TITLE: The Crowns Game
AUTHOR: Evelyn Skye
TRIGGER WARNING: character death
WHERE DID I RECEIVE THIS?: HarperCollins sent this to me!
“Imagine, and it shall be. There are no limits.”
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.
Wow can we talk about a crazy ride? I’ll be honest and say the first 200 pages? we’re in my opinion, just okay. I didn’t really get into this story until around page 250, and by the end I was hooked, which was great! but I do have to deduct a star for the fact it took so look for me to get hooked, and that ending? I am not a fan of cliff hanger endings as honestly it can be used as a way to make people buy the next book which I get why it does that etc etc, but I’m still a little mad.
Onto the story, this follows two young people, Nikolai and Vika, they are the only two enchanters in Russia (people with magical abilities) and they get thrown into the crowns game, which is a duel to the death to become the tsar’s enchanter. The first half of the book was really just character and world building, which is normal, but it felt like the pace really dragged and that the plot went nowhere, and then you hit the last 100 pages and the plot just accelerated so fast that I’m still processing everything I read.
Right from the get go, I wanted Nikolai to win, and Nikolai and Vika to fall in love and get a happily ever after. SPOILER ALERT; neither of those things happened and I am a little sad about that. I also have to admit, I am not a fan of Pasha, I understand him and his character, and I can’t wait to see him grow in the sequel. But his decision for the game, while influenced by his sister was still his own and still left me heartbroken.
Now don’t get me wrong, I was obviously invested in this book by the end because I was a crying mess as the plot twist occurred and I couldn’t stop crying until I read the blurb of the next book ( DON’T READ THAT TILL YOU’VE READ THE CROWNS GAME, IT’S GOT A MAJOR SPOILER ) but this was the kind of book that quietly sucked you in and then threw everything in your face and I’ve never had that happen! I kinda have to admit I liked it!
I think my love for Russia and the time period of the Romanov’s heavily influenced my love for the setting and world of this book, as it is set in the reign of the Tsar’s in an alternate version of history where important people know magic still exists, but the common people believe otherwise. It was charming to read about the ball, the customs and the scenery in the world, from the beautiful houses to the nature surrounding them. If I had to pick a favourite thing in this book, it was the world building.
All in all, I say if you like, Russia, Magic, Betrayal, Love Triangles, and Having your heart ripped out? this is the book for you
FYI, if you hate, cliff hangers? don’t pick this one up till the 16th when it’s sequel the crowns fate is released! ( or the 29th if you live in NZ like me )
Until next time,