Author: Evelyn Skye
Publisher: Harper Collins
Buy this book: Amazon / Book Depository
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.The moment I heard that The Crown's Game was set in an alternate Imperial Russia where magic exists, I knew I had to read it! You may not know this about me, I have a lot of love/huge obsession with Imperial Russia. That was started from an early age because the children's film Anastasia was one of my absolute favourites. That movie made me fall completely in love with Russia, and has made me desperate to go to Russia and see the Winter Palace for myself. So the fact that this was set in a similar setting, with the bonus of a magically fight between two enchanters to work for the Tsar, it completely sold me on this book. I am so happy to say that I wasn't disappointed, even if I have to admit that the book wasn't exactly what I had been expecting.
The blurb for this book described the Crown's Game as an ancient duel of magical skill, the greatest test an enchanter will ever know, and the loser is sentenced to death. Serious stuff!!! So you can forgive me for thinking that the game would end up being super deadly and dangerous. I have to admit to being disappointed when that turned out not to be the case. I was truly surprised to find that they were essentially using their powers to decorate. No, I am not kidding. The first move of the Game involved someone magically decorating a city, and the second involved creating colourful fountains. Ooooooh, impressive! Why is this what they are using to impress the Tsar and show off their powers? How is that going to convince him to make you his enchanter? He could have a painter and decorator come in and do what they just did. The plus side was the few times our two enchanters actually attempted to end the game early, by killing the other. That's what I had originally expected the Game to be like. It was the only time that the duel seemed even a little deadly, and also the only time they seemed to truly show off the way that their powers could prove useful to the Tsar.
I was concerned going into this book because the blurb screams LOVE TRIANGLE, and I hate that! I can't stand love triangles, they always bug the shit out of me and I rarely ever see it done well. Thankfully the love triangle didn't get in the way of the story at all. I do feel like the guys got far too instalovey about our leading lady, Vika. I really loved that fact that Vika was not anywhere near as bothered and seemed to realise she had far more important things to worry about then guys.
The writing in this was absolutely glorious, especially when it came to the descriptions of Russia. Evelyn Skye was able to describe it all so vividly, I could see it all so clearly in my head and I felt like I was there myself - like I'd sat on one of Nikolai's benches and been transported straight there. I also loved all her descriptions of food, especially those that came from the Pumpkin bakery... I was basically drooling thinking about all the delicious food.
I enjoyed all the twists, turns and surprises that thus story had to offer. There was so much that I didn't see coming. The ending was so frustrating for me though, one of those endings that leaves you with a lot of questions and absolutely desperate to get your hands on the next book in the series. My only real issue with this book was the complete change of a character. It felt like they'd had a personality transplant and I just wasn't happy with the direction this characters story is going in. I really do hope this is put right in the next book. I don't want the character to stick to this personality switch, I want them to redeem themselves in the next book.
I really loved this book and I am so excited to get my hands on the next book in the series. A magical Imperial Russia is everything I need and want in my life. I hope for many things from the next book -I want the magic to really shine and actually show how powerful our characters are. I don't really care for romance so I don't want the love triangle aspect to be drawn out. I also want our character to redeem themselves and go back to being the person they were for the first 90% of the book. If you're a fan of fantasy then you definitely need to check out this book.