The Crown’s Game – Review

Author: Evelyn Skye
Published: May 17th 2016 by Balzer + Bray
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Magic
Rating: ★★★★✰

26156203Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip-smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love…or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear—the Crown’s Game is not one to lose. (goodreads summary)

“Imagine, and it shall be.
There are no limits.⁠⁠⁠⁠”

It’s 1800’s Russia under the rule of the Romanovs, magic is real but hidden from the public who view it as witchcraft. I’ve loved magic ever since Harry Potter (maybe even before then) so that alone peaked my interest. But then there is a game to the death, no it is not the Hunger Games nor is it copying the Hungers Games, competitions and duels to the death have been around long before Suzanne Collins deemed to write about it stopcomparingeverthingtothehungergames! .. where was I… oh yes, HISTORICAL FICTION yeesssss! I love historical fiction, and then you add magic to it what could be better?! You can tell how much research the author did to make this accurate, even before reading the author’s note about it it showed in her writing.

The Characters were ok. I didn’t find myself connecting with them like I do with others, but I didn’t outright despise them or wish them dead like many others. I did love Nikolai a bit, he is just to sweet not to. He is an orphan who dreams of a better life, one with respect and a place to belong and he believes that becoming the Imperial Enchanter will give him that life. But as soon as he lays eyes on Vika it’s over. He tries to fight his feelings for her, especially since his BFF Pasha, the Tsesarevich (aka Prince of Russia), is in love with her too. Hellooo love triangle.

Vika was pretty flat. There just really isn’t much to her, I connected more with Yulianna the Grand Princess who only has about 10% page time. I really don’t know what Nikolai and Pasha see in her, maybe I just have read to many fantasy novels with feisty red headed heroines (MY LEFT ARM FOR A BLONDE! Sarah J. Maas is the only one who gets me..).

I’ve always kind of steered clear of Russian themed books. Mainly because I really don’t like reading books full of words in a language that I can’t pronounce (Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha series really drove me nuts). But after reading this book I realized how much I am curious to know more about Russia and Russian folk lore. I think I will be reading Vassa and the Night, my Owlcrate book from October, very soon!

I am currently reading The Crown’s Fate and will be meeting the author Evelyn Skye at book signing TONIGHT, so I’m exited about that!! For a debut novel, historical fantasy none the less, this was very good. They only problem I had was the disconnection to Vika, thats about it.


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