Into the Crooked Place by Alexandra Christo
Reviewed by Sam!
**We received an advanced copy from ALA in exchange for an honest review. We’d like to thank Alexandra and Feiwel and Friends for the opportunity. This book comes out on Oct 8th and you can get it here**
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.
Synopsis from Goodreads
What I drank prior: Parker has the brilliant idea to have “date night” and we got on google hangouts and watched mad men. It was great. I’ve had a whole bottle of wine. Yummmm
Spoiler-free Overview: alright, this books was pitched to me as the next Sic of Crows. It’s got a rag tag band of criminals tryna take down the bigger bad. In this world, Magic has been outlawed and magic users, Crafters, have all been killed. What’s left is the residual dust that magic leaves behind, and you can reuse it sorta? And that’s all that’s left. It makes it a finite commodity and there’s a whole damn black market around it. Our main lady Tavia, as been charged by her BFF-now-underboss-man, Wesley, to sell some “new magic” and it goes wildly wrong. And that’s how our story begins.
Spoiler-free Thoughts: This had so so much potential. I was STOKED to see magic as a limited quantity commodity. Stoked to see something like SoC. But then… it fell flat. I finished this maybe a week ago and I forgot everything. I couldn’t connect with any element of the story except one ship. And just the one.
Characters: they felt so flat to me. The #brokengirl, tragic backstory, had to figure out how to live (Tavia aka Inej). The #ambitiousmonster who cares so v v much about his town and wants to overthrow his master (Wesley aka Kaz). The spunky smart bff who just fell into this mess (Saxony aka Nina). #TheOneWhoHatesKaz, Arjun aka Mathias/Wylan (I forget which). And Karam, in love with Saxony, and is my sweet daughter fight me. It’s just so incredibly boring. I didn’t care about any of them (except Karam and Saxony’s relationship). I mean, I think I’m supposed to, but the author didn’t take the time to build that relationship with me as the reader so….
Plot: I literally can’t remember what happened between figuring out what the goal was to what the end was. It’s just a blur. Oh, gotta go do the thing? Achieve the mission? Cool, let’s go try and see what happens. (Not going to tell you if they do cause spoilers, but I do remember whether they were or were not successful, which counts I guess). Nothing ever felt suspenseful. Nothing ever felt critical. There were weird side-trips. The villain was creepy AF but like… ok? Still didn’t know why.
Writing Style: again, I struggled with this. I needed more investment as a reader but they never gave me enough info to care? Idk.
World Building: literally what is this world? I was given no context clues to the setting. I understand the magic real well cause I was told (not poorly, just not well either) and then they mention guns and trains and magic but also disco balls and neon lights? WHERE/WHEN ARE WE GIVE ME MORE CLUES!!
What to pair it with: A Stella Artois. It sounds great but it’s not as good as you want it to be.
Rating: 2/5 shots
Until next time, we remain forever drunkenly yours,