Hi everyone! I'm the first stop on the blog tour for The Crown's Game, a new fantasy novel by Evelyn Skye about two enchanters who must fight in a duel to determine whose magic is strongest. The winner becomes the Imperial Enchanter - the loser dies. If that sounds like your thing, I hope you enjoy my review! (And if it doesn't, read my review anyway because you might change your mind. And look at how beautiful the cover is. LOOK.)
The Crown's Game (The Crown's Game #1) by Evelyn Skye
Publisher: Balzer +Bray
Released: May 17th 2016
My Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Find it 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.
The Crown’s Game was an enjoyable read and while I had a few issues with it, I think it won me over by the end, and I’m looking forward to picking up book two when it’s released!
Vika was an enchanter, and had trained her whole life to become the Tsar’s Imperial Enchanter. Enchanters were rare, and it never even occurred to her, or her father, that she might not be the only one. She was raised with the confidence and the knowledge that she WOULD be the Imperial Enchanter - not that she would have to compete for the position. Even upon finding out there was another enchanter, Vika still wasn’t too concerned - until she realised the loser of the Crown’s Game would be killed. Everyone expected Vika and the other enchanter to fight seriously, to attempt to kill each other to win, to do whatever it took. And Vika was conflicted - she made half-hearted attempts to kill Nikolai, and he made half-hearted attempts to kill her, but really, I’m not convinced they tried too hard, even before they really knew each other. The way they showed off their magic was unexpected too, but I actually quite liked the artistic nature of it. And while I thought she was a bit impetuous at times, I liked Vika too. She was trying to deal with the situation the best she could.
Nikolai, the other enchanter, was aware that he would be competing in the Crown’s Game. Unlike Vika, he knew he was not the only enchanter, and it gave him somewhat of an advantage at the start. He thought he could do what he was taught by his mentor, the cold and ruthless Galina, and get rid of the other enchanter early on - but when it really came down to it, he faltered. And once he got to know Vika, he was increasingly panicked at how things would turn out, because he knew he would no longer be able to kill this girl. I did like Nikolai, but I feel the romance between him and Vika was a bit rushed, especially since Vika didn’t even know he knew who she was and what she looked like until later on in the book. I also think the ending was a bit dramatic, considering the two hadn’t known each other long at all, and I wasn’t convinced by it. But, the last few pages tdid have me interested, so I am intrigued to find out what happens next.
Pasha, the prince, was best friends with Nikolai, but knew nothing about this magic. I didn’t know what to think of Pasha. He seemed decent but then suddenly changed very quickly towards the end of the book, and while I know he was extremely upset by what had happened, it seemed a bit unbelievable that he changed so drastically. I also think he became too obsessed with Vika too quickly - but, that being said, he was an interesting character and I would like to know what becomes of him in the next book.
Plot-wise, I found the pacing pretty good, and while the world-building was a bit patchy, I was impressed by the fact that I liked both POVs, which is unusual for me (I am not usually a huge fan of dual POVs). I also liked the mystery aspects that unravelled towards the end of the book and am looking forward to finding out more about Nikolai and Vika’s histories in the sequel!
Overall, The Crown’s Game was a quick and engrossing read, and while I didn’t absolutely love it, it was definitely worth reading, and I’d recommend it if you like Russian settings and fantasy.
The Crown's Game is Evelyn Skye's debut novel. Find her via the links below: