Perfect for fans of Shadow and Bone and Red Queen, The Crown's Game is a thrilling and atmospheric historical fantasy set in imperial Russia about two teenagers who must compete for the right to become the Imperial Enchanter - or die in the process - from debut author 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.
©2016 Evelyn Skye (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers
"Gorgeous and richly imagined." (Sara Raasch, New York Times best-selling author of the Snow Like Ashes series)
"Teeming with hidden magic and fiery romance." (Sabaa Tahir, New York Times best-selling author of An Ember in the Ashes)
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"Stunning debut from Evelyn Skye!"
Right off the bat, THE CROWN’S GAME had a teensy bit of a NIGHT CIRCUS feel and I was instantly hooked. Two opposing magicians (or in this case, enchanters)? Yes, please! I easily immersed myself in this book and had just a wonderful time reading it from start to finish. Evelyn Skye did a fantastic job with this book and my only regret (kidding, I don’t really regret anything) is that I read it so early because I need more of these books NOW!
THE CROWN’S GAME was a really fun read for me. I was a bit worried at first because I know nothing about Imperial Russia (history was not my favorite growing up… and now I kick myself for it!) but I had nothing to worry about. The book is based on actual historical figures but the author has taken liberties with the facts and setting and turned them into a fantasy-based story. I loved the way that the history (the little that I actually knew) and the culture shaped the story and really brought the book to life! I absolutely loved the feel of the book and I really felt like I could picture each scene so well.
The concept of competing enchanters was exciting, nerve-wracking, and delightful all at the same time. Vika and Nikolai are forced into The Crown’s Game, a competition which one will win the right to serve the tsar as the official enchanter. The challenges between these two enchanters is absolutely delightful. The rules in place state that any “turn” (they alternate performing a large magical feat and have five turns to impress the tsar), cannot harm the common people so Vika and Nikolai come up with ways to enhance the city and oh. Their magic is simply gorgeous. I fell head over heels for the enchantments that Evelyn Skye designed for her characters and they were beautiful to experience. Each one really brought the book to life so much more and I was positively in love with how each turn was handled. Each one was also exponentially more exciting as the two enchanters built off of the previous works all the while under immenent threat of being murdered by the other. Oh yeah, did I mention that this is a competition TO THE DEATH? I spent the entire book falling in love with these two characters (and shipping them, obviously) and still somehow I was like nah, one of them will live. It can’t end in one of them dying, right? (This is also my Gansey denial.) I won’t tell you how it ends but it was something that I really and truly did not see coming and I was impressed and shocked all at the same time. I just really loved dichotomy of bringing harmony to St. Petersburg as Vika and Nikolai took each of their turns and the constant panic and fear as both of them feared for their lives when that new turn arrived.
I absolutely loved each character in this book as well. Of course I loved the two main characters, Vika and Nikolai, and how they came together in this story. They really balance each other out and fit together so well. Vika can easily manipulate things in nature — water, land, food — and Nikolai is best with textiles and materials — wood, fabric, metal, etc. They were brought together as the only two living enchanters in Russia but I loved that their magic and ability wasn’t identical. I also loved how their relationship was slow to develop (being that they’re pitted against each other and all) and that things and feelings just slowly start falling into place. It really just felt so natural and wonderful.
The other characters are great as well. Pasha (the prince) plays a huge role in this book in so many ways and I absolutely loved him. He brings such positivity and joy to the book and at the same time provides a very large point of conflict with Nikolai as his best friend (who he doesn’t know possesses magical abilities) and his instant attraction to Vika. His role in the book is so amazingly crafted and interwoven with every other character’s story line and I was so impressed!
I feel like I could go on and on but I will wrap it up by saying do not miss out on this book. I finished it and then immediately wanted to read more! THE CROWN’S GAME was a wonderful book and I can’t wait for more from Evelyn Skye!
"Great world building, slow pacing, love triangle"
The writer did a great job of building up the world of 1800s St. Petersburg, Russia. The scenery details were great. But the story dragged on in many places. Also, the characters we're predictable, and I'm over the whole love triangle bit. I found the female protagonist to be not as sympathetic as I would have liked, as she made many choices that she knew went against her best interest - and everyone else's - and it put many people into a catch-22 that was easily avoidable. There was a nice amount of realism in the end with it being mostly bitter not sweet; reminded me a bit of The Theif Lord in that way. Not my cup of tea, but you may enjoy it.
As always, Steve West is great on the narration.
The Story had me wanting more every second. I hope there is an Epilogue or a sequel to this story. I is truly amazing!
"A Bit Too Long"
Great story! There where parts of the story that didn't move the plot along and could have been left out so make the story more concise.
Loved the Russian dialect & accent!!! It made the story seem more alive and easy to follow. Beautifully woven characters with just the right amount of suspense and drama. Wonderful read.
.... I barely know what to say right now... so here goes ~ a mess of words and emotions. Don't worry, this is spoiler free.
"Imagine, and it shall be. There are no limits."
First of all, the elephant in the room. The plot of this book is nearly IDENTICAL to the Night Circus. Maybe I should rant about that but you know what.. I didn't really care? I love both books so I didn't mind the nostalgia. There are parts I liked more about each of the books- but I just found myself savoring this book to pieces regardless. Plus, this one is going to be a trilogy - so I see the series spinning off drastically from where the Night Circus ended.
Okay, now that is out of the way...
HOLY WOW. I just need to point out all the reasons I loved this book.
Magic Russia will never ever get old. Never. (BRB going to watch Anastasia now...) And not only is the magic system here lush, it is completely unique and imaginative.
The Writing + Pacing
This is is where I see the most complaints. But honestly, I just savored it. I'm glad it wasn't too fast paced. But yes, this is a slower book... so don't go into it expecting otherwise. The writing itself was every bit as beautiful as The Night Circus - the prose, descriptions.. everything!
“This was the sort of book one ought to read in pieces, to properly appreciate and savour each bit. And yet he wanted to devour it whole. Messily and all at once.”
I couldn't have said it better myself.
I think I can safely say that each character will tug at your heartstrings (though Nikolai was my favorite for obvious reasons.. gentle, sly, and TOPHAT.) Just enjoy discovering each one... I'd rather not give any further hints.
As it was in the The Night Circus, the game aspect of the plot was just heartbreaking. It was a bit more vicious in this book... more intense and emotional. Yes, there was a "bit" of insta-love, but it was not handled the way a YA book typically handles it. There was much more of a connection than just attraction even though some things seemed to escalate quickly. I had no complaints in that department. Overall, I was completely swept away in the entirety of this story.
Someone help me because I am a WRECK. No, I am not OK. Will I be? That rests in your hands, Evelyn Skye. Please save us all. I literally beg you. PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD IN THIS WORLD.
For real though I need some serious comfort food right now...
Steve West was just... phenomenal.
"The Game You Never See coming . . ."
It was kinda confusing at first trying to get the names situated and then who was related to who - then about at the beginning of the GAME, clarity made its way upon me and I could follow. A certain love tryst could have been added, I think that would have had GRAVE (no pun) situations, to add to the heap of cross troubles and hidden agendas.. LOVE IT and the ending, though I could for see, was a great welcome to the second edition, yet to be released.
I am eager to purchase when it becomes available! 4.5 / 5
"The 'Night Circus' for young adults, and in Russia"
I could not stop drawing parallels to the novel "The Night Circus". Possibly because I read the Night Circus first, and also because it's a bit darker, I liked it better than this book. But man, the beats, and even the pros/cons of each of their magics is SO similar.
I would recommend that book over this one.
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