Review: The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

My Thoughts

A thrilling debut brimming with magic.

3.5 to 4 stars

Synopsis

May-17 ★Perfect for fans of Shadow and Bone and Red Queen, The Crown’s Game is a thrilling and atmospheric historical fantasy set in Imperial Russia about two teenagers who must compete for the right to become the Imperial Enchanter—or die in the process—from debut author Evelyn Skye.

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.

My Review

For the winner of the game, there would be unimaginable power. For the defeated, desolate oblivion. The Crown’s Game was not one to lose.

Evelyn Skye’s fantasy debut delivers heart-pounding thrills and fiery romance with a story brimming with magic. A deadly game—the Crown’s Game—unfurls during 1825 Russia when the tsar sought advice from an Imperial Enchanter. The Imperial Enchanter embodies the whole of Russia’s magic, but this time around, there are two enchanters and they must duel to the death in a dangerous game shrouded in secret and guided by its own mysterious magic.

The Game is a display of skill and a demonstration of strategy and mettle. The goals is to show me your worthiness to become my Imperial Enchanter—my adviser for all things from war to peace and everything in between.

Vika Andreyevna was raised by her aristocratic father on an isolated island, trained to harness elemental power. She was fiery, strong and immensely talented. Nikolai Karimov, on the other hand, was raised poor despite being mentored by a wealthy woman who offered no softness, no luxuries. He learned as much as he could on his own, mastering a litany of magical skills while living among St. Petersburg’s finest.

The only option is, you cannot lose.

Vika and Nikolai face against each other in a magical, mystical duel to the death, the more they get to know each other (inadvertently), the more difficult it becomes to simply eradicate the other.

I am tied irretrievably to my enemy.

To make matters more complicated, the secrecy of the game coupled with the intensifying connection between its players drives a wedge between friendships and ratchets up tensions all around.

am the Game, and the Game and the Game is me. This is what my whole life has led up to, and this will determine the rest of it.”

The entire story comes alive with vivid, dramatic imagery. I loved the tension between characters and their internal battles as they process and evolve along with what transpires, in fact, I wanted even more character development to better understand their complexities. The end is poignant, but given the strength and draw of the story, I had hoped for a stronger finale all around. The story closes just enough to give the reader a conclusion, while leaving an opening for future novels too. Overall, this story had huge promise and definitely delivered on magic and atmosphere, it just needed a bit more development to truly shine.

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Comments

  1. Elisheba Carr says:

    Hi vilma, first of all I want to say that ur review for the crowns game is awesome and I’m soo excited for it to come out!! Umm my biggest question for this book was did it have a good romance? And was it slow burn and swoon worthy or insta love?

  2. Hi Elisheba! The romance was definitely there, strongest at the end. The connection was immediate, but took some time to develop.

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