power and became just as evil as everyone else. When he sends her off with a new potion, she doesn't think much of it, until her friend, Saxony, stupidly drinks it, and ends up becoming slightly, well, not herself. As the truth of the new magic sinks in, Tavia realizes that Creije and its crime system is even worse than she thought. Especially since the Kingpin, Ashwood, is looking to expand his reach and, you guessed it, take over the world. She, Wesley, Saxony, and Karam, Wesley's bodyguard, must band together and join their pooled forces in order to save Creije from falling into darkness under a reign of dark magic and terror. But in order to do that, they'll have to confront the darker shadows haunting each of their pasts-- and some of the secrets that they're hiding might well be deadly. As I said, the characters were fine. I felt like they checked a lot of boxes, to be honest. Wesley and Tavia are the childhood friends who still care about each other but pretend not to. Wesley is the smooth-talking dapper criminal who seems to have been created with the intention of fan service. Karam and Saxony were an F/F couple who broke up but still have feelings for each other, which is refreshing to see, but their sexual tension-fueled constant bickering started to get a little old, after a while. You could pick up this cast and drop them into virtually any other fantasy novel that came out within the past five years, and whether it's SIX OF CROWS or THE GILDED WOLVES, they could still fill out virtually the same roles, in a virtually similar storyline, without much change to the plot. I also feel like it's hard to suss out the target audience for this book. The cover and writing style feel like this is geared towards younger teens/older middle grade, but the writing itself is peppered with swear words and the characters appear to be older teens. I don't know if it's gritty enough for older teens to really enjoy, but the subject matter might be too dark for younger kids. To this book's credit, I liked it a lot more than SIX OF CROWS (which I have tried to read and ended up dropping in irritation 3+ times) and THE GILDED WOLVES (which I managed to finish but gave a terrible review). I even liked this more than the author's previous effort, TO KILL A KINGDOM, and it seems like the author really looked at the feedback readers gave her for her previous book and tried to implement it in this book, to mostly great effect. The characters were likable, even if they lacked the depth I'd like to see in books like this, and the magic system was interesting. There were also some truly chilling scenes in here, and moments of some really descriptive writing. I suppose if you enjoy YA fantasy, and especially the titles I mentioned in the previous paragraph, you'll probably really enjoy INTO THE CROOKED PLACE. It wasn't quite my cup of tea but it passed the time and managed to keep me invested where similar books did not. I might be reading the sequel, as this book ends on a cliffhanger, and I'm curious to see how everyone ends up. Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!  3 stars

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nanly

    "Gangster fantasy" That's... that's beautiful. :') I know absolutely nothing about this book, but yes. The answer is yes.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Angelica

    guess who got a copy of this baby at BookCon!?!?!? I am so ready for this!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Hollis

    Here's a big reason why I think the current GR rating is what it is (which, as of the writing of this review, is 3.73) : it very much feels, and reads, like another book. Which, as my buddy said, doesn't mean a certain author holds the copyright to heist ensemble gangster anti-hero/amoral stories. It's just.. like, wow, a little effort to be different, when so much of today's culture is comparisons, would've been nice? But here's where I get a little less snarky. After bemoaning the comparisons, Here's a big reason why I think the current GR rating is what it is (which, as of the writing of this review, is 3.73) : it very much feels, and reads, like another book. Which, as my buddy said, doesn't mean a certain author holds the copyright to heist ensemble gangster anti-hero/amoral stories. It's just.. like, wow, a little effort to be different, when so much of today's culture is comparisons, would've been nice? But here's where I get a little less snarky. After bemoaning the comparisons, and the utter boredom, for almost 50%.. this book did shift gears. A little. I won't say I liked it after the first half but while I predicted a lot of what was coming.. some things I didn't. I felt good about the ending — particularly the last 20% — which, I mean, I guess didn't take much considering how not-good I was feeling about the book in general, so that's definitely a low-ish bar. Also, the shift in plot doesn't quite take away from how much this book is like other things. I'm talking vibe, tone, names.. yeah, it's a lot. But. Again, I say, but. I might pick up book two (thank goodness it's not a trilogy). Hell, I probably will. I'm a bit of a masochist but I did feel this ended on a good — well, no, not good, but you get what I mean — note. Also there is a lot of diversity in this story, which is one of the few uncomplicated things to celebrate. So, yes, this is kind of a hash, for a book I wanted to DNF and yet now find myself intending to read even more of now that I’ve finished it, and yet here we are. ** I received a ARC from Edelweiss and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. ** --- This review can also be found at A Take From Two Cities.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Unfortunately, this tale of a bunch of misfits and forbidden magic just wasn’t for me. It felt, at it’s heart, rather generic and unoriginal which meant that nothing ultimately stood out and made it memorable. The pacing and writing are good, and I got through this quickly - although I found the writing tended to lean more towards the younger end of the YA spectrum, without that ‘grittier’ edge I like in my fantasy writing. It’s I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Unfortunately, this tale of a bunch of misfits and forbidden magic just wasn’t for me. It felt, at it’s heart, rather generic and unoriginal which meant that nothing ultimately stood out and made it memorable. The pacing and writing are good, and I got through this quickly - although I found the writing tended to lean more towards the younger end of the YA spectrum, without that ‘grittier’ edge I like in my fantasy writing. It’s just the plot itself, and it’s characters, that ultimately let the story down. The characters are a little ‘trope’, and have all been seen before in some form or other in better YA fiction. There was no real depth to them. That said, I enjoyed the female/female romance and tension created between them - it felt mildly different, although got repetitive after a while. I liked that the story, beyond this, didn’t really fall on the ‘romance heavy’ elements we normally see in YA. The world building, like the characters, could have been developed more. I wanted more information about why magic was outlawed and how the ‘new’ magic was created. A lot is left to the reader’s imagination when a more solid explanation would have been helpful, as at times I struggled to understand the surroundings. An ok YA fantasy that’s decently written, but it lacks any real originality in a heavily saturated market.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    The ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 3.5/5 Stars Full review here This new gangster fantasy left me happy and disappointed at the same time. Into the Crooked Place has an interesting enough world filled with magic, which I think could have been explained a lot better than it was. The characters are what drives the story forward. I truly feel like there were characters that were well developed and others that were just there. Wesley is a The ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 3.5/5 Stars Full review here This new gangster fantasy left me happy and disappointed at the same time. Into the Crooked Place has an interesting enough world filled with magic, which I think could have been explained a lot better than it was. The characters are what drives the story forward. I truly feel like there were characters that were well developed and others that were just there. Wesley is a cut above all others, he just is. The only other character who comes close to being well-crafted is Tavia. The other narrators and their points of view didn't really catch my attention. This book has been compared to Six of Crows on multiple occasions and I can totally see why. I think that the feel is pretty much the same, but I personally prefer Leigh Bardugo's books. Wesley resembles Kaz quite a lot, which is probably why I liked him so much. I think this book has some great potential even though it has not the most original story. The ending was quite interesting and left me curious to see how the author decides to continue on with the series.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tara ☽

    I'm so excited for this. Can people please stop saying every gangster YA book is just copying Six of Crows, especially before the book is even out? Yes Soc is amazing but Leigh Bardugo doesn't have a monopoly on the gangster genre lmao.

  13. 5 out of 5

    ✨Brithanie Faith✨

    3/5 stars e-ARC provided by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Into The Crooked Place by Alexandra Christo is an upcoming fantasy novel that follows four crooks who must come together to save their home from the dark magic that threatens it and everyone they love. This was one of my most anticipated reads of the year! Having read To Kill A Kingdom in 2018 (and thoroughly enjoying it) I honestly expected more from Into The Crooked Place, but it wasn't all bad! If I'm 3/5 stars ⭐⭐⭐ e-ARC provided by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Into The Crooked Place by Alexandra Christo is an upcoming fantasy novel that follows four crooks who must come together to save their home from the dark magic that threatens it and everyone they love. This was one of my most anticipated reads of the year! Having read To Kill A Kingdom in 2018 (and thoroughly enjoying it) I honestly expected more from Into The Crooked Place, but it wasn't all bad! If I'm being completely honest though- I think where this falls short for me is it's similarities to other YA fantasy books that I've read in the past! Alexandra is such a great writer, and I always feel some sort of connection to her characters, but- if it weren't for said characters in this one I probably would have DNF'd it at the halfway point! Will I pick up the sequel? Probably! But I won't be in a rush to do so!

  14. 4 out of 5

    April (Aprilius Maximus)

    DNF 3 chapters in. It's just not gripping me and I have so many things I want to read instead right now, so might come back to this later!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Candace Robinson

    Oh boy, I absolutely loved To Kill a Kingdom but this book was just so slow for me that I found it hard to connect to the characters or the story. However, the author’s writing is just as lovely as her previous book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I was very excited about Into the Crooked Place because the blurb was giving me strong Six of Crows vibes. I guess they call this gangster fantasy these days? While parts of it does feel like SoC, overall the book missed the mark a little for me. The world building was pretty good. Christo imbued the setting with seemingly sufficient grit. There's history. There's buskers peddling magic. The magic itself I struggled with a lot. It often felt like there weren't any strict rules, some of it felt I was very excited about Into the Crooked Place because the blurb was giving me strong Six of Crows vibes.  I guess they call this gangster fantasy these days?  While parts of it does feel like SoC, overall the book missed the mark a little for me. The world building was pretty good.  Christo imbued the setting with seemingly sufficient grit.  There's history.  There's buskers peddling magic.  The magic itself I struggled with a lot.  It often felt like there weren't any strict rules, some of it felt "hand wavey" if you will, which I occasionally struggled with.  Wesley "summons" charms from his skin?  There wasn't a lot of explanation about where the charms come from or how they get their specific powers. Another thing I struggled with, is it's explained initially there is no new magic, so anything the buskers sell is somehow recycled or a trick.  But where was it recycled from?  Is there that much illicit magic laying around that 50-100 buskers in several different cities can afford to sell many of these charms and potions every night?  I felt like I was just supposed to take all this at face value. The characters were all great and yet I often felt like I wasn't connecting.  There was funny banter and wit and sass galore, a f/f relationship/romance that I actually did enjoy.  But often a chapter would devolve into the character's inner monologue about their significant/desired other and that often took me out of the story a bit.  I think the story would have been sufficient with just Karam's and Saxony's romance, because that one felt relatively effortless, while Wesley and Tavia's romance/flirtations, often felt shoehorned in. The plot was okay.  It was high action, but a lot of the action could have been skipped without any detriment to the story.  There were several fist fights that felt like we were seeing them just to show how tough Wesley or Karam were.  There were a lot of training scenes.  It's just not my favorite way to read action in a book.  I cared about the fights against the bad guys, not so much the fights and the training amongst themselves. The other thing I want to note- I finished this on Saturday, less than a week ago.  And I am struggling to remember lots of the details.  It wasn't an unenjoyable experience, but it simply wasn't that memorable. Thank you to the publisher for sending a copy for review.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nat ⭐

    DNF’d on 7/3/19 Yeah, no. I felt bored out of my mind every time I picked this up, and I just couldn’t connect with any of the characters. Remember how a bunch of people kept trying to say that The Gilded Wolves is a “ripoff” of Six of Crows, when the two actually aren’t very similar at all except having ensemble casts and a heist? And the themes of the novel, characters, and general plots are just... different? This book actually did feel like a Six of Crows ripoff from what I read. Maybe I’m just DNF’d on 7/3/19 Yeah, no. I felt bored out of my mind every time I picked this up, and I just couldn’t connect with any of the characters. Remember how a bunch of people kept trying to say that The Gilded Wolves is a “ripoff” of Six of Crows, when the two actually aren’t very similar at all except having ensemble casts and a heist? And the themes of the novel, characters, and general plots are just... different? This book actually did feel like a Six of Crows ripoff from what I read. Maybe I’m just sick of “gangster heist fantasy” books (shoutout to Ace of Shades for ruining them for me) but this book was just... so dull. I got over 100 pages in and, while I knew who all of the characters were and what their motivations were, I just didn’t care. There was even the potential for an F/F relationship, which SHOULD have made me more interested (and HAS made me continue with books that I wasn’t so sure on before), but I didn’t even care about that. I don’t think this book had anything unique or interesting to offer the genre, which is probably really harsh, but I can’t even care about that. The book involves a ~wacky group of thugs~ (Six of Crows, The Gilded Wolves) that sell illicit magic (A Darker Shade of Magic), and one character in particular has a secret past and power that makes her EXTRA tied in to the mystery of the plot (Six of Crows, A Darker Shade of Magic, Ace of Shades, Nocturna, and The Gilded Wolves). Also, there’s a ~magical disease~ that The Bad Guy™ [duh] is using to get people to work for him (A Darker Shade of Magic, Nocturna). Also lots of infodumping on “underbosses” and gangs and whatever (Six of Crows, Ace of Shades). I PROMISE I’M NOT EVEN EXAGGERATING. Maybe this book gets better later on, but if it’s not appealing to me at all by the 26% mark, I’m not gonna waste my time. I really enjoyed the author’s debut novel, To Kill a Kingdom, but the fast-paced storytelling and interesting characterization that made me love that book is absent from this one. I still remember how much I loved just the opening lines of To Kill a Kingdom—while this book’s opening lines felt kinda generic. (Still interesting enough, but it was something that had been done before.) Maybe it’s because To Kill a Kingdom only had 2 narrators or drew its plot from a source, but it felt like that book was much more straightforward with the plot... and just more compelling in general. This book, unlike Christo’s debut, feels convoluted, unoriginal, and uninspired. There’s nothing that made me want to keep picking this book up and reading. I don’t know if I’ll give this book another chance when it’s actually released because honestly, I have so many other books that I know I’ll enjoy more. I don’t even really know if I’d recommend this book to anyone. Thank you to BookCon and LitJoyCrate for giving this book away, and thank you to the amazing staff at Books & Books for passing a second copy on to me as well. I’m giving my copies to some people who will hopefully enjoy this book significantly more than I did.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra

    I received an e-ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Review can be found on *Milky Way of Books* I knew that there would be something in this book to pull me into Alexandra Christo's writing. I had loved and enjoyed very much her first book, To Kill a Kingdom, and this book, while it was a wide turn in themes for me, was quite interesting. There are multiple POVs in this book all in the third person, that follows the adventure a team of older teens undertake in order to overthrow I received an e-ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Review can be found on *Milky Way of Books* I knew that there would be something in this book to pull me into Alexandra Christo's writing. I had loved and enjoyed very much her first book, To Kill a Kingdom, and this book, while it was a wide turn in themes for me, was quite interesting. There are multiple POVs in this book all in the third person, that follows the adventure a team of older teens undertake in order to overthrow an evil magician/mob boss/something otherworldly. While I did enjoy the plot and the magic system was very interesting it felt more like an upper YA, since it has quite the fighting scenes and some dark themes. The romance here was subtle without necessarily affecting the plot but I did like how the realms were made and the scenes with the train chase. My favorite character by far is Tavia; I really need to know what will happen in the sequel since the book ended in a cliffhanger with such revelations following in the ending.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    Two little words... I'm already intrigued if To Kill a Kingdom is anything to go by. Gangster Fantasy.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ashlee » Library In The Country

    This is giving me all the Six of Crows vibes and I am HERE. FOR. IT.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Gabriela Pop

    *screams into the void* It's been a while since I've loved a book with the intensity of my feelings for this one. Dare I even say, had I had this book when I was younger I would have very likely had my whole life revolve around this book, that's just how great it is. Christo's writing style is enchanting and intoxicating; it has a wonderful flow to it that makes it easy to get sucked right into the story and live along with her characters, yet it also has a strange almost flowery quality to it *screams into the void* It's been a while since I've loved a book with the intensity of my feelings for this one. Dare I even say, had I had this book when I was younger I would have very likely had my whole life revolve around this book, that's just how great it is. Christo's writing style is enchanting and intoxicating; it has a wonderful flow to it that makes it easy to get sucked right into the story and live along with her characters, yet it also has a strange almost flowery quality to it and has many many passages that just stay with you and you are meant to wish to cherish for ever and ever. The kind of passages that you wish you could revisit endlessly and eventually inhabit for the rest of time. Casual, right? While I am a sucker for stories of found family and groups of misfits coming together to achieve an obscure purpose, I do have to say that it never seems likely to be before starting these kind of stories that I'd like all the characters. Shouldn't have ever questioned Alexandra Christo. Not only are all her characters coming alive right off the page along with their highs and lows and all the many, many gray shades that they are made of, but the way they function as a group and the relationships established among each of them are outstandingly established. There is also a certain je ne sais quois that made one thing, be it something small or monumental, just one thing from each of the POV protagonists that feels painfully familiar and relatable and speaks to my soul on an unexpected level. Additionally, what Christo blew me away with is the dichotomy between the ways her characters are presented through the filter of those around them as opposed to how they are portrayed through their own eyes in their POV chapters. Add a fun wild storyline of pretty much attempting to run a coup within the corrupted underground black market of magic and you get this fabulous book. Strangely reminiscent of Six Of Crows & The Bone Season, I definitely think this is a newfound favourite.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Aimee ♥ | Aimee, Always

    oh my god i can't believe i didn't know this already has a cover and it's fucking gorgeous *If you haven't yet, let me let me convince you to read To Kill a Kingdom!

  23. 5 out of 5

    The Nerd Daily

    Originally posted on The Nerd Daily | Review by Nathalie DeFelice If you’re looking for a story of angsty teens with the world’s biggest chips on their shoulders, look no further! I personally enjoyed the dark, gritty, and bleak aspect of this book…but maybe that’s just my fall reading taste. It’s a gangster heist story dealing with a lot of heavy themes, but I think everyone will find something to love in this story. The plot advances well, and the characters are really well explored, so I’m Originally posted on The Nerd Daily | Review by Nathalie DeFelice If you’re looking for a story of angsty teens with the world’s biggest chips on their shoulders, look no further! I personally enjoyed the dark, gritty, and bleak aspect of this book…but maybe that’s just my fall reading taste. It’s a gangster heist story dealing with a lot of heavy themes, but I think everyone will find something to love in this story. The plot advances well, and the characters are really well explored, so I’m excited to see what happens in the next book…because that ending of Into The Crooked Place is pretty devastating. While the story is unequivocally a fantasy novel, I do want to say that if you’re triggered by violent/abusive situations, you might tread with caution. Our story begins on the streets of Creije with Tavia, a young woman who peddles dark magic wares, with a dream of escaping and leaving that life behind. There’s also Wesley, who dreams of bringing the kingdom to its knees, leaving behind the young boy who grew up hungry and alone on the streets of Creije. Karam is a warrior who serves as a bodyguard during the day, and by night she spends her time in the fighting rings, making a deadly name for herself. Finally, there’s Saxony, a resistance fighter who’s hiding from those who ruined her family, and will do everything she can to get revenge. When Tavia mistakenly gives a vial of dark magic to a loved one, she sparks a conflict larger than our four players. Now they must work together, but with enemies at all sides, they can’t trust anyone, least of all each other. Make no mistake friends, this isn’t a happy story. At first I was frustrated, because I often read stories of characters who slowly lose their innocence, which gives characters an added depth and makes them more relatable. Not having that really rubbed me raw, making me feel as bleak as they were…as desperate for relief. I won’t lie, I almost put it down because I felt like we were getting nowhere fast. But suddenly, these characters begin to show you snippets of themselves, before horrors came, before those terrible nightmares made them into jaded individuals. Some of the characters show those aspects faster, but the ones that make you wait are worth it. I’ve never had a book sink its claws into me this way before. The plot grows quickly and with four perspectives, it can get tangled quickly, but Christo keeps these voices separate and easy to follow. It moves along at a fairly moderate pace, not so fast that you’re struggling to keep up, but not so slow that you’re wanting to put it down. Moreover, I was fascinated by the magic system. It’s a commodity that’s being bartered around, and more importantly, there’s an addictive quality to it. A lot of stories look at magic behind these rosy glasses that seem like it’s the end all be all, but not here. Magic is dangerous, too much is addictive, and the dangers are very real. I wanted to keep exploring more of the magic. I definitely want to see more in the next book. Character-wise, Tavia is my favourite. The self-awareness about her is incredible, something that seemed to have been achieved thanks to her circumstances. Her stubborn and reckless behaviour is fun to read, and nail-bitingly thrilling. Her friendship with Saxony is wonderful, while also showing the frayed relationships between her Wesley and Karam. Honestly, the tension that fills each and every character’s relationships are so great. There’s also something else I can’t talk about because of spoilers, but man, am I excited to see that voice again in the next book. There is definitely romance in this book, the slow kind that makes you want to push them together and yell “KISS ALREADY”. We’ve also got rekindled romance, the kind that’s full of love-lorn glances and pushing each other’s boundaries to see who’ll fall in first. I enjoyed reading both romances, but the family relationships are truly where it’s at! Those dynamics are truly heart-breaking, and just adds another level to the angst that these characters experience. I don’t feel that there’s one story that’s the most heartbreaking, but there is definitely one that we don’t get to explore in this book that I’m dying to find out about. I think the only issue that I had with this book is that it felt really off in the beginning, but that’s a personal opinion. However, that did affect the pacing for me for about a third of the book, but then it picked up into the moderate pace that I really enjoyed. I do wish that there had been a little more descriptive imagery, because the story is stunning, and I wanted a clearer picture of what was happening. Overall, I would rate this story an 8/10. It’s a wonderful read with awesome characters, and I’m excited for what is to come in the next book. You should definitely give it a read if you love heist stories! I’m excited to have it on my shelf next to my copy of Christo’s To Kill A Kingdom!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd)

    3.5 Stars “There will be no punishment or retribution. What did the law matter when there could be anarchy instead?” I have somewhat mixed feelings about Into the Crooked Place. It had a very strong start with the character introductions, but I never quite cared about anything else as much. We follow a band of crooks who are determined to save their city from dark magic and further corruption by banding together - even if they don’t trust each other - to save the things they care about. 3.5 Stars “There will be no punishment or retribution. What did the law matter when there could be anarchy instead?” I have somewhat mixed feelings about Into the Crooked Place. It had a very strong start with the character introductions, but I never quite cared about anything else as much. We follow a band of crooks who are determined to save their city from dark magic and further corruption by banding together - even if they don’t trust each other - to save the things they care about. Things I Liked I really loved the characters in this story, especially Tavia and Wesley, but all the characters are deliciously complex and have questionable morals. I was immediately hooked by Tavia’s unapologetic and ambitious attitude and wanted more from this world, and each character introduction hooked me more. Found families. It exists and it is wonderful. That is all. The writing was nice - I thought the atmosphere of Creije was perfect and created this great unsettling feeling over the story. I also appreciate getting 4 POVs for each of the main characters - though I do hope we get more from Karam and Saxony in the next book. And maybe something from Arjun too because he was a bit of a scene stealer for me and I selfishly want more. I’m intrigued by the worldbuilding. I don’t think it was done incredibly well, but I got enough that I’m interested and want more. Things I Didn’t Like I didn’t care much about the plot. For me, it was a think that just happened to be going on in our characters' lives, but not something I actively cared about or paid much attention too. The action was fun - if a bit confusing at times - but the direction of the story didn’t really matter to me. There was virtually no romance in the story, and while that’s perfectly fine because not every story needs a romance, I wanted more here. Wesley and Tavia have a childhood friendship and still share a connection that gets there satifying hints, but I needed more. Saxony and Karam’s history is a bit more complicated. They were together, then they broke up, but still really care about each other and there’s flirting and cute moments and a few kisses between these badass women and I just wanted more. As a self-professed character driven reader, Tavia, Wesley, Saxony, and Karam saved Into the Crooked Place for me. The world intrigued me enough, but I loved these selfish and unlikeable characters and wanted to spend time with them. I’m sure others will be more invested in the plot and the action, but I think the story was at it’s best when we were building relationships with the characters. I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Elise

    Pre-Reading Updates 23/8/2018: This gives me such Six of Crows/Ace of Shades/The Gilded Wolves vibes I NEED IT RIGHT NOW

  26. 4 out of 5

    Morgan

    To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo was one of my favorite books of 2018 so when I heard that she was writing a gangster fantasy, it instantly because of one of my most anticipated reads of 2019. But, as I’m sure you have all seen, Into the Crooked Place is not having the same positive outcome as Christo’s debut had. Into the Crooked Place follows Wesley, the underboss of Creji, and his motley crew of criminals on their hunt for the Kingpin, also known as Wesley’s boss, who wants to infect all To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo was one of my favorite books of 2018 so when I heard that she was writing a gangster fantasy, it instantly because of one of my most anticipated reads of 2019. But, as I’m sure you have all seen, Into the Crooked Place is not having the same positive outcome as Christo’s debut had. Into the Crooked Place follows Wesley, the underboss of Creji, and his motley crew of criminals on their hunt for the Kingpin, also known as Wesley’s boss, who wants to infect all of the Crafters, who are people who can create and control various types of magic, with dark magic with the hopes of creating an army strong enough to conquer all the realms. But the Kingpin won't be easy to find; Wesley's crew will have to go through multiple trials and tribulations, testing each of them individually, with the hopes of stopping the Kingpin before he destroys everything they love. I will agree with the majority when I say that Into the Crooked Plae isn’t overly original; there are some strong similarities to ‘A Darker Shade of Magic’ the strongest one being that they both have a dark magic that causes a person to become a fantasy resemblance of a zombie but I also believe that there are some unique aspects that are being overlooked. For example, the magic system: the idea of Crafters and their various Kins being the only ones able to create new magic and all the magic being used by the buskers in Creji is just old, recycled magic that is unable to die, hasn’t been in any other gangster fantasy (that I know of). Throughout the book, we see this recycled magic powers a variety of things including the magical train that our group travels on during their journey to stop the Kingpin. But unlike most trains, this train flies through the air - which is pretty different if you ask me! "Never create more than one enemy, because then he’d have to turn his back on one to keep an eye on the other” Personally, the characters didn’t do anything for me. I think Wesley is supposed to embody the self-made businessman who doubles as a gangster but just came off as an arrogant teenager whose trying a little too hard to be a ‘gangster’. I think I would have enjoyed Wesley’s character more if we saw more of his past besides the nonchalant comments about his family and his internal thought process over his new magic. Why didn’t he question how strong his powers were instantly after he gained them? This background into his character would’ve helped build complexity and lessen the amount of arrogance in his character. I also struggled with Saxony’s character. I found her to be incredibly indecisive when it came to what side she was on. She lacked confidence over a topic she felt strongly about and it didn't make sense to me. I really can't elaborate much more without spoilers, but if you're interested... (view spoiler)[ Saxony's whole purpose in accompanying Wesley was to find her sister but then she had an internal debate on whether she should betray Wesley to ensure her sister's safety. Technically, in the end, Saxony does betray Wesley but it lacked the punch it so easily could've had if Christo portrayed Saxony as the 'unknown villain' in the story rather than an ambivalent Crafter (hide spoiler)] For Tavia and Karam, they were both nothing exciting nor notable. I know this sounds odd to say but Karam suffered an awful lot of injuries for a short book. I think it was done to possibly give reason to Saxony’s feelings reigniting by seeing her ex-lover being injured but overall that card was played too much. Another part I didn't enjoy was the writing; you know when you're trying on a new pair of jeans at the store and you're trying to squeeze into a size that's too small and you start to hear the ripping of the seams and you break out in a sweaty panic because you don't want to pay for damaged products so you just slowly take them off and try the next size up? That's essentially what happened for Into the Crooked Place in the sense that instead of slowly taking the gangster fantasy prose-pants off, Christo forced herself into them making the whole situation awkward and uncomfortable for everyone involved. Into the Crooked Place ultimately lacked its own voice and reads as if it was trying to imitate the previous books in the gangster fantasy genre but couldn't squeeze into the mold that was three sizes too small. I wish Christo wrote Into The Crooked Place as she did ‘To Kill A Kingdom’ so ItCP would have had more independence from its fellow members of the gangster fantasy trope and had the beautiful flow of language that was present in To Kill A Kingdom, which I absolutely adored. The pacing also suffered at the beginning of the story. A whole lot of nothing happened and it felt as though the beginning was a filler for Christo, so she could delay the main plot of the book. Perhaps if Christo added in a few more trials the crew had to face leading into the final battle at the Kingpin’s fortress, she couldve gotten to the main plot faster, without making the story move too fast. Overall, Into the Crooked Place was close to being a hit. I feel like the story needed a little bit more attention and nurturing before it was sent to the public to read. Little tweaks to the characters, writing, and pacing would’ve made the story ten times better.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Alexa

    It breaks my heart that I didn't love this novel as much as Christo's debut (which was one of my favorite books of 2018). Both the world and the characters felt underdeveloped, the pacing felt uneven and I honestly could see so many similarities to other stories (and not in a way that felt ultimately any different from those other tales). I'm really sad that I didn't end up falling in love with this one!

  28. 4 out of 5

    shady boots | #WatchPOSE

    After TKAK I am so ready for Alexandra to snatch my ever dwindling collection of wigs once more.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Cassie

    I will pick this book back up whenever I feel like it :) Idk if I’ll start over, but in case I don’t, I’m leaving myself a note here with what page I’m on. Chapter 17, page 145.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bookphenomena (Micky)

    DNF @ 30% unrated I’m sorry to say that this was a full day’s struggle of picking it up and putting it down repeatedly because I did not like this world that felt pretty familiar and I did not buy into the characters or story. I found the names of people and phrasing too similar to the Grisha world to discount and it was told without the finesse of that one. I strongly believe there is no copyright on this kind of story (heisty-gangster fantasy) because the whole book world is built on a jenga DNF @ 30% unrated I’m sorry to say that this was a full day’s struggle of picking it up and putting it down repeatedly because I did not like this world that felt pretty familiar and I did not buy into the characters or story. I found the names of people and phrasing too similar to the Grisha world to discount and it was told without the finesse of that one. I strongly believe there is no copyright on this kind of story (heisty-gangster fantasy) because the whole book world is built on a jenga pyramid of similar stories. That said, its hugely important to find your slice of uniqueness and according to my bud Hollis, that issue settled a bit from half way in. I didn’t get that far because I just didn’t engage with the story and I was consistently bored. I feel disappointed in myself on the one hand because I loved Christo’s previous book but I think this review would look a whole lot worse if I had. Thank you to Hot Key books for the review copy and I’m sorry I couldn’t see this through to the end. Gratitude for the chance to read early. This review can be found on A Take From Two Cities Book Blog here.

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