About the book
The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye
Series: Book 1 of The Crown’s Game Series
Genre: YA Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Harper Collins
Vika 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.
*Thanks to Harper Collins for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review*
The Rating: 4.5 out of 5
This book was worth every little bit of hype it received and I am so glad that it was amazing as it was – I was a little worried for a second by all the mixed reviews but it ended up being everything I hoped for!
I may be a little biased because I love books that are set in places other than America or alternate America (sorry, but it just gets a little boring after a while) so I thought the setting in an alternate Russia added a lot of magic to the book. Following that theme, the magic system introduced in the book was also unique and interesting as well, with the Enchanters drawing their power from the country itself and the people’s belief in magic – something I haven’t really seen done before.
I loved all three of the main characters and Vika, Nikolai and Pasha were all so interesting to read about. However, I just wasn’t feeling the love triangle and it ended up feeling a little underdeveloped and insta-lovey.
All up, this was definitely an amazing read and you should definitely read it if you are craving a light fantasy read. Also pick it up if you enjoyed The Night Circus because it certainly gives off the same vibes.
The story is set in an alternate Russia and I think the setting added so much magic to the plot. I loved reading about the different parts of St Petersburg that Vika and Nikolai transformed and also learning more about the history of the country. You can really tell by the writing that the author spent a lot of time researching the country and its culture and it definitely payed off. She also threw in some choice words in Russian which I absolutely love when done well because it really adds to the whole experience.
The magic system was really interesting in that it adapted to the way the user had grown up using it, which was a unique take on the usual powers. It worked out really well in the story because it allowed Vika and Nikolai to build off each other’s magic to create some spectacular displays. The descriptions of the magic were also done wonderfully!
The plot revolves around the concept of “The Crown’s Game”, a tournament that is held when, on the very rare occurrence, there are two Enchanters living at the same time. The Game decides who will work for the Crown and after the initial confusion of “why can’t they just have both?” was explained, it ended up being a really fascinating plot line.
The only thing that really let the book down was the romance! The problem with love triangles is that it gives you less time to develop relationships between the characters and so although I did love all three of the characters individually, I just didn’t feel their relationships. I was firmly excited for the relationship between Nikolai and Vika, which I thought was going to be fantastic, but it felt a little insta-lovey and insta-lusty at some points. Pasha is adorable but his relationship with Vika felt decidedly one sided and so you kind of just end up feeling sorry for him.
Although I do not mind love triangles, I absolutely hate when it comes in between friendships (I think Will and Jem have spoiled me) and so it really irked me when Pasha and Nikolai grew apart as a result of Vika because their friendship was actually something I really enjoyed throughout the book.
This being said, I totally ship Vika and Nikolai and I need it to happen in the next book but I also want Pasha to happy – decisions, decisions, decisions.