17 December, 2016

{Review} The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye

The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye
The Crown's Game, book 1
Published May 17, 2016 by Balzer + Bray
Vika Andreyev 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.

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My Review

♫ 

The Crown's Game fell flat for me and it's kind of difficult for me to explain as to why that is. I guess it's mostly because I can't really bring myself to feel anything for the book. It wasn't bad but I didn't like it or dislike it, and for that reason, it falls under GoodReads' 2-star rating of it was okay.

The Crown's Game  is an ancient duel meant for enchanters. They use their limited moves to show off their skill and strategy to the tsar. With the Ottomans and the Kazakhs threatening Russia, the tsar knows it's time for an Imperial Enchanter--if not for him, then his son, Pasha.

The enchanters, Nikolai and Vika, know they have to kill each other in order to be the Imperial Enchanter. But with their magic calling to one another, accepting that fate is difficult. With the two slowly falling for each other, Pasha already in love with Vika, and dangerous secrets arising, the Crown's Game just got a lot more deadly.

Deadly... and dramatic.

I couldn't connect with any of the characters. I don't know why. I couldn't bring myself to like any of them, either. 

There are three main characters--two are the really important ones, if you ask me--Pasha, the tsearevich; and the two enchanters, Nikolai and Vika. Pasha falls in love with Vika practically immediately, when Nikolai and he catch her practicing on her little island. Nikolai and Vika have this weird dance going on: they "try" to kill each other but they know that they like each other, especially because of their magic--like calls to like and all that jazz. See, that... mess... really just ruined it for me.

They're supposed to be trying to kill each other but there was never really any trying. In fact, it's like they kind of hope they don't kill the other and I didn't really understand that. Vika wants to be Imperial Enchanter--she's been training for this her entire life. Nikolai wants to be Imperial Enchanter to finally belong in a society that makes him feel like an outsider. But their actions don't show this at all. One look at each other and they just want to know one another better. I mean, I kind of get it, too--as much as one can get the attraction between two enchanters--it was bound to happen. But they just made it a lot harder for themselves and not to mention Russia

For the most part, though, Nikolai and Vika were okay characters. I liked Nikolai's point of view more than the many others, but I couldn't really like him as a character. As for Vika, I loved the potential she had--the magic she used to create things was wonderful but I didn't get as much as I was hoping to see from her. It dulled the story.

Now. Pasha. The little golden-haired tsearevich. I hated him. I hated him so much. He was childish and so selfish. At one point, when Nikolai finally tells him a secret that literally no one is supposed to know, Pasha actually gets mad at him. He feels betrayed. And I just??? It infuriated me to no end because you don't just go around telling everyone you're a bloody enchanter. It's a HUGE secret for a reason. And I found his attraction to Vika just weird. It seemed like obsession for some time, and really, it was clear it was never going to happen. It was completely unnecessary to add him at a potential love interest when he added nothing but more drama to the romance.

As for the romance, it was kind of slow. The beginning was okay, but it dragged a bit. Everything afterwards was kind of steady but not enough to keep to interested in reading. The Crown's Game already took more a little more than a week to read and I had to force myself to finish it.

Although this had a lot of points of view, I really liked the twist near the end. I wasn't entirely expecting that--it caught me off guard. But what followed was really anticlimactic for me. 

A friend of mine on twitter, Mikee, told me that this book was similar to The Night Circus, which is my favourite book. Unfortunately, while there are some parallels, it didn't live up to that comparison.

Overall, 2 stars. While I'm wary about The Crown's Fate, I'm still looking forward to where Skye takes the story.

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