“Imagine, and it shall be. There are no limits.”
Title: The Crown’s Game
Author: Evelyn Skye
Series: The Crown’s Game # 1
Publication: May 17th 2016 by Balzer + Bray
Summary from 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.
Hmm….. well, I really don’t know what to think. I’m torn. I liked it, I really did – but it sort of fell flat in a lot of different areas. I heard so many amazing things about The Crown’s Game and while it did live up to some of them, in other areas it left me decidedly wanting.
The Crown’s Game is set in some sort of fictionalized and fantasied version of Imperial Russia. Which, if you know anything about, was not a happy place. Yet, magically, no one was starving in the streets and yada yada yada. I think this might have been the biggest set back for me. The setting was perfectly realistic. The book was marketed as a fantasy set in a Russian inspired scenery – yet the novel itself is in Russia. No doubt about it. It made everything going on so hard to believe. I mean, you would think if this sort of shit went down anywhere in history it would be recorded in history – especially with the close ties to the Monarchy of whatever nation was involved. The fact that the setting was completely historical, and accurate, made getting into this magic battle-thingy that went down so much more difficult.
On top of that, the characters were card board. I mean, literal cookie cutter cardboard. Fiery red head with the personality and special powers to match? Check? Prince who doesn’t want to be a prince or king and is kindhearted and falls for said redhead? Check. Best friend of prince who is much darker, gloomier, and broodier who also falls in love with said special snowflake? Check. Motherfucking check. I mean, I don’t think I’ve ever read a fantasy that fulfilled every stereotype known to man with a plot to match – not like this. Everything about The Crown’s Game was predictable, YA pish posh.
Vika, Nikolai, and Pasha… what am I going to do with them? I liked it, I mean, I did actually like the book – I just had to mentally remove myself from the experience to get into it. Vika is the special red head with a temper and a quirky personality and magical powers who lives in the woods. Pasha is the next in line for the throne, likes to sneak out and be one of the common people, and is completely in love with Vika while also being a total push over when his sister is involved. Then we have Nikolai, whom I thought had the potential to be very interesting and sort of raise the bar, but he also fell into that Love Triangle Prospect Number Two sort of mold. Honestly, my favorite characters were Ludmilla (the bakery owner) and Renata (who seemed to be the only character with any fucking sense).
So, if you’re looking for a fantasy that will both kill brain cells while keeping you mildly entertained and infuriated all at the same time, The Crown’s Game is the book for you. I’m the blacksheep on this one folks, so you might like it – hell, you might even love it and then come chasing after me with pitchforks and torches.