Review: The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

The Crown's Game - Evelyn SkyePublisher: Balzer + Bray (May 17th 2016)
Hardcover: 399 pages
Source: Edelweiss
Add on: Goodreads
Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

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.


This was a bit of mixed bag for me, which means there’s parts I really liked and parts that was kind of so-so.

The historical Russian background is quite lovely. It’s done really well, from the description of the towns and cities to the delicious food.

I loved the concept. Two enchanters battling it out to the Imperial Enchanter. I ended up really liking that in a way it’s quite a subtle battle. It’s not like Vika and Nikolai  are thrown into an arena to battle to the death, but instead they take turns showing off their skills that at the same time may potentially to kill their opponent.

There’s always next time, she thought as she curled up next to the limp ballerina with the red handkerchief spilling from her porcelain heart. […]

It’s all right, she told herself. I still have three more turns. I’ll kill him the next time.

The characters were interesting. I liked that Vika was sassy, even to the Tsar. And Nikolai was a bit quieter but still had his moments. There’s also Nikolai’s best friend, Pasha, who happens to the Tsar’s heir, but would much rather not be. He’s a bit roguish and can be kind of sassy too, which I enjoyed.

I did like the subtlety of Vika and Nikolai’s relationship, though I was a bit indifferent to the actual romance. It seemed to really lack depth in that department. There was also a bit of a love triangle, with Pasha, but it isn’t really all that bad (probably because I’m not crazy invested).

Overall, it was an intriguing story though I did find it to be pretty slow at points, especially near the beginning. As a first book it wasn’t a bad introduction and I feel like the rest of the series has a lot of potential to be great. Oh and in case you’re wondering, yes, there is an ending that leavings you kinda going “whhaaaaa….” (that’s my what the heck noise).

His carefully controlled rigidity cracked, and he gave her his shy smile. “You look lovely as well.”

“I thought I might attempt to be presentable if I’m to die.”

{Thanks to Balzer + Bray & Edelweiss for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Author: Cyn

noun. a bum OT, procrastinator. reader. eater. sleeper. music listen-er. movie go-er. Loves food too much.

9 Replies to “Review: The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye”

  1. I’ve heard quite a lot of good things about this one, particularly about the world-building, but I’ll have to keep in mind the slow pacing of the book–sometimes that does frustrate me! Can’t wait to start this one. Great review!! 😀

    1. I think it’ll help going into the book knowing that it’s a bit of a slower pace. I hope you enjoy it!!
      Thanks, Rabiah!

  2. I almost picked this up..the Russia aspect screamed read me, but alas I was too booked. The ending..does it mean there are more books or just gads why?

    1. I’m pretty sure there’s suppose to at least one more book! I really enjoyed the Russian aspect!

  3. I’ve seen some less than enthusiastic reviews recently but also some raves. I think I’ll have to go in with lower expectations that I had originally, and hopefully that’ll help?

    Is it weird that I don’t mind slow beginnings? So long as it picks up–and the middle isn’t slow. That’s what gets me!

  4. So far all the reviews I’ve seen for this one have made it seem like this is a book you either love or hate, so it’s interesting to read your review since you’re in the middle. The concept, characters, and setting sound great, but it’s a shame the pacing is a bit slow in the beginning. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! <3

  5. The main reason I want to read this is the Russian mythology setting, which sounds completely amazing! A shame there were things that didn’t quite pan out though. Lovely review!

  6. I am in a bind with this book, actually. it was just too slow for me so I had to stop. This may be a good one listened to as an audiobook, right? I’m about 20ish % in when Vika and Nikolai start the competition….

  7. I’m so sorry this one disappointed you! This one is on my TBR from the setting alone. I hate that it was a little slow. Argh. Great review.

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