I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: The Crown's Game #1
Published by Balzer + Bray on May 17th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
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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.
Happy Book Birthday to The Crown’s Game!! There has been so much hype about this book online lately and I was so stoked when I had the opportunity to get an ARC copy at YALLWEST. On top of that, Evelyn Skye was actually there and I was able to get it signed. See the Rafflecopter at the end of my review for a chance to win this signed ARC!
I really loved the world in this book! This book is set an in alternate history Russia – and I LOVED that! Parts of their “history” overlaps with our own history and I found that to be so cool. I know when people hear “fantasy in a Russian-inspired setting” their mind automatically goes to the Grisha series, but honestly I didn’t find these two worlds even remotely alike. The Crown’s Game is set in actual Russia, but a Russia with magic! It reads very much like a historical fantasy, but with a fairy tale feel (which is different from a fantasy feel to me). The magic in this book is the type that doesn’t need much explanation or has many rules, it just EXISTS and I liked that.
While I enjoyed the characters in this book, for some reason I didn’t emotionally connect with them as much as I would have liked. I felt like I was watching all the events unfold from afar. I think this emotional detachment from the characters added to the fairy tale feel to the story. There is a forbidden romance aspect here, which is a trope I always love, but unfortunately I wasn’t very invested in the romance. Some of the character interactions struck me as superficial and a little awkward. Even though the characters didn’t elicit much emotion from me until the very end of the story (I shed a tear or two – what else is new 🙂 ), I still enjoyed getting to know them and seeing the story play out.
The premise of this story very much reminded me of The Night Circus, but in a very different setting. The competition is a one to see who can outperform the other enchanter’s magic, not a competition in which they are directly fighting each other. At the same time, the two enchanters are welcome to try to kill each other during the competition. I found the competition interesting, but it wasn’t as action packed or gripping as I had hoped it would be.
Overall, I thought this was a fun and beautifully written story that read like a fairy tale to me. I enjoyed getting to know these characters and seeing their magical competition play out. While I didn’t emotionally connect with the characters, I still loved the conclusion of the story. To me, this read like a magical fairy tale and not an action packed fantasy. If magical fairy tale sounds appealing to you, give this book a try!
I’m giving away a signed ARC of The Crown’s Game! This giveaway is US only (sorry international friends 🙁 – shipping sucks!) You must be 18 or older to enter, or have parental permission (I will need to get your mailing address if you win!). Giveaway ends in two weeks on May 31!