The Crown’s Game (The Crown’s Game #1) by Evelyn Skye
Published May 17th 2016 by Balzer + Bray
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
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.
This actually got me excited cause the last book I’ve read that had a bit of Russian infusion in it was Grisha, but it was pretty loose in its influence.
Set in Russia in 1825, two enchanters are to participate in The Crown’s Game, to give them a chance to demonstrate their powers and outdo each other. The winner gets the title of being the imperial enchanter and to serve the tsardom, while the loser dies.
Vika is a fierce elemental enchanter who’s a bit of a Mary Sue for me tbh. She’s also pretty full of herself. Also, red hair with a black streak. Um, ok.
Nikolai is the other enchanter, who specializes more on inanimate objects. He’s also insanely talented at a lot of things.
Pasha is the tsesarevich, he sneaks out of the winter palace to have fun, A bit soft and immature for my liking
Yuliana is Pasha’s younger sister, and a bit of a control freak. It’s falls onto her to keep Pasha in check.
I’m not too much of a fan of the love triangle. Nikolai was definitely instalove towards Vika, I felt like Pasha was thrown in for the sake of drama, and even the same for Renata. Yuliana seems to be the only sensible character here, and she doesn’t even get much air time.
I felt that the world building wasn’t enough for me. I wanted more from this. Tell us more about enchanters throughout history, tell us about magic’s abilities and limitations, why are there two mentors who each trained the enchanters and why were they siblings, and where did they come from? Was it passed on to their family for generations? Enlighten us please?
The Crown’s Game was meh. I expected amazing displays of power to one up each other. What we got was more of them half-assedly showing off: repainting some buildings, a lake turned into a fountain where the water changes colour, a marionette show, a gown made out of snow?
The plot twist wasn’t particularly striking either. To quote 10 Things I Hate About You:
I know you can be overwhelmed, and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?
Yeah that would probably sum up my experience in reading this: whelmed.