Review: “The Crown’s Game” by Evelyn Syke

Dude, I was so excited when this book came out. I didn’t do a “most anticipated releases” for the month of May so I skipped over a few books…

But I was too poor to go out and buy it.

I love my local library for having it. ❤ (I’ve really been meaning to make a blog post just about the wonderfulness of the library system where I live but I’ve been distracted.)

Spoiler-free reviews below!

the crown's game

Title: The Crown’s Game
Author: Evelyn Syke
Publisher: Balzar & Bray (HarperCollins)
Release date: May 17, 2016
Genre: Young adult, historical fiction, fantasy
Length: 399 pages (hardcover)
Synopsis: (from Goodreads) 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 rating: 3/5

I started out by giving this two stars but the last 100 pages or so bumped the rating up. I mean, there was a lot of things to love about this book.

Historical fiction? Check. Set in Russia? Check. Magic? Check. Royalty? Check.

I mean, I like all of the above things but this book…fell a little flat for me. It’s obviously a sequel so I’m crossing my fingers that everything develops more in terms of characters, writing, and the plot. Don’t get me wrong, none of it was particularly bad but it wasn’t awesome either. (Ugh, why do I always feel so bad saying that? 😦 )

One of my major problems with the book was that this could have happened anywhere in whatever other country that wasn’t Russia. I mean, seriously. There was nothing remotely unique about the setting. And because it was historical fiction, there wasn’t a lot of do in terms of world building. Sure, we’re put in the time period but I wasn’t…enveloped in the time period like I am with other historical fictions. And yes, I understand that this is also a fantasy but it lacked what I love about historical fictions.

In terms of the magic, it was pretty neat. I liked how each character had their own specialization of magic. I like Vika’s more but it was all fantastic to read. ❤

I was not about the insta-love! Although I can appreciate the way Vika and Nikolai were drawn to each other in a magical sense. Their powers called to each other and so the underlying sense of their attraction was acceptable to me.

As I said, the last 100 pages or so saved the book for me. There was a huge plot twist that I didn’t expect. I guess I would say there was two and it was a cliffhanger! And just for that reason, I’m going to keep an eye on this series and read the sequel when it comes out. It reminded me a bit of The Night Circus.

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