The Crown's Game

(The Crown's Game #1, By: Evelyn Skye)


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.

Published May 2016 by Balzer + Bray


I gave this book 4 stars. This story perfectly balanced a sense of whimsy-fun with deep, heartfelt emotion that sucked me in right away. I truly enjoyed experiencing historical Russia through a magical lens - in a world that felt unique yet familiar. Overall this book was a joy to read, and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoyed The Selection, Red Queen, or Three Dark Crowns

The emotions and playfulness throughout this book come to life through the POV of three main characters. The author did a wonderful job creating the characters and making them realistic and layered. While each character was unique - they all shared a similar fate in life (they were each born into a position where they would be forced to play out a certain role in society). Since they all shared a similar struggle, it made the book and alternating POVs cohesive and easy to read.  

I also loved the romantic tension that played out throughout the course of this book. Although it was a bit more of an innocent romance - compared to many full blown YA relationships - I was still completely enamored by the love in this book. The budding relationships pulled me in and kept me emotionally invested in the story.

Finally, the world, built upon a historical version of Russia, was beautifully done. It was fun to be immersed in a setting and culture that I am not very familiar with. I felt like I was travelling through Russia and learning about the culture and history as the story unfolded. While the setting was foreign, the author skillfully made it easy to understand and connect with. There was not an immense about of foreign language or terms, and the background descriptions and world building easily filled in my lacking knowledge of this area of the world. 

I bumped this book down from 5 stars only because I felt that the end of the plot was a bit rushed. After so much amazing emotional build up, the ending felt abrupt and forced. I wanted to spend more time with the characters and their emotions as the story was concluding with a sudden unfolding of events. 

That being said, I still really enjoyed this read and can't wait to get my hands on the sequel to continue reading more of Nikolai, Vika and Pasha's story. 




Have you read this book? Let me know what you thought in the comments below!

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