Monday, 18 July 2016 / 2 Comments

The Crown's Game

Title: The Crown's Game
Author: Evelyn Skye
Publisher: Balzer + Bray/Harper Teen
Date of Publication: May 17th 2016
Source: Review copy courtesy of the 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.


My first thought was that this book is reminiscent of The Night Circus - two magicians raised to compete with each other, who find themselves developing feelings for their competitor.

Imperial Russia survives due to its use of magic. An Imperial Enchanter is needed to keep the Empire strong, and avoid it falling to their  Ottoman and Kazakh neighbours. The Enchanter will be chosen via the Crown's game, which is a test of skill and endurance, with only one possible victor.

Vika has been raised and trained in secret by her father on a small island. Nikolai is an orphan, raised by a cold and cruel guardian who cares little for him outside of his magical abilities. When the Game starts, the two are called to the city to produce magical feats to impress the Tsar. When each has exhausted their five moves, the Enchanter will be chosen. Only one will survive.

I loved the rich portrayal of this fictional Russian Empire. It was sufficiently detailed without being laboured, and showed the author's obvious love for Russia.

I found the developing romance between Vika and Nikolai charming and engaging. Rather than focusing on impressing the Tsar with their feats, they use them to impress and woo each other. The addition of Pasha, heir to the throne, also falling for Vika was possibly not entirely necessary, but it did create tension as the choice would eventually come down to his best friend Nikolai, or the girl he loves.

I loved the way the magic worked and the wonders the two magicians created. I found the story engaging right to the end. I won't give the ending away, but I wasn't particularly happy with it. I will be reading the next book to find out what happens next for those who survive.

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  1. I keep hearing everyone say how much they enjoyed this one. It wasn't on my TBR before, but I'll surely be adding it now! :) Great review!


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