Title: The Crown’s Game
Author: Evelyn Skye
Publication date: May 17, 2016
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Format: Signed, personalized copy I bought from Kepler’s Bookstore
About the Book:
Vika Andreyev 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
Rants and Raves of The Crown’s Game
First I like to note that this review is a flashback and flash forward response to my two readings of The Crown’s Game.
When I first read The Crown’s Game in the Summer of 2016, I went into the book with such high hopes and the lingering, earful of praises of how amazing it is. At first the book started off really show for me, and I had such a hard time immersing myself into the story. The writing was beautiful but the characters and storyline just would not click with me. But of course the magic, fantasy, Russian setting, and alt-history elements were the main reasons I stuck to finishing the book. All of these elements were beautifully executed on the page, and in the end, I rated The Crown’s Game 2.5 stars out of 5.
I felt bad for not fully loving a book so reminiscent of one of my favorite novels, The Night Circus, but I guess I was just in a terrible reading funk. And as a side note, I am a mood reader, and 2016 set my record of 5 reading slumps–2016 was just a bad year all around. But as the months passed by, The Crown’s Game stuck with me. In my original review of the book, I stated on my Goodreads, “Evelyn Skye’s Russian tale upholds as an unforgettable story about power, betrayal, and friendship,” but I still felt like something was missing. And months after reading The Crown’s Game, it was in my mind, my heart, my soul, and constantly whispering to me for a reread.
Now flash forward to 2017, and my second reading of The Crown’s Game. HOLY MOLY, people, I’m so glad I was in the right reading mood for this book. In preparation for a The Tsar’s Guard Spotlight tour (visit my post HERE), I decided to reread The Crown’s Game to get a more in-depth look into the characters. This was probably the greatest decision I have made this year (yeah, I know it’s only January 20th, hahaha). I cannot believe I forgot how enchanting Skye’s writing is–her words glue you to the page, and with every turning of the page, I felt like I was mesmerized and wrapped in swirls of magic, with a dash of worry lingering over me like a rain cloud. I was finally attached to these characters and their stories.
So as I’m submerging myself into the series, I found the characters to be so perfect, and gut-wrenching and so fully developed with dreams, strengths, flaws, and hopes. Vika is a firecracker! I love how she is portrayed as a female badass protagonist, an enchanter that is not only strong emotionally and physically, but mentally Vika is such a fierce heroine I wanted befriend her and also encourage her to win. And her competitor, Nikolai, a fellow enchanter, is portrayed as a jack-of-all-trades, plagued with worries and loneliness. After being raised by a hellish person, I could not believe how caring and admirable he is as a competitor and friend. And even though he is not my favorite character, Pasha has a whole kingdom on his shoulders, and I have so much faith in him to mature and mentally evolve in the The Crown’s Fate. Skye’s characters are so well-rounded and emotionally developed, that I’m kicking myself for not falling in love with them when I first read this book.
And as I previously loved in my first read of the novel, the elements of magic, fantasy, and the alt-history of Russia were once again cherished in my second reading. I could get lost in Nikolai’s tailoring and tinkering of mechanics and dreams, or in Vika’s ability to make one feel like fizzy champagne. The magic in this book is so beautifully written that it can be both alluring and terrifying at times. In a world that needs more beauty, hope, and aspiration, the enchanters bring their power to full force that is both emotionally gratifying and heart-pounding.
Overall, my second reading of The Crown’s Game came at a perfect time in my life. It came at a time where I needed a fantasy to captivate me in a world of magic and hope, while also serving as an imaginative inspiration to one of my blog posts. I’m so happy that I gave this book a second chance, and I CANNOT wait for the conclusion of this series. I am definitely on the verge to sell my soul to read The Crown’s Fate.
NOTE: I bought this book with my own funds. I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher in an exchange for a review; I reviewed it at my own discretion. All statements and opinions in this review are mine.