Book Review: Into the Crooked Place by Alexandra Cristo

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I received this book from Hot Key Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Into the Crooked Place
Series: Into the Crooked Place #1
Author: Alexandra Cristo
Genre: YA Fantasy
Edition/Pages: Ebook, 384pgs
Goodreads / Amazon / Waterstones

Summary

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.

Overview

‣ POV: 3rd person, Tavia, Wesley, Karam and Saxony

‣ Summary in Emojis: 🌃👛👊🔫🔮

‣ Trigger and Content Warnings: violence, loss of family, death

My Thoughts

I have a lot of mixed feelings about this one.

I’ll start with the stuff I loved. First of all: Tavia. She was such a fun protagonist, she was sharp and sly and I really enjoyed how resourceful she was. She was definitely my favourite character. I also liked some of the fun banter between the characters (although some of it is a bit clichéd) and the romances were wonderful.

I also think Cristo did a wonderful job of introducing us to Creije, which is a brilliantly dark and gritty city filled with buskers peddling magic and twisted streets. I loved how much history she imbued into the story, just enough to create a fully realised setting. I never felt that it went into info-dumpy territory, she only gave information where it was relevant to the story and it all fit together nicely. There is an elaborate magic system that is interesting and confusing at the same time. There’s a lot involved with it and while some of it is explained well, other parts are just sort of waved aside.

One of my issues though was that I expected the characters to be more morally grey than they were. I think the problem with trying to put ‘bad’ characters into this kind of setting is that it didn’t really work. Sure, they’re criminals, but they’re also going on a journey to save the realm from evil. We’re told these characters are degenerates and criminals, who have done some bad stuff in the past, but we’re never really shown them doing anything particularly terrible. And I kind of felt that a bit of a missed opportunity.

What ultimately disappointed me though was the really slow pacing. It takes a while for the action to really get going, and when it finally did there were parts that were just…boring. It just made some sections really dull and hard to get through.

For all that I liked Tavia, and the world building, I just found that whenever I put this book down, I was really struggling to get back into it again and that really affected my overall enjoyment in the book and my eventual rating.

I’m still not sure if I’ll read the sequel or not. I’m definitely planning to read Cristo’s debut because it’s a fairy-tale retelling and I have such a soft spot for them. Hopefully it’ll have less of the problems I encountered in this one!

I received this book from Hot Key Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Happy Reading,

Lea

7 thoughts on “Book Review: Into the Crooked Place by Alexandra Cristo

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