ARC Review: The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

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The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye
Genre: YA Historical, Fantasy, Magic
Publication: May 17th 2016 by Balzer + Bray
Series: n/a
Length: 416 pages
Format: eARC from publisher

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.

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After endless promotion and the hype surrounding this book everywhere, I have to admit: it worked! I was super excited and enticed by the lovely cover and intriguing premise. But after everything, it comes down to this: I did like it but I had several problems with it.

THE CROWN’S GAME follows a few characters: Nikolai and Vika, both enchanters, who both have to basically fight to the death to become the Imperial enchanter for the Tsar but here’s the twist: it has to be fought secretly and in a fancy way. See, it’s the tsesarevich’s birthday so both Nikolai and Vika have to impress the royal family as well. I found this concept to be quite interesting, as it was reminiscent of The Hunger Games and The Testing, but with magic and fantasy and royalty.

The characters were interesting, but I felt like they fell flat in the end. I have to admit though, I loved all of the characters because they were so intriguing and had very engrossing backstories, some of which are told in different perspectives throughout the novel. Pasha was probably my favorite main character in this novel because he just seemed to be more dimensional, compared to Vika and Nikolai. The thing about Vika and Nikolai is that they just seemed too cookie-cutter perfect. They basically are flawless, which sort of was the problem. Flaws are what make characters interesting and have depth, and I think the two main characters lacked that depth necessary to really make this novel engrossing.

Usually, I’m a big fan of romance, but this novel just seemed to overdo it. It just felt so over dramatic, and everyone was in love with everyone else. Warning: there is a love triangle in this book, and while I usually don’t mind (or sometimes really like) love triangles, this one didn’t do it for me. I felt like Pasha and Nikolai could have been developed so much more instead of fighting over Vika and her “burning red hair.” Moreover, I feel like Renata, Nikolai’s maid/servant could have played a larger role in this novel besides being the other girl who’s also desperately in love with Nikolai as well.

Despite how much I wanted to love this book, I just didn’t feel it. I admit, the fact that it took me a bit longer to finish this book than it usually takes me to read books could be part of the reason why I didn’t enjoy this novel as much as I wanted to. All in all, I did enjoy the concept of this novel, but while I enjoyed the plot and the idea of this book, the characters just seemed to be underdeveloped, and the romance annoyed me.

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Thank you to Balzer + Bray for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Have you read this book yet? Are you planning to? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!


9 thoughts on “ARC Review: The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

  1. I have been seeing this book everywhere and it makes me a little worried to read it–you know how the hype monster can be. But I love Imperial Russia stories so I will definitely be giving it a chance with your notes in mind 😉


  2. I loved so many aspects of this one! Even though I did feel like it was basically Night Circus in Russia, I thought the characters and the world and the writing was great. You do bring up very valid points though when it comes to the face of the characters and who they actually are. I didn’t think of them as real people. Sure, cheap thrills are cool, but I didn’t know them. Does that make any sense? Anyway, even though we liked and disliked for somewhat different reasons, great review!

    – Eli @ The Silver Words


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