The Crown’s Game
Author: Evelyn Skye
Published On: 5/17/16
Synopsis: (Found on Goodreads)
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.
Overall Rating: 4/5
This book was worth the wait. I’ve been hearing good things about it for months, and Ashley has been dying to read it since I can remember, so I’m glad that it lived up to the hype. An all around entertaining and exciting adventure.
I liked this cover quite a bit. The clever shaping of buildings into a crown shape, with the light and dark playing off each other to represent the two halves in the Crown’s Game itself. The picture was clever and not too cluttered. The only gripe I have is that I don’t like having quotes from reviews on the covers of books.
Characters: 4.5 / 5
Vika: One of the two potential enchanters in the Crown’s Game, Vika is the more elemental, or primal of the two. Her talents seem to focus on weather, earth, and the elements, allowing her to do all sorts of interesting things. She grows up believing she is the only enchanter, only to discover at the last minute that she has competition. I liked Vika’s character, she is somewhat sheltered, but confident in her abilities and herself. She has some reservations, but takes to the Crown’s Game rather well, all things considered.
Nikolai: Vika’s counterpart, the other enchanter in the game. Nikolai’s magic is tuned more toward machinery, crafting, and technical things like creating his own clothes and tools. Although it may not seem as overtly powerful, his enchantments seem more refined and focused. He has been raised by a woman who trained him constantly for the Crown’s Game, knowing he would have to overcome an adversary in order to become the Imperial enchanter, but nothing could prepare him for Vika. Nikolai was a lot of fun to read, he was intelligent, effective, and a bit sarcastic, which I really appreciated. He also seems to have a lot of bad luck, usually meaning well but having his plans not quite working out the way he intended. His relationship with Vika and best friend Pasha were quite relatable.
Pasha: The Tsar’s son and next in line to rule Russia, Pasha wants to do everything but be the Tsar. He tries to aid his father in matters of state, but can more often be found slumming it with Nikolai (while in disguise of course). Pasha is also immediately smitten with Vika, which causes Nikolai plenty of trouble. You can’t help but root for Pasha, he’s charming, genuine, and lots of fun to read about. It’s difficult to pick a favorite character in this book, but Pasha is definitely in the running.
This book reminded me of a couple different stories, but took the best from them and made the magic its own. I think that overall my favorite thing about this book is how subtle the magic can be. I feel like the story could have been boiled down to a wizards duel, complete with two enchanters throwing fireballs and bolts of lightning at each other until one of them didn’t get back up (Spoiler: It’s not), but instead you really get to learn about the characters as they use their abilities to impress the Tsar and benefit the populace. It made a lot more sense to me, the idea of the Tsar actually picking an advisor and right hand, to see what all they could do, rather than how effective at killing they are. I’m definitely looking forward to reading more about these characters.
Until Next Time, Brian