Stop in to learn more about City of Spells, a YA fantasy from Alexandra Christo’s Into The Crooked Place series – out now! Enter the giveaway for your chance to win a copy!
Title: City of Spells
Series: Into the Crooked Place #2
Author: Alexandra Christo
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Published By: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: March 9, 2021
About The Book:
City of Spells, the follow-up to Alexandra Christo’s gritty YA fantasy, Into the Crooked Place, finds the world on the brink of war and four unlikely allies facing sacrifices they had never imagined.
After the loss of Wesley and the horrifying reveal that Zekia is helping the Kingpin of her own free will, Tavia, Saxony, and Karam flee to Saxony’s home to rebuild their rebellion. Meanwhile, trapped in the Kingpin’s darkness, Wesley must fight against the deadly magic that invades his mind and find a way back to his friends before it’s too late.
As the Kingpin’s dark magic spreads and his army conquers Creije, these four unlikely friends have to decide just how far they’ll go—and how much they are willing to sacrifice—to win.
Praise for Into the Crooked Place:
“With its gangland details, creative magical caste system and surprisingly brutal characters, Into the Crooked Place is very much its own thing. And that thing will likely be a story you can’t put down.” —Culturess
Zekia raised the gun to the man’s head.
She ’d never shot someone before. She’d never needed to.
She wondered if it would feel different to destroy a person without magic.
She heard the shuffle as the soldiers behind the barricade gritted their teeth and adjusted their weapons. She was standing in the center, between her army and theirs, and if she killed this man, they’d fire their guns and her Crafters would fire their magic.
More of the dead screaming through her mind.
Zekia closed her eyes. Her finger squeezed against the trigger and— “Don’t.”
Wesley was a shadow over her.
“Kid,” he said, placing his cuffed hand on top of hers. “Don’t.”
Zekia looked up at Wesley.
He was a little skinnier than when they’d first taken him, with hollowed cheeks and a chin she pictured cutting her finger on. He was also very tall, especially when Zekia was standing side by side with him like this. Then again, Wesley was also a good few years older than her and Zekia suspected that when she got to be his age, she ’d be just as big.
Wesley still wore a suit, but it was stained with his blood. And his eyes, stamped purple as the sleeplessness mixed into bruising, held pupils that were nothing but large black circles stealing all the color from him.
He had been stubborn and he had been punished for it, because sometimes hurting people was the only way to save them. Dante Ashwood had taught her that lesson well. And once she finally got Wesley to give in, he would be so proud of her strength.
When she finally got Wesley to give in, everything would be okay. They would be a family.
Zekia just had to try a little harder.
“Will you join us if I let him go?” Zekia asked Wesley. “Will you join us now that Creije is on the line?”
In an ideal world, Wesley would have said yes.
He would have taken her hand and said he’d be her big brother.
He would have told Zekia that he liked the view from his high horse very much, but that he liked the view from a throne a lot more.
Instead, Wesley lifted his hand from hers and said, “I wouldn’t join you if my life was on the line.”
“Don’t you think it is already?”
From chapter 5:
Wesley Thornton Walcott didn’t cry.
In the list of terrible things he’d done in his life—and Wesley liked to keep track of things like that—he was sure crying had never been one. He knew that memories were fickle, of course, but he trusted his mind to keep hold of important stuff like that.
Those were the things that needed to be remembered if he was going to hold a grudge properly, and if there was one thing Wesley Thornton Walcott did well, it was hold a grudge.
Wesley didn’t cry in the face of death.
He didn’t cry because he had only half a family—the half that gave him a house but not a home, that protected him but did not love him, that stared at him like he was something so very other in a realm of strange magic and monsters.
He didn’t cry when he crossed lines and burned bridges.
He didn’t cry when he threw away friendship for leadership.
And he didn’t cry when Zekia clawed through his mind, or when her shadow demon clawed through his body. They could try to break Wesley into a thousand pieces, but he wouldn’t give them that. He ’d fought his way up from the streets of Creije and there was no way he was going to go down with a fight.
“Fighting is hard,” Tavia said. “Sometimes the bravest thing you can do is just give in.”
She sat beside Wesley in the cell, her grin sly as ever, while the low glow of night filtered from the cracked window, reflecting the sky in the pool of Wesley’s blood.
“Don’t you ever just want to give up?” she asked.
She shuffled closer to Wesley and squeezed his hand.
“It’s okay if you do.”
Wesley held on to the sound of her voice, like a cliff ’s edge, even though he knew it wasn’t really her voice at all.
He’d learned that by now.
He knew better.
He turned to Tavia and pushed a flick of black hair from her eyes in a way he had never dared to before. It was damp with sweat and clinging to her cheeks like seaweed, making her look young and restless.
“Get the hell out of my mind, kid,” he said.
And then he pushed Tavia’s head back so hard that it cracked against the surface of the cell wall. There wasn’t blood this time, but Wesley winced like there had been.
He heard a sigh and then Tavia’s newly limp body disappeared into smoke, and from across the room Zekia stepped out of the shadows.
“You’re getting quicker,” she said. “The first time it took you ages to figure it out.”
“Maybe you’re just getting sloppy.”
Though truth was, most of Zekia’s illusions had been perfect from the start, and if there was one thing she excelled at, it was making Wesley doubt every second of his life was real.
Still, she could never get Tavia right.
The first time she’d tried, Wesley was too out of it to see the small discrepancies, but it was the easiest thing to spot now. A conjured Tavia made Wesley feel cold and uncertain. She was always missing the bite to her words and the tilted smile that could never quite be replicated. She was missing the glint in her eye that told Wesley he was awful and she would forgive him for it anyway.
Zekia could try all she wanted, but she’d be hard-pressed to create an illusion as damn irritating and wonderful as the real thing.
“Want to give it another whirl?” Wesley asked. “I think I’ve still got some sanity left in me today.”
Zekia let out a great huff of breath, like she was frustrated that Wesley had stolen her favorite toy. Beside her, a shadow demon growled, its eyes like pure darkness.
It looked at Wesley in a way that said, Yes. Again. Let me taste the blood this time.
About The Author:
Alexandra Christo decided to write books when she was four and her teacher told her she couldn’t be a fairy. She has a BA in Creative Writing and works as a copywriter in London, both of which make her sound more grown up than she feels. When she’s not busy making up stories, she can be found buying far too many cushions and organizing food crawls all over the city. Alexandra currently lives in Hertfordshire with an abundance of cacti (because they’re the only plants she can keep alive).
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