Book Title: The Crown’s Game
Book Series: The Crown’s Game Book 1
Author: Evelyn Skye
Date Published: May 2016
Summary: 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.
Hi all! It had been a long time since I managed to do a book review. I am extremely busy with work and oil painting that I had to juggle all these at the same time and left me no room to read much so I decided to try the free trial of Audible. This way at least, I’d get to listen to it even when I’m at work doing something, on my drive home, or before I sleep. To cut the chase short, I didn’t enjoy audiobooks as much as with reading the actual book. I always fell asleep. Soooooo, I got the actual book and reread it again from the top. I managed to read it (actual) for 1 day but staggered.
I chose this book because I got so thrilled with the love triangle thingy and that I never get to read much fantasy books. To be honest, the beginning was very intriguing and seems exciting. The enchantments, magic — I’m up for it. The setting too was in Russia which is a major plus. However, as the story progressed, the story became a bit hazy for me…
Apparently, in one kingdom, there only needs to have one enchanter to protect the Tsar (King) and his empire. One person is destined and gifted with the powers of an Imperial Enchanter. When that Imperial Enchanter died, his/her powers were given back to Russia until the next destined Imperial Enchanter was born (not sure when, no definite time frame). But during this era, it was surprising that 2 were gifted at the same time. It is said that it could happen, sort of like a minor glitch in the system, but less likely. So The Crown’s Game was born and the king will choose a winner; an ancient game or duel between the enchanters. Only one could win and death is coming for the other. If the game finishes, the King will choose the worthy one. So these enchanters need to impress the king or better yet kill one another so that the king would be left with no choice. Other way, both is acceptable..
There is a rising upheaval or unrest in Alexander’s (Tsar) empire at this time. An Imperial Enchanter is needed to help protect the Kingdom from an upcoming revolt or war from the Ottomans and other groups against the empire. Neither of these 2 enchanters knew there is another one because it is uncommon to have 2 at the same time. Usually, only one enchanter per 100 / 1000 years existed. Since using magic is unacceptable and prohibited, they need to conceal their identities while growing up.
All books regarding magic have been tampered or destroyed from the olden times and only a few have existed and kept secret in the palace library’s restricted area. Only the Tsar knew about it. Apparently, his daughter Yuliana, a young, smart, and enigmatic princess managed to make herself knowledgeable of these things by snooping. With their mother unwell, her brother who is soon to be crowned as king (Yuliana thinks his brother is too naive and might not protect the empire if the situation gets wort) will take the throne, the Tsar stepping down, plus the reports of attacks and possible war looming against their enemies, she proposed to get an Imperial Enchanter to aide the situation. Being an Imperial Enchanter is actually an honorable position. W/o revealing that they can perform magic, to the masses, these Imperial Enchanters were said to be one of the Tsar’s advisor.
Hmmm… The Crown’s Game is actually a bit confusing for me. It doesn’t have clear mechanics. I don’t see the logic in most of the challenges or things the enchanters’ performed to show their worth to protect the empire. At first the two enchanters were on each other’s throats, performing discreet magic while trying to kill each other. They need to be discreet with their moves so ordinary people won’t know. They each take turns. It had been just about 2 turns when they were trying to kill each other and after that… nah. Vika in one of her turns just trashed Nikolai’s place. She also just moved a whole island making headlines that a new island just rose in the middle of the night. Nikolai beautifying the island. Like… what is this game really about? Just to impress the Tsar (king)? How do you say the other one is worthy and the other one is not by simply performing magics that weren’t even instructed to showcase their ability to protect the empire? Why can’t there be two enchanters? Two heads are better than one right? Tsar can call the shots but he didn’t… I don’t see the logic why. And if the other enchanter lose, the Tsar’s reasoning as to why he/she needs to die is a bit childish. The Tsar doesn’t expect the enchanter living a normal life w/o performing magics but what’s confusing is that the Tsar knew their existence ever since they were young and weren’t of service to him yet. They lived a discreet life hiding their identities. Why can’t they do it after? Hmmm.
The love thing too is a bit confusing. I don’t see much connection or any romantic thing went on in the story yet it’s that easy for both Pasha and Nikolai to declare that they both love Vika when Vika is almost non-romantically reciprocal to both.
But what’s interesting is the ending. Ugh! Yes, a winner has been declared and yes… someone died. The way that someone died really moved me. The thought is there trust me.
There is a book 2 in this series and I think it is entitled The Crown’s Heir. There were things left hanging in this book; when Nikolai’s real root has been revealed and has not been given importance when it should have been a major one, Vika’s real parents still unidentified too. And…. BEEP. Ok!! Ill stop here. Read this book! The ending left me with some questions actually. Really.
I gave this book a 3 out of 5.