The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye
The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye
Series: Crown's Game
On Sale Date: May 17, 2016
Young Adult \ Fantasy & Magic
Ages 13 And Up
Balzer + Bray, 416 pages
Source: ARC from Publisher
My Rating: 4 Stars
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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.
With a gorgeous and unique setting, THE CROWN'S GAME opens in an alternate Imperial Russia under threat from both the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs. The Tsar, fearing for the crown's safety, initiates the Crown's Game. Imagine a secret, long-standing relationship between the ruling Tsar and his Imperial Enchanter who, together, keep the realm safe through both means of cunning and magic. But, there's a catch. There can only be one Enchanter as the magic they draw from the very elements will only allow one to live at a time. THE CROWN'S GAME gives readers two young enchanters-in-training who must compete to the death in a magical battle of skills. Set amidst the vivid backdrop of Saint Petersburg, dangerous magic, and a forbidden romance make for an enticing read.
THE CROWN'S GAME won me over with its imaginative setting. Imperial Russia comes to life through Evelyn Skye's writing as she treats readers to lush courtly life, as well as the wild beauty of its countrysides. Food, customs, and court intrigue are all rendered expertly.
The magical battling draws the reader into the heart of the story. A competition where magic skills are pitted against each other. Vika and Nikolai take turns, much like a battle of chess, creating increasingly more difficult acts of magical wonder. Each trying to impress the Tsar in hopes of becoming his advisor and royal enchanter. The results are breathtaking. The magic they wield needs to be accepted without detailed explanation. It simply is. And, it is page turning. I couldn't wait to see what Vika and Nikolai came up with next.
There is a building of sweet friendship and romance between our clever heroine Vika with fellow enchanter Nikolai and Pasha. I liked how it remained in the background, as the stakes for the battle made it practical. Although I liked each character, I didn't feel a swoony connection to the romance. The magical battles were more than enough to keep me happy with the story.
THE CROWN'S GAME is a great addition to alternate historical fantasy in the YA genre. The ending ensures readers will want to grab the next book while vivid settings, wonderous magic, and danger thrill us.