Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Warning: Don’t read the summary if you haven’t read The Crown’s Game, there’s major spoilers!!!
Summary: “Russia is on the brink of great change. Pasha’s coronation approaches, and Vika is now the Imperial Enchanter, but the role she once coveted may be more difficult—and dangerous—than she ever expected.
Pasha is grappling with his own problems—his legitimacy is in doubt, the girl he loves loathes him, and he believes his best friend is dead. When a challenger to the throne emerges—and with the magic in Russia growing rapidly—Pasha must do whatever it takes to keep his position and protect his kingdom.
For Nikolai, the ending of the Crown’s Game stung deeply. Although he just managed to escape death, Nikolai remains alone, a shadow hidden in a not-quite-real world of his own creation. But when he’s given a second chance at life—tied to a dark price—Nikolai must decide just how far he’s willing to go to return to the world.
With revolution on the rise, dangerous new magic rearing up, and a tsardom up for the taking, Vika, Nikolai, and Pasha must fight—or face the destruction of not only their world but also themselves.” (Summary found on Goodreads).
Initially, The Crown’s Fate felt as though it’d 100% be a 5 star read. I loved it from the beginning until the last fifteen pages, actually. And then…it disappointed me beyond belief. Up until then, it was so much darker than The Crown’s Game and I felt as though I knew the characters quite well. It was amazing, in all honesty.
I’m still in shock from the ending. Everything had been built up for so long, only to come crashing down in a matter of pages. I can’t go into much without giving away anything, but color me disappointed and angry. I was expecting a giant birthday cake, but instead I was given a burnt cupcake.
I don’t think you should just turn away from this book because of how disappointing the ending was for me, but keep in mind that this book is really hit or miss for people. It probably would have done just fine if The Crown’s Game were a standalone, if I’m being honest here. That isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy this, because I definitely did, I just think if it was going to end that way, Evelyn Skye might as well have ended it on an epic and ambiguous note, like the way The Crown’s Game did.
Though, I am quite satisfied with how epically dark this book is. Every character has morally ambiguous motives and it’s difficult to tell who’s good and who’s evil (unless it’s Aizhana, who’s pretty obviously evil). Nikolai, after the events of book one, is in a rather different state and does some rather questionable things throughout this book. He still remains as my favorite, though, because he’s one of the strongest characters here. Furthermore, my love for Vika grew as she stood deliberate in her decisions and never swaying to one side easily. She was fiercely independent and strong. I loved her in The Crown’s Game, but felt that I didn’t know her well enough, but I think now I know her very well and she was so much more fleshed out.
Another favorite of mine with this series is the Russian setting, especially since it takes place in a historically relevant time period. My studies in AP European History were applicable and I recognized so many events!! It was really exciting for me and I loved what she did with the time period. It’s also so obvious how much effort Skye put into the world-building, magic system, and making the Russian culture pop out. If only she put that much effort into an ending!
I still recommend this series, don’t get me wrong, just prepare to possibly be disappointed.