The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye


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.

To begin explaining the gloriousness that is The Crown’s Game would be nearly impossible. But I’ll take this compliment by compliment. What really took the cake for me here is the world. The amount of research and planning that went into this story is absolutely astounding. I felt completely transported to 1800s Russia during this story, from the landmarks to the simple history. Even though this is alternate history, Evelyn Skye does a masterful job at keeping to the history of actual Russia. She changes a few things, yes, and adds in magic, but the core history stays the same. As a writer, I understand how much time it takes to research and completely admire Ms. Skye for the massive amount of world-building.
Okay, so now I’ve fangirled over the world. But let’s just take a long, long moment. Scroll up. ADMIRE THAT COVER. UM, HELLO, THAT IS GLORIOUS.
You must be thinking—wow, this book sounds great. OH WELL THE GREAT THINGS DO NOT STOP HERE. NO, NO, NO! Because guess what. THIS BOOK IS ALSO A LOOSE RETELLING OF…
Romeo and Juliet! Cinderella! I didn’t confirm these, but there are very clear similarities to both of those classic tales and the amount of story in this book astounds me. BRAVO, MS. SKYE. I love me some retellings. THIS BOOK HIT THE SPOT.
And you all know I love Throne of Glassbooks 1 & 2, right? Well, this book has a duel thing like in Throne of Glass. There’s no copying, I promise. Ms. Skye TOTALLY owns this and is AMAZING at writing it.
Oh, and you think I’m done there? Nope—you’re wrong. Because this book is about two enchanters. And let me just say—the descriptions of the magic make you feel like you are doing the magic-y stuff. UM YES PLEASE. I want to be a magic person. And this book also has awful, painful, amazing, beautiful DEATHS. I won’t say who. BUT WHOAAAAA IT’S GOOD.
Also the characters. I SOBBED I LAUGHED I SCREAMED. I love these people so. freaking. much. VIKA. PASHA. NIKOLAI. SERGEI. RENATA. MY BABIES. Excuse me while I wail.
Now, it did take me 15% to get into this, so give it that much in case you don’t like it. I always give books 30% to make me like them.
So excuse me now. I must go sob.

FOR THE PARENTS –
Cussing – I don’t think there’s any??
Intimacy – People wanting to kiss, mentions of people sleeping with each other, maybe a kiss or two, mentions of illegitimate children
Spiritual – I added this because this book does contain a person who reads tea leaves, but it’s not hugely unspiritual. I think at one point in the book a character even prays?
Violence – Mild.

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