Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye - Review

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.

 ---------------------------- Amazon, B&N, Goodreads ----------------------------

So I finished The Crown's Game at 12:30 this morning. I'm going to try and get my feelings down, though they might be indiscernible and make no sense. So get ready. 

First of all, I absolutely loved The Crown's Game. If you like V.E. Schwab's A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Shadows, you will love this book.

The world is incredibly vivid and rich with both Russian culture and history as well as Evelyn's own unique touches. The characters are complex and interesting. The magic and lore is fascinating, not so complex that it takes a lot of thinking but explained in such an ethereal, mystic, almost natural way. I liked that it was this natural force, interwoven in the country and the people themselves.

Overall, I thought the story was great. Some people might find some of the angst - the love almost at first sight, the secrets surrounding the Game, the mother/son father/daughter issues - to be a little trying. It's really the only reason I'm not giving it 5 cupcakes. These things didn't bother me, probably because I was expecting it from the beginning and I enjoy those plot points in a fantasy book like this, but some may find it too predictable/expected.

The real star of this book (as it should be I think?) is the magic and the tasks that Vika and Nikolai undertake. They make the plot move well both in conflict and it aesthetics - the way that each character plays with magic, the way that their magic is described, and the way their magic interacts with one another, is gorgeous and visceral. The tasks and their use of magic reveals so much about each character, whether it's Vika and Nikolai fighting for the right to live, their competitive mentors Sergei and Galina, or the flighty and restless prince, Pasha. Much like the magic flows throughout the city and both enchanters, it plays with the reader's senses - each turn is filled not only with grandiose, stunning visual acts of power, but also quieter, gentler gifts, as if the book in itself was one of the moves in the game, a thing of power and beauty and magic.

The book as a whole was a journey. Pasha, Nikolai's best friend and prince of Russia, is always searching for an adventure, and this story is a great one. While I predicted the end of the book about halfway through my reading, it didn't dull the feelings of apprehension, adrenaline, and wonder when I reached the end. The Crown's Game is filled with magic, power, and heart and I can't wait (I CAN'T WAIT) until the sequel, The Crown's Heir, coming next year.
Find out more about Evelyn and her works here:

Happy Reading!


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