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Monday, April 25, 2016

Review: The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye

The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye
Series: The Crown's Game #1
Publication Date: May 17, 2016
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
A Young Adult novel
Pages: 416
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Romance

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.
*An advanced reader's copy was provided by the publisher for an honest review*

I've never really gotten into Russian culture or read/watched about anything aside from Fox's historically inaccurate film, Anastasia. So  canyou guess how refreshing The Crown's Game was for me? Like a blooming meadow in spring, and not all this wintry, blizzard of high fantasy crap for the past three months (I love HF, but not a onslaught of it).

After reading the synopsis, I thought I was going to hate this book. I honestly didn't know why I requested it. A love triangle. Two people drawn to each other. These are the tropes of a book that I loathe. I wouldn't even touch a book like this with a ten-foot pole. Eirini would agree.

I loved The Crown's Game. Enchanting cannot begin to describe the writing style Evelyn Skye has. I was down-right entranced. The characters flourished, and I felt as thought I knew Nikolai, Pasha, and Vika all the way down to their depths. Their struggles, the blooming love (though I could have done without the triangle), the beautiful magic at work in the city. The elegance of the magic and the turn-based game these enchanters play, the wit at one-upping the other, it was a fun ride. With the occasional attempt at murder. Skye made sure the world-of-story was as enchanted as the reader was.

Please, don't get me started on Pasha. Or do, because I loved him so much. Pasha is bae, and those who agree, please leave comments below. I cannot rave enough about the cutie that the crown prince of Russia is. Between his exchanges with Nikolai, his younger more ingenious sister, and the cute, blossoming interest in Vika--the boy grew on me. The arc of his character from beginning to end was human, and I enjoyed the humanity and the reactions he produced. And the multi-narrative was a wonderful way for me to be invited into the character's world and thoughts. A terrific strategy that help this book prosper.

To stop this review from dragging on, I am going to remark the unique beauty that The Crown's Game offers. I felt like I was swept into the world of Imperial Russia with magic. I wanted to be there, watching the events unfold as I had in my imagination. Fabulous. I recommend this to all.

This book blew my freaking mind! So happy to give it five targets.