|Tour stop before this one!|
Title: The Crown's Game
Author: Evelyn Skye
Pub Date: May 17th, 2016
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Format: Hardcover, eBook
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.
Filled with twists and turns, I felt the characters' struggles between the price of winning vs. the price of losing their soul. The entire concept is so thought-provoking; I cannot wait for this book to come out. - Nova @ Out of Time
Right off the bat, let's just talk about the lack of Russian-inspired fantasy in YA. Really, all I can think of at the moment is Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. I loved that book so it's no surprise that I really really enjoyed The Crown's Game too! I hope that a bunch of people follow this lead and write more fantasies inspired by not only Russian culture, but any culture that is lacking representation.
As I already said, I loved how much I had to think while reading this. The theme that just blew me away was about how it is/isn't worth it to win if you're losing a piece of your soul. This theme is carried throughout the novel and you can see struggle on each side. It humanizes the characters so much, brings them to life and gosh, I just felt so bad for them. Characters that are strong are always an important part to the story but in this case, characters who are being strong because they literally don't have any other choice feel ridiculously human which is an awesome feat for an author!
Something that I wasn't completely sold on was the romance aspect. To be fair, I wasn't really in the mood for one. And to add in a love-triangle? My apathetic feelings were all over the place but the story itself made up for what I didn't like. In the end, however, I was personally victimized by an event and I realized that I actually do like the romance - it just took a while. This is mostly because I felt as though the stakes were built so high that the romance looked odd and out of place but by the end, I realize that in order for me to really have felt for the characters, romance was essential!
In terms of plot, I felt like it went from typical to a big surprise. Whenever I read stories, I always expect a certain "thing" to happen based on the events or the terms of the conflicts. However, the verdict of this story wasn't what I expected. I was so set in my ways that "this is what is going to happen!" and also very very shocked. Evelyn keeps you guessing with the plot, which is so important to me as a reader. I must be challenged as I can get a little judgmental and The Crown's Game just smiled at me and said, "Nope! You shall not guess my secrets!"
Overall, there are still lots of loose ends which makes me excited for the sequel! Skye has done so much with her world and I just cannot imagine the amount of action that is going to go down in the second book. Look at me, waiting for that when the first isn't even out yet. If that isn't an indication to read this, than hopefully, the song below is!