The Crown’s Game (The Crown’s Game #1) by Evelyn Skye

Vika 26156203Andreyeva 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.

(via Goodreads)

A re-imagined Russian history, Skye’s Crown’s Game takes place during the Romanov dynasty. Our two main characters Nikolai and Vika are enchanters, able to conjur power the likes few have witnessed.

However, there is only ever one enchanter alive at the same time, so the Russian royal family begin the ‘Crown’s Game’ – a duel between the two enchanters. Only one will survive.

I found it difficult, on occasion, to engage with this book. I put it down and picked it up a few times. And it wasn’t the lack of good writing. It was a well crafted story and the historical elements lifted from the page effortlessly.

It was the characters. I found them two dimensional. Boring, sometimes. I didn’t experience that overwhelming concern as to which one of them would die. I found Pasha’s actions derivative. We’ve seen the royal-who-doesn’t-want-to-be-royal character a million times. I would have preferred his sister Yuliana to be a main character. She was interesting.

And what was the point of Aizhana? There was absolutely no overall point to her character. Nikolai could have learned about her from another character. Galina, maybe?

This book has received so much hype. I was left wanting more. I will probably read book two to see if it picks up, but overall I’m left disappointed.

3/5

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