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The Crown's Game
     

The Crown's Game

4.2 22
by Evelyn Skye
 

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The New York Times bestseller The Crown’s Game is a thrilling and atmospheric historical fantasy about two teenagers who must compete for the right to become Russia’s Imperial Enchanter—or die in the process—from debut author Evelyn Skye. Perfect for fans of Shadow and Bone and Red Queen.

Vika Andreyeva can

Overview

The New York Times bestseller The Crown’s Game is a thrilling and atmospheric historical fantasy about two teenagers who must compete for the right to become Russia’s Imperial Enchanter—or die in the process—from debut author Evelyn Skye. Perfect for fans of Shadow and Bone and Red Queen.

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.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
03/01/2016
Gr 8 Up—In an alternate 19th-century Russia, the tsar can call upon the abilities of an enchanter. Normally, only one exists at a time. In the rare case that two are born, they must compete, because Russia's inherent magic will allow only one to remain alive. Vika is an expert at controlling the elements and has been training her whole life to serve her country, unaware that another enchanter exists. Nikolai, best friend to the tsar's son, Pasha, who does not know of Nikolai's ability, has been training with his mentor explicitly for the Crown's Game. When the game begins, Vika and Nikolai take turns showing off their magical prowess for the tsar, creating wonders that get more powerful with each turn. Friendships, budding romances, and betrayal among Nikolai, Vika, and Pasha make the stakes even higher in a Game that will cost Nikolai or Vika their life. The forefront of this speculative fiction title, the action-packed, magical duel, is set against the backdrop of a richly detailed world. It is not surprising that Pasha and Nikolai fall for Vika, though Vika's pragmatism stops anything from developing. The book ends with one winner remaining, but the final sentence hints that the loser has not disappeared forever. Readers will eagerly await the next installment. VERDICT A blend of Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus (Doubleday, 2011) and Leigh Bardugo's Shadow and Bone (Holt, 2012), this work will make a solid addition to young adult collections.—Marissa Lieberman, East Orange Public Library, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2016-02-17
A star-crossed pair is magically compelled to duel to the death in this sumptuous, Tolstoy-flavored fantasy debut. In 1825 the tsar of an alternate Russia desperately needs an Imperial Enchanter, and there are two possible candidates: bold (almost feral) Vika Andreyevna, of aristocratic lineage but raised in humble isolation; and fiercely ambitious Nikolai Karimov, born a poor Kazakh orphan but groomed for elegant St. Petersburg society. Despite their instant attraction, they are doomed to obey ancient tradition and compete in the Crown's Game. The winner will attain "unimaginable power"—but for the loser, instant death. Fiery Vika, who specializes in nature enchantments, is well-balanced by the calculating Nikolai, skilled in mechanics and artifice; their escalating magical displays cleverly showcase their opposing talents and personalities and how they complement rather than clash. Multiple points of view highlight the vivid secondary characters who play pivotal roles—as does a gorgeous, fairy-tale version of St. Petersburg, almost a character in itself. The plot is not so much dramatic as operatic, with masked balls, thwarted passions, fantastical feats, tortured love quadrangles, heartbreaking sacrifices, and vengeful secrets from beyond the grave. And, like many an opera, the climax is beautifully tragic, leading to a poignant, bittersweet epilogue with just enough bread crumbs to leave open the possibility of a sequel. Wildly romantic, wholly immersive, and gloriously over-the-top. (Fantasy. 12 & up)
Booklist Online
“Skye skillfully incorporates Russian history, detailed and intriguing backstories for all protagonists, and inventive feats of magic by the two young enchanters…[in this] delightfully engaging romance.”
Sabaa Tahir
“The Crown’s Game is a captivating tale that deftly transports readers to a mysterious and fascinating fantasy world, one teeming with hidden magic and fiery romance.”
Sara Raasch
“Utterly enchanting. The true wizardry is in the atmosphere—Skye crafts a Russia of magic and elegance, depicting St. Petersburg in such a breath-taking way that you’ll swear you’re standing on the banks of the Neva and dancing through the halls of the Winter Palace.”
Hafsah Faizal
“It was beautiful. It was terrible. I loved it.”
Angela Mann
“The Night Circus meets Cinderella in an alternate Russia. This extraordinary world has everything from insanely creative acts of magic, political intrigue, hope against all odds, romance, and oh-such-high-stakes-non-stop action. It is hands-down honest-to-goodness brilliant. Bravo.”
Sara Grochowski
“Gorgeous and richly imagined, The Crown’s Game is a dazzling exploration of the choices we make when faced with impossible situations and our darker selves. Readers will fall unabashedly in love with this novel.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062422583
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/17/2016
Series:
Crown's Game , #1
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
18,093
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 6.50(h) x 1.30(d)
Lexile:
HL800L (what's this?)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Evelyn Skye was once offered a job by the CIA, she not-so- secretly wishes she was on So You Think You Can Dance, and if you challenge her to a pizza-eating contest, she guarantees she will win. When she isn’t writing, Evelyn can be found chasing her daughter on the playground or sitting on the couch immersed in a good book and eating way too many cookies. She is also the author of the New York Times bestseller The Crown’s Game. Evelyn can be found online at www.evelynskye.com and on Twitter @EvelynSkyeYA.

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The Crown's Game 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite new book and author! Did not want to stop eading!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Unlike many others who were anticipating this book for months, I just found it last week at a local bookstore in Malaysia. As an avid lover of Russian and Kazakh culture, the cover of this novel caught me eye. I instantly knew it was Saint Petersburg, and after reading the summary on the back, I knew I had to buy this book. After reading it, I was a slightly disappointed. I love how Skye chose to use Imperial Russia as the setting of the book, and how the characters have authentic Russian names and surnames. I especially appreciate how Nikolai and Aizhana were Kazakh. Most people don't know the first thing about Kazakh culture, so I was very happy when she created Kazakh characters. And now onto the actual story itself. For the most part, I enjoyed it. It was great. The magic was intriguing. The idea of all of Russia's magic being split between two enchanters was cool. What I did NOT like was how shallow some of the characters were, like Vika and Yuliana. I wish Skye would have expanded on these characters, especially Vika, being a main protagonist in the novel. I would also have liked to learn more of Vika's past, as Nikolai's was explained pretty much in depth (he's from the Kazakh steppe, his mother was Aizhana, his father the Tsar, etc…). The first 3/4 of the book were pretty boring, honestly. I mean, c'mon Vika and Nikolai! You're in a death battle! Show some more urgency! Like do you really not want the position as Imperial Enchanter? There wasn't much action going on until the last 50-100 pages or so of the book. The only thing that kept me interested while Vika, Nikolai, and Pasha tried to solve their love triangle problem was Aizhana. She is one helluva character. She kept me at the edge of my seat when the main characters' problems were boring me. She's menacing, mysterious; everything I love about a villain (if she counts as one, that is). Plus, by "Crown's Game", I thought the magic they would use would be more intense. Not coloring the Neva River or painting buildings in Saint Petersburg (though the dream benches idea was very creative). Like I said, it's a death battle. The ending genuinely surprised me. I really enjoyed that part, and it left me wondering what will happen in the novel to come. So, in general, pretty good book. If you like romance, love triangles, and magic: this is the book for you. Just be prepared for some mellow parts.
MissPrint 5 months ago
Usually, only one enchanter is born to continue the line of magicians with a long history of serving the tsar and protecting Russia from its enemies. When two are born, the tsar initiates the Crown's Game where the rival enchanters can showcase their talents and prove they deserve to be the only true enchanter in Russia. Vika Andreyeva has been honing her elemental magic with her father since she was a child. She has always assumed becoming the Imperial Enchanter was her birthright, never imagining there were others like her. Nikolai Karimov's mechanical magic is unmatched--a useful quality to help him lead the life of a gentleman without the funds to match. His magic brought him to the attention of his mentor and his training gives Nikolai the life he never could have imagined as an orphan on the Russian steppe. He is determined to win the game and claim the life he has been promised. When they are summoned to compete against each other Vika and Nikolai meet as enemies. At first. But they are also drawn to each other in ways neither can fully grasp. Only one of them can win the game and only one of them can survive. But even winning may not be enough to protect their hearts in The Crown's Game (2016) by Evelyn Skye. The Crown's Game is Skye's debut novel and the start of a series. The Crown's Game is a historical fantasy set in an alternate Russia where magic flourishes and is a key part of Russia's heritage, not to mention its defenses. Skye grounds this story in well-researched and thoroughly described details of Russian culture and history. The novel is written in close third person with chapters alternating between the points of view of several characters including Vika, Nikolai, the tsar's son and heir Pasha, Pasha's sister Yulia, and others. While the variety of characters rounds out the story it also, unfortunately, decreases the chances for character development. Despite the title and the marketing for this book, The Crown's Game is not the high stakes battle readers might expect. Instead of a fierce battle, the game proves to be more of a magical showcase where, during its early stages, the stakes and ultimate outcome of the game often seem to lack real consequences. Skye does an excellent job of bringing her version of Russia to life. By contrast the fantasy elements of this story are weaker. The magic system lacks internal logic to match the urgency suggested by the story. In particular, it feels arbitrary that there can be only one enchanter. While this may be something that will develop in later installments, it serves as little more than a plot hole here. The Crown's Game is an ambitious novel is rife with ambience and intrigue as both Vika and Nikolai discover uncomfortable truths about their pasts as they move through the game. Twists, shocks, and surprising relationships further increase the tension. Possible Pairings: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, The Game of Love and Death by Martha A. Brockenbrough, Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski, Iron Cast by Destiny Soria, Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White
blamethebooks 5 months ago
Let's start with what I liked about The Crown's Game. The setting was wonderful. Russia in the time of the Romanovs...with magic. That alone is enough to make me start drooling. I really enjoyed what Evelyn did with the world and I really felt like I could visualize everything that was happening in the plot. I also enjoyed a lot of the characters. Are they some of my favorite fictional characters ever? No. But I did enjoy hearing their story and following them around Imperial Russia. Now, moving on to a couple issues I had with this book. If you have read the synopsis, you will know it claims that The Crown's Game tells the tale of the only two enchanters in Russia, Nikolai and Vika, being forced to compete in a game to prove their worth to the tsar. At the end of the game, only one enchanter will live and they will become an adviser to the tsar. Sounds epic, right? Can't you just picture the epic battle between these two enchanters, desperate to win the tsar's favor and protect their lives? I could, too. Except that's not what I got. The "battle" between the two enchanters basically just ends up being a contest to see who can make St. Petersburg look prettier. ALL THEY DO IS DECORATE THE CITY. How in the world does that prove who will be a better adviser to the tsar in times of war????? Honestly, this book just wasn't what it was advertised as, and that's not necessarily the author's fault. What the enchanters created in St. Petersburg was fun, but it wasn't the "ancient duel of magical skill" that is promised in the synopsis. I felt like I picked up a book and read the synopsis on the dust jacket, only to find out that the dust jacket had been switched and there was a different book inside. This book was also chock-full of tropes. Tropes, tropes, and more tropes. It felt a little bit like the author was trying to cross plot points off a checklist. Love triangle? Check. Best friends falling for the same girl? Check. Plot twist (that I can't talk about because of spoilers, but trust me, I've seen it before)? Check. Ultimately, it made all of these plot lines feel very forced. The romance wasn't believable at all, and I found myself rolling my eyes at certain obvious plot twists. I know I have just spent a lot of time talking about the negatives of this book. But here comes a giant "but." There were a lot of things I didn't like about this book, BUT, I think Evelyn Skye could grow into a great writer. I can see the potential in The Crown's Game. I really think that as she continues this series, her growth as a writer will shine through. That being said, the ending to The Crown's Game was...interesting. I am not sure how this series will continue, unless the storyline completely diverges into something different and the second book becomes more of a companion novel. I think I will give it a try, though, because I want to see how it is handled and how the author's writing progresses.
Seoling 8 months ago
I have insanely mixed feelings about this one. I knew that the hype around this was big and I got swept up in all of it and I think it’s the biggest reason why it took me so long to start it and to finish it. I started reading it when it was still an ARC and I have only just now finished it - not because it was bad, but because life got in the way and my pull towards this book was not strong enough. But I guess no matter how good books are to some people, it’s not a 5-star for another, but I still really loved this book despite the things I didn’t necessarily agree with. I won’t speak to the pace too much. Looking back on when I started, I think the pace was good. However, the plot and main conflict of the story was clever. I loved that it took place in Russia, that it involved the opulence of the royal family (I am an admirer of the House of Romanov, though it is not the family here) and took some direction from our own history. Reading about the tsar and tsarina and their love story was kind of beautiful. The elements of family was so strong. The bonds between Pasha and his sister, particularly his mother and between Vika and Sergei were lovely to read. I could say the same for friendship - I loved reading the scenes between Pasha and Nikolai and was heartbroken at a very pivotal point in the story that shall remain unspoiled. And GOSH DARNIT, NIKOLAI makes me so happy. I’m pretty sure he’s my favorite character in this book. There’s something so sentimental about him, his humility makes him stick out. I wanted to read more about him and knowing his past and the real branches of his biological family make me weep for him. He’s the poster boy for the phrase, “YOU DESERVE BETTER.” And I really hope in the next book, he gets something good out of his life. Oh, well…That he gets something good in general. -coughs- I was not a fan of Vika. She’s one of those heroines that you know is badass, independent, smart - but in the way that is kind of annoying. I know she’s meant to be these things, but her character just rubbed me the wrong way. Like the way that Hermione Granger rubbed everyone around her the wrong way before they started liking her and even then, people disliked her because of the things that made her great. I was just not a fan, but by the end, I disliked her less. I think what bothered me the very most was the triangle. Eugh, I’m so used to them in YA since it saturates everything in terms of romantic relationships. And it’s always two guys and a girl. I was annoyed that it took precedent for the first two-thirds of the book, but by the end, it was obvious that it wasn’t a triangle any longer and I was pleased. I’m happy to read a more well-developed relationship between two characters rather than prematurely test the waters between three characters. Nevertheless, I really did enjoy the story. It did help that I loved this cover so much and I love the next book’s cover as well. The ending was my favorite part - the fact that Vika is left in the predicament that she is makes me need to have the next book. And I’m so glad that it leaves much to the imagination to wonder what happens next for our protagonist. I can bet that no matter what I predict, none of them will be true.
HSMeloche More than 1 year ago
Evenlyn Skye creates a lush, magical world rooted in Russian history. Through her characters, Vika and Nikolai, she adds the human element as they move forward in The Crown's Game, a game to the death, while their feelings for each other grow. A beautiful book with amazing descriptions that will propel readers into each scene.
mollyreads More than 1 year ago
I absolutely LOVED this book. It was exactly what I needed to remind myself why I love the fantasy genre so much! Lately, I feel like a lot of fantasy novels have had the same formula. It is either 1. commoner discovers magical powers, she may even be the princess, and brings down the tyrannical leader OR 2. princess who is unhappy with her life and falls in love with a boy she shouldn’t fall in love with. This book is neither of those things. WHAT I LOVED 1. The character’s awesomeness Vika — She’s confident and strong-willed, I loved that about her, but at the same time, she does have a soft spot for the people she cares about. I also liked that she wanted to be the tsar’s enchanter. How many stories are out there in which the main character who’s been told they’re going to be X for their entire lives actually wants to be that thing/have that responsibility? It’s refreshing to read about a character who wants to do those things. Nikolai — He grew up an orphan and was taken in by a woman for the sole purpose of training for the Crown’s Game — nothing else. I felt he had a kinder heart than any other character from the beginning. Pasha — who is actually my favorite. He’s the Tsesarevich (or prince) of the Russian Empire, but he’s a free spirit. He’s a dreamer, an optimist, and just simply fun. He’s also Nikolai’s best friend. Overall, the characters are all very complex. I feel like there was enough detail given to each, which is hard work when there are three main characters plus the secondary characters. 2. The historical fictiony-ness of it Pretend that’s a word. Ok? Ok. It has a wonderful blend of historical Russia and magical elements — which I haven’t read much of. The world building was also perfectly done. There wasn’t anything I questioned and nothing left me confused. On top of that, there were references to Shakespeare and various fairy tales we all know and love — also something I haven’t read much of (an incorporation of real life stories into a historical fantasy novel). 3. The subtle – or not? – Cinderella subplot This book definitely had a Cinderella vibe. Pasha was Prince Charming, Vika was Cinderella (sort of), Ludmila was her fairy godmother (which, by the way, Ludmila runs a bakery called Cinderella with a giant pumpkin as the storefront design). Of course, it isn’t a retelling, it just definitely had that going for it. 4. Most of all, it’s unique Sure, there is magic. Sure, there’s a prince. Sure, there’s a love triangle (sort of). Even with all those things that we’ve read a thousand times, this book is such a unique take on all of them. The girl isn’t upset about the future she’s been told to have. There isn’t an evil, tyrannical leader to tear down. And the magic isn’t suddenly discovered by a wholesome, downtrodden girl. It’s new and it’s fresh. >>>>>>>> WHAT I WISH THERE WAS A BIT MORE OF
SammiiTX More than 1 year ago
Wow. What a stunningly, beautiful book. I was in awe of the pictures that Evelyn Skye created in my mind and everything that she had written. She is truly an amazing writer and I cannot wait for more work from her. Other than my glowing praise of Evelyn’s work, I truly did love this book. I usually hate historical fiction because I am not a big fan of history, but that wasn’t the case with The Crown’s Game. This was the first historical fiction book that I really enjoyed. I think that might’ve had to do with the fact that it was also fantasy, and I’m a sucker for a good fantasy books (if what I read and review on here is any indication). The Crown’s Game was set in St. Petersburg Russia in the 19th century during the Tsar’s reign. Now, keep in mind that I have almost no knowledge of Russia and of 19th century history, but you didn’t need it to love and understand this book. Evelyn wasn’t trying to give you a history lesson. Instead, she was showing you around St. Petersburg in such a magical way that you couldn’t help to fall in love with it. Now, all the real St. Petersburg needs is two real enchanters competing for their lives to create what Evelyn did and it would be perfect! Vika is such an intense character. She is stubborn as all hell, guarded, mischievous, and dedicated. Her whole life has been about becoming the Imperial Enchanter and she wants nothing more than to serve the Tsar and her country. She never shies away from anything. Instead, she runs head first into it and calculates her moves. I loved seeing inside her brain and seeing what made her tick. She was truly an interesting character. I really don’t know how I feel about Nikolai. He was a good character and added to the story and all, but I just couldn’t make myself care for him. I really couldn’t make myself care about anyone besides Vika and her baker friend (whose name I cannot spell and I do not have the book around me). Don’t get me wrong, there was nothing wrong with Nikolai. He really did add to the story, I just found his character lacking and slightly annoying. Where Vika didn’t really care about anything besides winning, Nikolai cared about everything. He just seemed too superficial for me to like. I really wished I liked him though. He would’ve been a good book boyfriend. He could make me gorgeous clothes and also teach me things that I didn’t know. He was also really sweet. He did have that going for him. This book is gorgeous. From the cover to the writing, everything took my breath away. I was lost in The Crown’s Game for over a week and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to end. Guys, you should really read this book. It is 100% worth it. P.S: If you are worried about a love triangle, it doesn’t really exist. It is very minimal and it doesn’t take away from the story. I almost stopped reading when I reread the summary and saw that, but it wasn’t that big of a deal.
mdemanatee More than 1 year ago
Vika has been training her whole life to be the next Imperial Enchanter. She never expected that there would be another enchanter to compete for the title. But there is, and it turns out the fight for the title is a fight for the death. Nikolai wasn’t expecting this fight to the death either, even if he’s used to fighting for his place in the world. He isn’t sure how this will impact his friendship with Pasha, heir to the throne, who knows nothing about Nikolai’s magic. So now Vika and Nikolai must try to outdo each other with fantastical displays of magic, even as life keeps thrusting them into each other’s paths. This novel provides a lush, magical world combined with compelling characters. Though, take the historical Russian setting with a little grain of salt. It is more atmospheric than historically accurate. The stakes always felt real and grounded in this novel, and I loved that he magic had rules and costs. There were limits to the character’s powers, their displays of magic weakened them. Even though they were still able to pull off huge displays. Still, we knew these were supposed to be exception showcases of their power. It was also interesting to see how Skye developed different magic–powers and focuses–for both Vika and Nikolai, power directly related to their upbringing. I loved Nikolai and Pasha, and especially their friendship! I had a real sense of both boys, their background and how it shaped them and their decisions. Vika’s development did pale a bit in comparison next to these two for me. I am also hoping to see more of Pasha’s sister as the series progresses. And the novel seems to set this eventuality up for us. I would also have liked to see more development in the romances. The quick infatuation is something I am willing to buy into from this historical, restrained world. But it just seemed so much less defined than other aspects of the novel. It was very close to instal-love and I would like to see this all fleshed out more over the course of the series. Still, romance didn’t seem to be the focus of the novel either. And it was more fun to watch Vika and Nikolai struggle with their choices and the repercussions of the “game” The Crown’s Game was like a wonderful blend of Leigh Bardugo and Night Circus while maintaining a unique and active voice!
AustineDecker More than 1 year ago
Two teens. Only one can be the Imperial Enchanter. Let the games begin. I was, perhaps, too excited for this book. After all the raving on Twitter I thought I absolutely had to read it. So I did. And while it was good, it wasn’t great. The premise is that in this alternate Russia, there can only be one person with magic — the Imperial Enchanter. Problem is, there are currently two people and that doesn’t work, so they must compete in the Crown’s Game where the penalty for losing is death. Cool. Magical competition to the death. I’m a fan so far. What conflict existed because of the Game quickly disappeared when the enchanters, Vika and Nikolai, officially meet and suddenly it’s insta-love for Vika (a shame, because she had been my favorite of the two up until that point). So for the entire book, instead of trying to kill each other — because I refuse to even count their weak attempts — the two decide to make the city pretty. Yes, pretty. Who can make the better tourist attraction? These two have all the power of Russia combined and all they did was paint some buildings and build an island. Okay, yes, impressive, but if I was in a life or death situation that is so not what I would do to one-up the other. Plus, I never really understood the magic. Sometimes a foreign word would be used and that seemed to be what controlled it, but other times willpower drove everything. I wanted a solid magic system that I understood, not that changed depending on the scene. I enjoyed the writing style so I overlooked these setbacks and kept reading because, at some point, there has to be a winner and a loser. But wait, there’s more! There’s not enough tension in the plot because they’re throwing the equivalent of cotton balls at each other so why not add in more with a love triangle. One of my (biggest) pet peeves with young adult fiction is the existence of the love triangle. Vika instantly falls for Nikolai, hindering her actions during the Game. Nikolai has another girl but it becomes quickly clear that she’s not going to be enough. And Nikolai’s royal friend sees Vika and is head-over-heels. None of it was necessary. The plot could’ve held its own if the romance hadn’t existed! I wanted to cheer Vika on the whole time but every time she started redeeming herself Nikolai showed up and the heart-eyes appeared. Vika = mush. I did see a lot of potential in The Crown’s Game hidden beneath the cliches and low points. The writing style kept me reading through the night and after the ending, and I can see a lot of ways the sequel could be an improvement. And the setting of an alternate Russia was described both beautifully and with intricate detail. The plot moves quickly through all of the action (because that’s primarily what this book works on) and by the end I felt like I did enjoy the book to a degree. I’m hopeful that the sequel handles the romance better as it took over the story too often and too soon, but this is an average start to what I hope is a great fantasy series. [Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars]
Maggie Brister More than 1 year ago
For once, the romance was not the focus of a book for me. Evelyn Skye wrote a friendship that was real and alive. The magic and the excitement of The Crown's Game was good, but the characters and their relationships were great. It was honestly pretty slow at the beginning, and the Game could have been more happening, but eventually I was really into it. Give me masquerades all the time, let's be real. Also: I'm really into blonde misfits.
Lena_Book_Club More than 1 year ago
I think Evelyn Skye has written a mystifying, exciting, knock-your-boots-off, and crazy-fantwesome debut novel! I loved every second of this book, and I need the sequel right now! The Crown’s Game has multiple character perspectives, which I enjoyed because it kept the plot moving at a fast pace. Vika, and Nikolai are the enchanters. They both use their magic in unique ways that it was hard to compare who had more power. Vika was much more attuned to nature, and Nikolai to metropolitan influences (clocks, buildings, etc.). Pasha is Nikolai's best friend and also happens to be the crown prince of Russia. Pasha really cares for the people of Russia, but his father and Tsar, and his sister, Yuliana, think he’s too soft. There are several other interesting characters that I liked too- here’s a link to Evelyn Skye’s Characters Page ([...]) to learn more about her characters. I did wish that we had a couple more chapters from Yuliana's perspective, only because I really liked her manipulative personality. I love the magic and the “Crown’s Game”. I don’t think I have ever seen this type of magic in any book that I have read, which is why I loved this book so much! The different moves that both Nikolai and Vika make during the Game are so inspiring and pretty much struck awe in everyone’s heart, including the reader’s. This book kept me on my toes, but there were some times that I did semi-predict what would happen in the plot. However, I am glad to say that I was surprised at how the book ended. (ALL THE FEELS PEOPLE…all the feels.) Evelyn has created an innovative world with magic, and it all takes place in Russia! With incredible enchanters, and an adorable prince, you don’t want to miss out on this book! So go get it! Seriously though, it’s one of the best books of 2016! (as you can tell with all of my exclamation points… :P)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome book, I can't wait for the sequel but I really want it now! Her characters are amazing and the fact that its set in the 19th century just makes this book better!
Scarls17 More than 1 year ago
Loved this book about a competition between two magicians in Russia fighting to the death to be the Imperial Enchanter. I loved the world Skye created and her characters are sooooo amazing. I was literally unable to cheer for one over the other. Their feats of magic were described so beautifully. I wish they were real!
tweetybugshouse More than 1 year ago
This book is a rousing 5 stars from me it has magic, it descriptive, it makes you want to scream and cry and all the great things a 5 star book should do. You got two enchanters who are wrapped up this "Crowns Game" to become the imperial enchanter. I went into this thinking their was going to this great magical duel of the two main characters throwing magical spells at each other in a all out war to destroy each other. That not what i got I got this magical descriptive battle, that tugged at my heart strings, I fell in love with both contestants and sobbed my heart out at the very end of this book. I gonna keep my review short cause i afraid i dive in i will blurt out the whole story it very good I loved it and I hope you take a chance on it as well. I need book two like yesterday. Thanks Evelyn Skye you set the stake even higher in what to expect in a fantasy novel well done.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
* I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review* The Crown's Game was my most anticipated release of this year. Unfortunately, between spoilers and a lot of hype, I was a little underwhelmed. Evelyn did a wonderful job describing the scenery and cultural aspects of Russia, but I felt that the characters did not get the same attention. Some of the relationships seemed forced, there seemed to be a lot of information about the characters' histories that were briefly brought up and then dismissed, and certain parts that just didn't seem logical considering Vika and Nikolai had so much power/magic, yet they were so easily controlled by people without those abilities. I expected there to be a lot more action since it is supposed to be about a competition between powerful enchanters (and there were a couple small parts that supported that), but it just fell flat. It was an easy read and a lot of people enjoyed it and it wouldn't hurt to give it a chance. The story has a lot of potential, so I hope the sequel addresses some of these issues.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
* I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review* The Crown's Game was my most anticipated release of this year. Unfortunately, between spoilers and a lot of hype, I was a little underwhelmed. Evelyn did a wonderful job describing the scenery and cultural aspects of Russia, but I felt that the characters did not get the same attention. Some of the relationships seemed forced, there seemed to be a lot of information about the characters' histories that were briefly brought up and then dismissed, and certain parts that just didn't seem logical considering Vika and Nikolai had so much power/magic, yet they were so easily controlled by people without those abilities. I expected there to be a lot more action since it is supposed to be about a competition between powerful enchanters (and there were a couple small parts that supported that), but it just fell flat. It was an easy read and a lot of people enjoyed it and it wouldn't hurt to give it a chance. The story has a lot of potential, so I hope the sequel addresses some of these issues.
ByEllieM More than 1 year ago
If you liked A Night Circus, this is right up your alley. This is a more a YA version in my eyes. There's more romance and characters. I can't really use words right now, but this book is really good. I love the characters and relationships, and the world and all the food. I want to eat all the food! I honestly loved all the three main characters POVs and didn't slump during any of them. And it's a Duology I think, so I'm super excited to see the end, because the ending of THIS book. Bitter sweet warning, but not so bad that I disliked it at all.
Kami-C More than 1 year ago
Thank you to Brittany's Book Rambles for hosting a read-along for The Crown's Game! I had a great time discussing the book with everyone in the Team Nikolai group! The Crown's Game is so much like The Night Circus! I love Evelyn's beautiful descriptions and I learned a lot about Russia! It's nice that it is told not just in the three main characters povs, but others too. Vika is just the cutest nane ever! When I first met her I was like 'awe how cute' but then I found out that she has some spice! The little story of how Pasha and Nikolai met was adorable! It gave me Six of Crows vibes. Every time I see the name Galina I think of Galinda from Dorothy Must Die! There are so many great books I compare this too but it really is a unique book! The ending is so great! It isn't a cliffhanger so you could just read this as a stand-alone but you will have some questions (and I recommend reading more of Evelyn's books). I can't wait for The Crown's Heir!
Alyssa75 More than 1 year ago
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye Book One of The Crown's Game series Publisher: Balzer + Bray Publication Date: May 17, 2016 Rating: 3 stars Source: eARC from Edelweiss Summary (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. What I Liked: When I started reading this book, I had extremely low expectations. For about a year, I'd been so excited to read it! Nineteenth-century Russia and magic? Count me in! But then I heard from early (earlier?) reviewers that there was a love triangle and... my excitement plummeted. But at that point, I had the eARC, so I knew I would be reading the book regardless. While I obviously didn't absolutely adore the book, I actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would! My rating is more like 3.5 stars, but I'm definitely rounding down. Vika has been brought up by her father to believe that she is the only Enchanter in Russia (usually, only one is born per generation). There hasn't been an Imperial Enchanter in years. When the Crown's Game is called, Vika and her father are confused; the Game is between two Enchanters, the other being Nikolai Karimov. Nikolai used to be a poor orphan from the steppe, but he was taken in by a Russian noblewoman to train him and help sharpen his magic. Nikolai has been friends with Pasha, the crown prince of the Russian tsardom. When the Game is called, Vika and Nikolai meet behind veils and shadows, but their aura and magic are recognizable to each other anywhere. Like calls to like, and while the Crown's Game is a fierce magical tournament in which one Enchanter wins and the other dies, Vika and Nikolai discover that they do not how to play this game against each other, when their feelings grow. The Crown's Game is unfolding, but so is the empire and its secrets, secrets that could change everything. This book is told from a looooooot of people's POVs. We have Vika, Nikolai, Pasha, Renata, Galina, Sergei, Ludmila, Aizhana, Yuliana, and a small part from the Tsar himself. Vika and Nikolai are our Enchanters. Read the rest of my review on my blog, The Eater of Books! - eaterofbooks DOT blogspot DOT com :)
Laura_at_125Pages More than 1 year ago
I have heard some amazing things about Evelyn Skye’s debut The Crown’s Game for months. I was so excited when it finally came up on my “read this week” list that I bumped all the others down a spot. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into and hoped I would enjoy the read. I am happy to say that the story was engrossing and unexpected in such a great way. Twenty years ago the Royal Enchanter of Russia died. His power went back into the land awaiting the next to be born who can wield it. Two are born, Vika and Nikolai. They each are able to wield half of the power. But two half powered enchanters are not what will protect the land, so the Crown’s Game is ordered. Two enchanters, five turns each to impress the Tsar and attempt to kill the other. At the end, only one can live. The plot of The Crown’s Game was unique and had more depth than I expected. There was the standard YA love triangle that was meh, and a subplot of someone returning after a long time that I found tedious and unnecessary till the very end, but as a whole the story worked very well. Pitting two magical teens to the death is not a writing feat to take lightly and Evelyn Skye did it very well. She was able to write with emotion and clarity that I found refreshing. The pacing had a few weak spots in the build-up to the games, but as a whole was extremely successful. The world created was vivid and bright. I could picture the locations and see the streets they walked on. I was very impressed with the detail given to even the smallest of things, such as a rat. Hoo boy, the emotions ran high in this one. From fear and rage to love and hatred every emotion was presented with a reason and with a purpose. The characters were mostly great. I loved Vika and Nikolai. Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and the heir to the throne was endearing and engaging, but his sister, Yuliana was more annoying than anything. I really loved the mentors to each of the enchanters, they knew what they were getting into with their charges but they still loved and cared for them and tried to provide the best lives they could to them. I was impressed by The Crown’s Game as a whole. I kept thinking I knew where the story was going and then I would be completely blindsided by a revelation. The end, oh lord the end, was not at all what I thought would happen. I also appreciated Evelyn Skye as she did not take the easy way out in her story telling and that made the read so much more than average. I am always surprised when an author makes something happen that you never thought would, but yet it is exactly what needed to happen. I cannot wait until book two comes out, as I need to know what happens next. Original review @ 125Pages.com I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
KathyMacMillan More than 1 year ago
Like the enticing vapors around Nikolai’s enchanted benches, this story draws you in slowly. We are introduced to this magical 1820s Russia through several intriguing points of view, chief among them the impetuous Vika, the enchanter who has trained all her life with her father in a tiny village; the carefully pragmatic Nikolai, her rival enchanter in the titular game, who has kept his powers secret as a ward in the royal court; and the charismatic Pasha, the reluctant crown prince who slowly unravels the mystical secrets of the Russian court without realizing that his best friend Nikolai has been forced to participate in a magical fight to the death. As the three of them dance around one another (both literally and figuratively), the connections of magic, love, and friendship pull them closer together, and eventually strangle. The devastating choices all three must make will have you on tenterhooks for the conclusion to this enchanting duology.
brittanysbookrambles More than 1 year ago
I am here to tell you that you are not prepared for the majesty that is The Crown's Game. You need to know that when you look at that cover, you are looking at a FIVE STAR book. There is magic, romance, a complex plot, drool-worthy guys, and Russian prestige. I. LOVE. IT. It's definitely one of the BEST books I've ever read, and I mean—we're talking Leigh Bardugo levels here, people! I'm always nervous when I read a book that is set in Russia because often times, the language is incorrect or something is not depicted properly. However as your Russian representative and a member of the Tsar's Guard, I can assure you that Evelyn Skye has executed the Russian culture, language, and mentality to a T. Now that our Russian grammar lesson is done for the day, let me get back to telling you how much I love this book. The Crown's Game was everything I wanted it to be and more. The entire time I was reading, I was flipping out over every page—and we're talking actual shrieking, and jumping up and down. Guys, the book love was intense. The Crown's Game beyond exceeded all of my expectations. Everything from the plot, the writing, the characters, and the magic—oh my god, the magic! I am in LOVE. I was a flailing mess the entire time while reading this book. Not just because it made me swell with Russian pride, but also because it just kept wowing me. The plot is incredibly intricate with really well-developed characters. You get each character's backstory without feeling overwhelmed. Plus, all of them are so lovable that I got incredibly attached to all of them—even the "bad guys." I can confidently say that The Crown's Game is one of my favorite books of ALL TIME and all of you need to read it! Full review: http://www.bookrambles.com/2015/11/the-crowns-game-by-evelyn-skye.html
ruthsic More than 1 year ago
When it comes to star-crossed romances, this book would be my recommendation – Vika and Nikolai are like the Peeta and Katniss advertised to the Capitol. They are the opponents of a millennium-old tradition of choosing an Imperial Enchanter – a game of skill to death. The way the magic in this book is constructed is very crucial to the plot – the Enchanters share a well of magic, which makes for competition in the source itslef. Then adding to the conflict is the fact that the Game is so designed that one way or another, the loser will die. So, although there are sparks flying between Vika and Nikolai, they can’t forget that there is no hope for them, because (a) one of them is going to die, and (b) they can’t entirely trust the other’s intentions. There is a meeting of hearts, in being the only two who can understand each other. Their attraction is borne more out of adoration for the other’s skill – Nikolai is stunned how she can control the elements, and Vika is fascinated by the intricacy of his magic. They are both opposites in temperament, in magic, and in how they were raised, but they both share a love for magic, but don’t want to be a part of the Game. As for the secondary characters, while not all of them are likeable, they are well-written. There is Pasha, who is the Crown Prince and Nikolai’s bestie, who also falls for Vika. The love triangle (or quadrangle, if you include Renata) also contributes to the finale of the plot, but does not cause angst. Renata is kind, and intuitive, but overall I didn’t think she contributed much to the plot. There is an air of tragedy in the book, right from the romance to the state of the country, to the future of the rule. Yuliana is surprisingly not much on scene, considering she was the main initiator of the plot. The whole turns of the Game were really interesting, and the marvels they create are astonishing. The other magic, the one that is sourced through living things also caught my interest and I feel there was much to be explored there. There is probably a sequel, though, which, after that ending, has me really intrigued as to what will be the future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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