Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Summary: “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 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.” (Summary found on Goodreads).
I am so happy I got to meet Evelyn Skye and Yallwest. She is a sweetheart and I fell in love with The Crown’s Game. A little background information here: I’m currently taking AP European History and I have loved nearly every minute of the class. This book is set in Imperial Russia, a period I studied myself, which made it a million times better. The great thing about this book is that it doesn’t scream “historical fiction”. It feels just like a fantasy book, but set to the backdrop of a riveting historical period. The history isn’t overwhelming. In fact, it isn’t even about the history at all. It just happens to be set in this period. Another great part, is that it didn’t seem like most of the other young adult books out there. The writing was more mature and thicker, but never overwhelmingly so.
Though, I do have to say, the characters felt a little immature. The romance wasn’t strong and Pasha seemed more of a caricature than a character. However, I can see this definitely improving as the story develops over the next book. (Is this a duology? I’m not sure). I still loved Pasha, don’t get me wrong, I just felt like he was written to be someone much younger than he is. The romance seemed a little like insta-love too, which is a bit of a pet peeve of mine.
I’m team Nikolai, by the way. Because so far, I haven’t met a fictional Nikolai I don’t like.
What I liked about Vika is that she didn’t need a boy to define her personality or beauty or talents. She was strong, with or without a man at her side. Thank you, Skye, for telling us that a girl doesn’t need to be told she’s beautiful to be powerful. Vika is strong–she’s a warrior, but not the typical kind. I can see myself growing to like her through The Crown’s Fate. At this point, I can’t say I loved her, mostly because I didn’t feel like I knew her.
Nevertheless, I’m giving this book five stars because I was thoroughly in love with this book. The plot was quick-moving, new, and captivating. I was on the edge of my seat…I didn’t want to put this book down. I could 100% feel the effort Skye put into writing this book, from the research she did of Russian history to the magic system. I can’t wait to see what she did with The Crown’s Fate (which just came out and I happen to have sitting on my shelf right now!)