Blog Tour & ARC Review: The Crown's Game (The Crown's Game #1) by Evelyn Skye10:00
Series: The Crown's Game #1
Author: Evelyn Skye
Published May 17th 2016 by Balzer + Bray
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.
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher. This in no way impacted on my view.
Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few months, you're bound to have heard about this book. When I first heard about The Crown's Game, I was in the middle of revising my Imperial Russia history exam, so I knew this would be a book for me to check out. Back in December, I decided to treat myself with about 10 2016 preorders, and this was top of my wishlist, so I've been waiting, not very patiently, since then for my copy to actually arrive, and when Harper mentioned doing a blog tour to celebrate the UK release of the book, I jumped at the chance to participate, so let's get on with my review.
The Crown's Game takes place in a fictionalised version of the reign of Tsar Alexander I of Russia, where magic, though kept secret, is very much a reality. The Imperial Family have always had an Imperial Enchanter to protect their interests, and themselves, and normally only one child is born per generation whom can fulfil the duties of Imperial Enchanter. This isn't the case here, though. Vika had been brought up believing herself to be the only candidate, so when she receives a formal invitation to take part in the Crown's Game to decide the best Enchanter, she's surprised. Nikolai, on the other hand, has always known there was another like him out there, but had no clue whom that would be. When they arrive at the secretive location to start the Game, they realise they've met before, but can't let anything get in the way of the task at hand - the winner of the game becomes Imperial Enchanter; the loser, loses everything, including their life.
First things first, I just adored this book! The writing hooked me in from the very first page, and I fell in love with the characters as quickly. The main characters, Vika and Nikolai, were unique, and their PoVs represented that. Vika was more headstrong, whereas Nikolai was more of an old soul. Pasha too, Nikolai's best friend, and incidentally, the Tsesarevich of Russia. He had absolutely no clue that the Game was afoot, and thought all the elaborate events happening in St Petersburg were birthday gifts from himself, and not something even more important.
The romantic aspect, I loved, but I can see how some would have problems with it. There is an aspect of a love triangle happening, but not a serious one that takes away from, or even replaces, the actual plot line. I felt like Pasha was more in lust, than in love, with Vika, but Nikolai and Vika's relationship blossomed over the course of the book, and it's safe to say I'm firmly for their ship.
What was best about the book was the magic. Because there is normally only one person with the power strong enough to be Imperial Enchanter, both Vika and Nikolai have different capabilities with their magic skills. Vika is more at home with natural magic - stuff like the weather and natural elements, where as Nikolai's magic is more at ease with textiles, making his own clothes, and manipulating building materials, etc. They were like the opposites of each other, but complemented each other at the same time.
The ending of the book was a killer, just be warned. When I got to the final page, and realised that was the end of the book, I couldn't believe it. I was sat on the metro, and I bet I looked very weird flicking through the book trying to find more pages. After such a brilliant debut, I'll definitely be preordering book 2 as soon as it becomes available, and will likely have another killed few months to wait until I have it in my hands, and can read it. I can't recommend this book enough, and I look forward to reading more from Evelyn in the future.