5 Things About The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

May 19, 2016 Review 32 ★★★

5 Things About The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye
The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Edelweiss
Pages: 416
Release Date: May 17th 2016
Series: The Crown's Game #1
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy & Magic, General, Love & Romance, Young Adult
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 received this book for free from the source listed above in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

“There’s no escaping death. Either I’ll be defeated and therefore die,
or I’ll triumph but live with the guilt of sentencing the girl to the end.
There is no such thing as a winner in the Game.”

The characters lack depth.

There are a wide variety of characters in THE CROWN’S GAME, but unfortunately, I couldn’t connect to any of them. Vika and Nikolai are both enchanters fighting to be the only one of their kind and serve the Tsar of Russia. Besides Vika being refreshingly bold and confident, something that is a little uncommon in YA fantasy, there isn’t much else to her. There are a few attempts at adding a little more depth to Nikolai, but they fell flat and were not fully developed. Character development is also depressingly absent, and the romance borders on insta-love. There was also an unnecessary love triangle that, in my opinion, was only added to create more  angst.

It has no punch.

There wasn’t anything that really stood out to me about it, there was no real substance or WOW moment. The stakes never felt super high despite this being a game revolving around death as a consequence for failure. This aspect is a little hard to explain but I guess I would say there was nothing super memorable about this book.

The potential was there, but fizzled out.

However, I could feel what THE CROWN’S GAME could have been between the lines of each page. The bones are great: Imperial Russia, a magic duel to the death, a forbidden romance, war on the horizon, and secrets threatening to topple the empire? It sounds epic. THE CROWN’S GAME was sadly only a shadow of all that. There were some additional plotlines that came into play that I was excited about but they just sort of…burnt out and faded away. I’m not sure if they are being saved until the sequel or just cast off.

A bittersweet plot that follows through.

What I do have to give props for (besides the pacing, a 400 page book never felt so short) is that THE CROWN’S GAME makes no secret that the Game is one that can only lead to an unfortunate end for one enchanter. I loved that there was no miracle cure or way around this fact because I always appreciate an author who isn’t afraid to make big moves like this. However, View Spoiler »

Better alternatives are available.

If you are looking for similar books, some of my all time favorite novels revolve around the concept of THE CROWN’S GAME, at least in some way. I would recommend THE NIGHT CIRCUS and A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC. Still, THE CROWN’S GAME is not a bad book, just one that could have been much better.

Rating Report
Overall: 3

32 Responses to “5 Things About The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye”

  1. Briana @ Pages Unbound

    Cuddlebuggery also mentioned The Night Circus in conjunction with this, and it’s scaring me off! I was looking forward to reading this book, but so far I’ve seen about three disappointed reviews and one “meh” one, so I’m not as sold on it as I used to be!
    Briana @ Pages Unbound recently posted…How to Find a Great Co-Blogger

    • Alise

      Have you read The Night Circus? If you haven’t, I think you might like this a bit more. If you’re interested, it can’t hurt to check it out :)

  2. Bec

    Damn, why did it have to fall flat :/ I might just read ADOSAM and reread The Night Circus instead of trying this one XD

  3. Jade

    Ooooh that was harsher than I expected but I agree with you on all counts. it seemed like it could be high stakes and trying to kill each other, instead it turned into painting building and making pretty benches… yeah. The only thing i did like was the tragedy of it all…

    Jade @ Ink Scratchers

    • Alise

      If you’re still interested, it can’t hurt to check it out, I’ve seen both positive and negative reviews.

  4. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    Man, the reviews for this one really have been all over the place. Luckily, I wasn’t really into it from the start (for whatever reason) so I don’t feel the need to decided if I’m going to read it or not…since I wasn’t planning on it anyway. Since you mentioned The Night Circus, I might just (FINALLY) read my copy of that one :D I started AGoS so that’s good too hehehe! Sorry this one didn’t deliver like it should have!
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Review: The Raven King

  5. Cyci Cade

    When I read the synopsis I thought it´d be an interesting book. Unfortunately, I´ve read some discouraging comments. :(

    • Alise

      It’s sad because almost all the fantasy books I’ve read this year take the romance first fantasy second approach :(

  6. Cait @ Paper Fury

    Aw, sadness that this didn’t work out for you, Alise! I mean, I do sorta agree with some of your points, but the richness of the setting and the awesome magic made it work for me. XD <3 I DID kind of expect higher stakes though??? Like them actually duelling to the death instead of having to compete because of skill? bUT AH WELL. I'M A BLOODTHIRSTY MUNCHKIN.
    Cait @ Paper Fury recently posted…Books I’ve Spontaneously Decided To Devour (Despite Personally Being An Entirely Unspontaneous Monster)

    • Alise

      I know what you mean, the setting was definitely fun. Plus I know it has cake so ;) That’s what I was expecting too!

  7. Zoe @ Stories on Stage

    Aww…I’m sorry to hear this was a bit meh for you Alise. :( I can completely see where you’re coming from though – it’s really hard to love a book when the characters lack depth and you can’t connect to it on an emotional level. I’m glad the plot was entertaining at least! Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! <3
    Zoe @ Stories on Stage recently posted…A Little in Love

    • Alise

      No worries! It is, when I can’t form a connection with the characters I feel so disjointed from the story. Thanks :)

  8. Aditi

    OOOOH! I’m currently listening to the audiobook, and even though I’m only five chapters or so in, I love it. I’m SO sad it wasn’t all the great for you. I haven’t gotten to the part where Vika and Nikolai meet, and the fact that it’s insta love is killing it for me. I hate insta love.

    I’m glad the plot was entertaining though.

    Thanks for sharing this awesome review:)
    Aditi recently posted…A Double Serving of ARC Reviews #1

  9. Romi

    Oh, I’m sorry this ended up being a let down, Alise! I’ve heard a little bit of buzz for it and the premise is really intriguing, although I’ve learnt more about it now, I think, than I have at any other time (I hardly ever read synopsis and possibly I should, although I doubt it’ll happen, honestly, unless I’m reordering my tbr) and your review doesn’t really make it seem like something to get really excited about.

    I have to say, the fact that one of the two isn’t going to win and in fact that actually happens is kinda awesome. I mean, unless you really loved both characters and didn’t want one of them to die! In that case, the fact one loses and will potentially die could be devastating. But I like that there’s that follow through (hmming at the spoiler, though) and it isn’t exactly a HEA. Yet. I’m pretty much in for the plot, but I know I have A Darker Shade of Magic on my tbr, however, so I might check that one out first and see if I’m still tempted, afterwards.

    I hope your next read is more satisfying! x
    Romi recently posted…Six favourites for six years.

    • Alise

      No worries! Reordering and culling my TBR is definitely something I need to do, soon. *Looks at endless to-do list of things* Eventually. Sigh.

      I know! I’m a sucker for bittersweet endings but I have a bad feeling the sequel will take that away… I would! ADSOM and The Night Circus are fantastic.

    • Alise

      No worries! I’ve also noticed that, it’s definitely one that gets mixed reviews. If you do read it, let me know what you think :)

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