Russia is on the brink of great change. Pasha’s coronation approaches, and Vika is now the Imperial Enchanter, but the role she once coveted may be more difficult—and dangerous—than she ever expected.
Pasha is grappling with his own problems—his legitimacy is in doubt, the girl he loves loathes him, and he believes his best friend is dead. When a challenger to the throne emerges—and with the magic in Russia growing rapidly—Pasha must do whatever it takes to keep his position and protect his kingdom.
For Nikolai, the ending of the Crown’s Game stung deeply. Although he just managed to escape death, Nikolai remains alone, a shadow hidden in a not-quite-real world of his own creation. But when he’s given a second chance at life—tied to a dark price—Nikolai must decide just how far he’s willing to go to return to the world.
With revolution on the rise, dangerous new magic rearing up, and a tsardom up for the taking, Vika, Nikolai, and Pasha must fight—or face the destruction of not only their world but also themselves.
From the moment I saw the cover for this book, I felt scared to read it. Legit scared. And the cover reflects what’s inside the book. While still a magical story like THE CROWN’S GAME, this book was much darker. The storyline, the characters, even some of the content was much darker. But it fits the story well. There’s the dark constriction on Vika’s ‘freedom’ as the imperial enchanter, the return of a certain someone, and just the overall feel of the story.
As with most reviews for sequels, this one is going to be hard to write. I want to flail and scream and die over everything that happens, but I can’t mention a lot of things without spoiling the first book, which I do not want to do!
I can say, however, that, like THE CROWN’S GAME, the characters are really a big focus in the book. They’re all fleshed out and 3-D. From our main characters to the smallest side character, each one shone in its own way and helped make the story the best it could be.
THE CROWN’S GAME is a story I loved because it was magical and delicious, from the baked treats featured, to the magical side of Russia we don’t see in history. I loved this book just as much, if more, but for such different reasons. While I cried only twice during my read of THE CROWN’S GAME, this book made me cry so many times. It’s definitely a much heavier story, and I will mention that it gets a little gruesome at moments, and there is like one slightly unnecessary time when a guy details a sexual encounter to his friends (not too detailed, just weird)
I also loved how Yuliana is a much more important character in this story than in THE CROWN’S GAME. She was definitely very ruthless, but it was something that was a little admirable. She definitely had a hand in the events of the first book, but in this one she just brought something to the story and she helped flesh out other characters.
Okay so here’s the amazing this about this book. Nobody is perfect. There’s a major character who I hat and love because she was so complex. There were times where I hated Pasha. But in the end, the characters still won me over.
There is a love triangle in the first book and while I avidly dislike love triangles, I really loved how this one came through in the book. I was definitely annoyed at points, but in the end… I probably wouldn’t love the book as much as I did if it didn’t have the love triangle.
Overall, this book was deliciously painful. I loved every second AND PLEASE LET THERE NOT BE A THIRD BOOK MY BABIES HAVE BEEN THROUGH ENOUGH SHEESH
(this book deserves so many more stars tbh, but here’s five)