May 22nd

Review of The Crown’s Game

Posted in Reviews
The Crowns Game



Title: The Crown’s Game
Author: Evelyn Skye
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Date Published: May 17, 2016
Where I got the book: Purchased from Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.

“The island, her thoughts whispered, and the wind obeyed, whisking her like champagne raindrops over Nevsky Prospect . . .”

I pre-ordered The Crown’s Game long before its release and I’m so very glad I did! I have a fascination with Russian culture and this book has it in spades. While it takes place in an alternate (magical) Russia, the setting, the language, the food, and the history are all the same. The imagery used is incredible. I can see the birch forest on Ovchinin Island, the buildings along the Nevsky Prospect, and watch the magical marionette ballet in my head. I love all the food descriptions! I swear Evelyn was inside my head while she was writing this book because food descriptions make me so happy! The oreshki cookies, the buckwheat kasha with mushrooms and butter, the magical floating cream puffs, I’m in love, and so very hungry! The descriptions alone make me eager to see what other books Evelyn Skye has in store for us!

“. . . Vika was like a jinni whose bottle was too small to contain her. One day, I’ll create a world where there are no bottles at all, she thought.”

Vika and Nikolai are such a pair. Nikolai, an orphan raised in the city by a woman of means, and Vika, the daughter of a baron raised in the country in a simpler style. They complement each other brilliantly; their different backgrounds giving them different insights into the same situation. Their magic takes on very different forms, but as the story develops we see that they are complimentary none-the-less. I enjoyed watching them struggle; their emotions and passion for each other growing even as their will to live struggled in opposition to those passions. Renata and Ludmila are great secondary characters. Ludmila is filled with humor that takes some of the seriousness out of the game and all the stress it’s putting on Vika. Renata is far too serious, but her helpful, sober nature is a good foil for Ludmila’s carefree attitude. I wish I could have developed more of a connection to Pasha and his sister Yuliana. While they were active in this book, it is only at the end that we get a good look at their true character. I’m hoping to see and hear more from them in the next book. I look forward to seeing more growth and dimension to all of these characters in book two. The Crown’s Game was like an introduction, I hope to develop a deeper relationship with them in book 2!

“Like the puppets, she and her opponent had never had a choice: their destiny was a pas de deux, a splendor and a torment fated for the two of them.”

The plot was vastly different than I expected it to be. This is not a violent magical battle to the death, though it might seem that way. The magical battle is more tempered, subtle, artistic, and beautiful. It’s as if you are watching a ballet; while the bad guy is making his entrance you can’t help but admire the beauty and skill of his dancing. The romance is also very different. There is an instant connection, but it does not continue in a predictable manner. Instead you are often left wondering what is to become of them and their feelings. While the Tsar is the perpetrator of this terrible game pitting Vika and Nikolai against each other, none of them is the character that most scares me. Aizhana is terribly creepy! I won’t give anything away, but I’m hoping she plays a huge part in book 2! The ending, wow that ending. It was brilliant. It was painful, and emotional, and truly exciting. It wasn’t the kind of cliffhanger that makes you hate the author, but it will make you curse the year long wait for book 2 and keep you pondering theories!!

“For even she knew there was only so much one could do to protect a winter moth drawn to an icy flame.”

If you love Russian culture, magic, incredible imagery, and impossible decisions, this is definitely the book for you!

The Crowns Game



Title: The Crown’s Game
Author: Evelyn Skye
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Date Published: May 17, 2016
Where I got the book: Purchased from Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.

“The island, her thoughts whispered, and the wind obeyed, whisking her like champagne raindrops over Nevsky Prospect . . .”

I pre-ordered The Crown’s Game long before its release and I’m so very glad I did! I have a fascination with Russian culture and this book has it in spades. While it takes place in an alternate (magical) Russia, the setting, the language, the food, and the history are all the same. The imagery used is incredible. I can see the birch forest on Ovchinin Island, the buildings along the Nevsky Prospect, and watch the magical marionette ballet in my head. I love all the food descriptions! I swear Evelyn was inside my head while she was writing this book because food descriptions make me so happy! The oreshki cookies, the buckwheat kasha with mushrooms and butter, the magical floating cream puffs, I’m in love, and so very hungry! The descriptions alone make me eager to see what other books Evelyn Skye has in store for us!

“. . . Vika was like a jinni whose bottle was too small to contain her. One day, I’ll create a world where there are no bottles at all, she thought.”

Vika and Nikolai are such a pair. Nikolai, an orphan raised in the city by a woman of means, and Vika, the daughter of a baron raised in the country in a simpler style. They complement each other brilliantly; their different backgrounds giving them different insights into the same situation. Their magic takes on very different forms, but as the story develops we see that they are complimentary none-the-less. I enjoyed watching them struggle; their emotions and passion for each other growing even as their will to live struggled in opposition to those passions. Renata and Ludmila are great secondary characters. Ludmila is filled with humor that takes some of the seriousness out of the game and all the stress it’s putting on Vika. Renata is far too serious, but her helpful, sober nature is a good foil for Ludmila’s carefree attitude. I wish I could have developed more of a connection to Pasha and his sister Yuliana. While they were active in this book, it is only at the end that we get a good look at their true character. I’m hoping to see and hear more from them in the next book. I look forward to seeing more growth and dimension to all of these characters in book two. The Crown’s Game was like an introduction, I hope to develop a deeper relationship with them in book 2!

“Like the puppets, she and her opponent had never had a choice: their destiny was a pas de deux, a splendor and a torment fated for the two of them.”

The plot was vastly different than I expected it to be. This is not a violent magical battle to the death, though it might seem that way. The magical battle is more tempered, subtle, artistic, and beautiful. It’s as if you are watching a ballet; while the bad guy is making his entrance you can’t help but admire the beauty and skill of his dancing. The romance is also very different. There is an instant connection, but it does not continue in a predictable manner. Instead you are often left wondering what is to become of them and their feelings. While the Tsar is the perpetrator of this terrible game pitting Vika and Nikolai against each other, none of them is the character that most scares me. Aizhana is terribly creepy! I won’t give anything away, but I’m hoping she plays a huge part in book 2! The ending, wow that ending. It was brilliant. It was painful, and emotional, and truly exciting. It wasn’t the kind of cliffhanger that makes you hate the author, but it will make you curse the year long wait for book 2 and keep you pondering theories!!

“For even she knew there was only so much one could do to protect a winter moth drawn to an icy flame.”

If you love Russian culture, magic, incredible imagery, and impossible decisions, this is definitely the book for you!

By Kate Woods

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Review of The Crown’s Game

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