Author: Evelyn Skye
Series: Crown's Game (Book 1)
Publication: Balzer + Bray (May 17, 2016)
Description: Perfect for fans of Shadow and Bone and Red Queen, The Crown’s Game is a thrilling and atmospheric historical fantasy set in Imperial Russia about two teenagers who must compete for the right to become the Imperial Enchanter—or die in the process—from debut author Evelyn Skye.
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.
My Thoughts: Vika Andreyeva and Nikolai Karimov have, unknown to each other, been training all their lives to vie for the position and Enchanter of Russia. Vika has lived on Ovchinin Island under the care and teaching of her loving father. Nikolai has lived in St. Petersburg and been trained by Countess Galina Zakrevsky who has given him nothing but tasks to do and skills to learn.
Nikolai has become friends with the Crown Prince Pavel Alexandrovich Romanov. Pasha is charming and loves to read and he much prefers disguising himself and spending time with ordinary people than living the restricted life of the Crown Prince.
Matters in Russia are becoming difficult with unrest in the country and trouble at the borders. This unrest makes the Tsar decide it is time for the Crown's Game to choose the enchanter who will help strengthen and protect Russia. The Crown's Game is an ancient ritual that pits one enchanter against another in a battle to the death.
Neither Vika or Nikolai want to engage in a battle to the death and they want to even less when they meet each other and fall in love. But there's isn't the only love story. The Crown Prince falls for Vika and one of Nikolai's only friends in the Countess's home declares her love for him. Meanwhile, the two must engage in five contests to determine who is the better enchanter.
I loved the setting of this story and the time period. I loved Nikolai, Vika and Pasha too and ached for the hard choices they all had to make. Epic fantasy fans won't want to miss this excellent story.
The instant he touched her, his shadow flickered, and his real self flashed through. Vika sucked in a breath.I got this ARC from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.
Oh, mercy, he was handsome, all ebony hair and ink-black eyes and a face so precisely chiseled, Vika could almost picture the blade that had created him.