ARC Review: The Crown’s Game (The Crown’s Game #1) by Evelyn Skye

Title: The Crown’s Game (The Crown’s Game #1)

Author: Evelyn Skye

Published by: 17 May 2016 | Balzer + Bray

Date Read: 28 May 2016

Rating: 4/5 stars

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.

REVIEW

*ARC kindly provided by Balzer + Bray thru Edelweiss for review*

Let’s all face it, the hype for The Crown’s Game has been everywhere – twitter, facebook, Goodreads and Blogs – add in the fact that the premise of the story is very interesting and with a Russian setting. No other reason not to pick this up, right?

The Crown’s Game: a display of skill and demonstration of strategy and mettle. The goal is to show the Tsar the participants’ worthiness to become his Imperial Enchanter – his adviser for all things from war to peace and everything in between. They each have five rounds to impress the Tsar so he may be able to choose and eliminate the one who lose.

“For the winner of the game, there would be unimaginable power. For the defeated, desolate oblivion. The Crown’s Game was not one to lose.”

Vika and Nikolai are the two enchanters who will be facing off for the ancient duel called the Crown’s Game. This is the main reason why I did pick-up this book. I was intrigued by the Game – its ins and outs and how it will be done.

Vika is silent and shy but fierce and powerful. She’s a very strong female lead. I really like her because despite the strong power that she has, she remained the same from who she was at the beginning. She just became stronger.

Nikolai is a mystery. He’s an orphan who also has strong powers. He is calm and smart. Despite his life status he was able to maintain good friendship with Pasha.

Pasha is the heir to the Tsar’s throne but all throughout the story all I see is a typical teenage guy. He’s a royalty but he acts like a normal person and is best friends with a commoner like Nikolai.

Evelyn Skye’s writing is very detailed and enjoyable. There are some down and slow moments on the book but I’m okay to overlook those things because the world and story building is really done well. Another thing I really liked is the whole Imperial Russian Setting of the story. I’ve always been fascinated with stories set in Russia. The whole atmosphere, vivid descriptions of the places and architecture was superbly done.

The story is definitely not just about the game. As each chapter goes, a revelation was revealed and there are a LOT. The back-story was surprising and made me crave for the next book to come out now.

“Was Nikolai still merely an opponent? Or was he something more? Vika feared and hoped for the latter options.”

There’s a touch of romance in the story as well, but I actually didn’t get too invested on it. For some certain reason, the romance is not on the forefront of my mind while reading. The love triangle thing didn’t really work out for me as well.

It seems like I really liked the book, so why did I only give 4 stars? Well, because the type of game I was looking for did not really happened. I’m actually expecting a Hunger Games kind of game – full of fighting, action and grittiness. But what I did get was a lot of to and from both the lead characters simply showcasing their magic. Don’t get me wrong, I was fascinated and amazed by all the magic and maybe that’s what the game is really about and I just set my expectations too high, but a little bit more of action can’t do any harm on the story right?

Overall, it was an enjoyable read. I really liked the magical set up and the twists and revelations. If you’re a fan of fantasy and magic, you should definitely pick this one up.

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