Before I start with my review, let me make this clear. I did not expect to love this book. I did not expect to love this book. I did not—
Alright, you get the point. I’ve been hearing so many mixed reviews in which most of them said that there was insta love and a very thin plot. Naturally it wasn’t very high on my TBR. One day I picked this book up at a bookstore because it was cheap and I had a 15% membership discount for that day only. I looked for something better but didn’t found any. Now I am SO GLAD for that spur of the moment decision because I loved this book so much! ♥
If you’ve been following me for a while you probably already know that I’m hard to please and I have tendency to dislike books everyone else loves. I thought for sure I wasn’t gonna enjoy this book, but… but… to both of our surprise, I did. Technically speaking, this book isn’t without its flaws. There’s 1) insta love, 2) love triangle, 3) Vika kind of lacks depth in her personality, and 4) some weird logic. But this time I’m willing to look past that because I enjoyed it way too much!
The first and most important thing I love from this book is its Russian vibe. I’m most definitely not Russian but I’ve always had a thing for it. Reading Russian names and settings and traditions just made me happy for no reasons. I mean, Nikolai Karimov, Vika Andreyeva, the tsar and tsarina, St. Petersburg… they fascinated me 😛 I’m not at liberty to say whether it’s a good rep or not but I read several reviews by Russian reviewers and some of them say it is, but more people say it isn’t, so you might want to take that into consideration.
The Crown’s Game revolves around three main characters, Vika, Nikolai, and Pasha. Vika is one of the enchanter who can control elements like fire, snow, water, etc. I really enjoyed being in her head but like I said above, there’s something lacking from Vika’s personality that made her… plain. I mean, for a powerful girl who managed to attract two incredible guys, I expected more depth and complexity into her personality. However, Pasha and Nikolai’s characterization was so much better to me. They’re more complex and real and definitely not plain like Vika. I love Pasha the most, but the dynamic between them was so good. Their friendship was full of love and jealousy, trust and betrayal, and it kind of reminded me of Rhy and Kell from Shades of Magic.
There was a love triangle. Well, a bit of a love square actually. Normally I would’ve hated any book with that trope but this time, it didn’t bother me AT ALL! I love both guys and I didn’t feel like I had to choose between them. However, it was indeed very insta-lovey. The romance between Vika and Pasha and Vika and Nikolai were rushed and underdeveloped. I either shipped them both or not shipping anyone at all… haha what I mean to say is I don’t prefer one over the other, so I kind of just shook it off 😛
Contrary to what some people said about the lack of plot, I honestly thought the plot was the book’s strongest aspect. You probably could already tell from the blurb that this is about a game. Buuut let me tell you something, this isn’t what you expected! It’s not a deadly game like The Hunger Games or the competition in Throne of Glass, it’s more like a magical contest to determine who has the most impressive skills. It’s like The Element Game from A Gathering of Shadows but more showy and with less battle.
Now back to the plot itself. The Crown’s Game was very plot driven and for once, I didn’t mind that. Sure it wasn’t the most original plot out there, but it was intricate and I love how Evelyn Skye reveals the twist one by one. Every twist took me by surprise and I’m so happy for that. The pacing was also perfect to me. It was neither too slow nor too fast. It was steady and allowed me to absorb all the information without being overwhelmed.
One more thing I loved the most from this book was the writing. It was simple yet beautiful and it was extremely addictive! Like I literally couldn’t put it down because it was so intriguing and page turning. There are a lot of details describing the setting, cultures, and FOOD! But its simplicity allowed me to savor while being able to imagine everything clearly.
ALL IN ALL, The Crown’s Game is definitely not the most original story you’d ever read, but it has its own strength. With her gorgeous and addictive writing, Evelyn Skye managed to trapped me in her story and fascinated me with her descriptions of Russia. I couldn’t not fall in love with it. Definitely can’t wait to read The Crown’s Fate!
Book title : The Crown’s Game (The Crown’s Game #1)
Author : Evelyn Skye
Publisher : 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.
Have you read The Crown’s Game? What do you think about it? Do you love Russian-inspired fantasy as much as I do? Or is there other country/culture/setting that fascinates you? Either way, shoot me some recommendations! ♥
Find more of me on my social media ♦