The Crown's Game:Review

Publication Date: May 17th, 2016
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Series: The Crown's Game #1
Format: Hardcover, 399 pages
Source: Purchased

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.

I had been waiting for this book since the Fledgling Author Chat happened back in 2015. It was originally called The Tsar's Game. I quickly joined The Tsar's Guard to receive updates about the book, and as May 2016 approached, I was brimming with anticipation. Well, I pre-ordered my signed copy and along with other members of the book community, I started a read a long. The excitement and anticipation from other readers was obvious, and for good reason. 

The Crown's Game promised magic, blood, historical elements, and more. Evelyn's writing is wonderful. You can tell she put a lot of research and heart into this debut. I could almost picture the magical treats from Ludmila's bakery and the wonderful magic that Vika and Nikolai had created. 

Unfortunately, there are some negatives to the book. The synopsis promised a bloodthirsty duel, but what was presented were half hearted attempts to kill each other because neither of them wanted to do it. Understandable, but when the other option is to be incinerated by the game itself, wouldn't you try really hard? The pacing made it really hard for me to get into it, but the last 100 pages is when things really got good and I started really getting into the story. 

The romance was also not for me. As in most YA books these days, there is a love triangle. I used to hate them, but I find myself really enjoying the fleshed out ones that actually make sense. This one did not. Pasha and Nikolai both see her and are afflicted with a case of insta-lust. Soon after, they both realize that they are falling for her. Vika also has more lusty feelings towards Nikolai rather than Pasha. But she also has feelings for both, but again, more for Nikolai. Pasha barely speaks to Vika throughout the book, but he knows he loves her. 

"If there were ever a girl a man could fall in love with without knowing, it would be Vika."

I love sappy quotes as much as the next person, but not like that when he has barely spoken to her. Also, I think all of the characters really needed some more development, especially Vika.

I will say that the ending was the best part of the book for me. I was not expecting the twists that came! So book two should be very interesting.

Overall this was a good debut with only some issues. I look forward to reading the sequel.


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