Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: May 17, 2016
Format: Kindle version, 416 pages
Summary Via GoodReads
My Rating: ★★★★ 1/2
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.I feel like this book was written for me in mind! I got really obsessed with The Romanov family and Russian history when I was younger. I think maybe it was because of the movie Anastasia that came out when I was a kid? But in college I actually took a 300-level lit & film class and a 300-level Imperial Russian History class FOR MY ELECTIVES! I'm a crazy person. So since I have such an interest in this time period, this book was so for me!
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 know a lot of people think this book is too similar to The Night Circus, in the basis that there are two magical people fighting to the death (and they happen to fall in love.) I totally understand that, but...I kinda of liked this one better. Maybe I'm biased because I like Russian history, but I could just picture the setting in this book so much. I really loved reading about Vika and Nikolai! I loved that they both had a hard time coming to terms with what they would have to do in order to win The Crown's Game.
I think the whole concept of the Tsar needing an Imperial Enchanter is so interesting. I think it's definitely trying to loop in the weird theories about the mystic Grigori Rasputin, which I so totally loved! I loved the descriptions in this novel, especially once the game starts and Viki and Nikolai start changing everything in St. Petersburg. I could really see it all in my head, and I just wanted to find out what was going to happen! I also really loved how they were supposed to take their "turns", that part of the novel really fascinated me.
There's kind of a love square going on in this novel, so I didn't really care for that. I just didn't think it was necessary to include Renata into this, it just didn't make sense to me. I think it made sense for Pasha to fall in love with Vika, because he seems like a person that falls in love with everyone. He's quite the mischievous character, and I did enjoy reading about him and seeing how his friendship with Nikolai developed.
The ending of this book is not a happy one, and I'm not giving it away, but I think I kind of like how it turns out. I like how Skye leaves the world. It gave me a sense of closure, although I'm not entirely sure if it gave closure to the other characters in this novel. I think that's the point though, they have to live with what has happened to them and figure out how to move on with their lives.
I'm not sure if I want to read the sequel to this book, because I liked where this book left off. Has anyone read both novels? It is worth reading the sequel?
Happy Reads Everyone!