The Crown's Game by Evelyn SkyeThe Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye

The Crown's Game

byEvelyn Skye

Hardcover | May 17, 2016

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"Gorgeous and richly imagined."—Sara Raasch, New York Times bestselling author of the Snow Like Ashes series

"Teeming with hidden magic and fiery romance."—Sabaa Tahir, #1 New York Times bestselling author of An Ember in the Ashes

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.

Evelyn Skye is a bestselling author of The Crown's Game.
Title:The Crown's GameFormat:HardcoverDimensions:416 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.29 inPublished:May 17, 2016Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0062422588

ISBN - 13:9780062422583


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Magical and Romantic Actual rating is 4.5, but only because I have some nitpicks. I don't feel there are too many YA stories set in tsarist Russia, and I was very happy to experience a book that is romantic, engaging, and feels like a reinterpretation of a fairy tale. I love the concept of the Crown's Game and really enjoyed watching the enchanters come up with truly creative ways to challenge themselves. The main characters, Vika, Nikolai, and Pasha, have a very interesting and complex relationship. Vika is a great lead character and I enjoyed her chapters a lot. Nikolai has his heart in the right place, but definitely broods a lot. I found Pasha to be very sweet for most of the book, save for the ending, which clearly begs for a sequel. The only thing that kind of irked me was the pace of the romance. Yes, it was a key part of the story, but I feel like it happened too quickly to be believable. There were a couple other events that seemed really rushed, especially regarding Nikolai's backstory, but all in all I truly enjoyed this book and can't wait to see what happens next!
Date published: 2018-06-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Full of magic Though full of magic throughout the book, the characters were flat. I did like Nikolai but everyone else was just kind of selfish and 2-D
Date published: 2017-05-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Definitely Entertaining I don't want the three star rating to throw people off. I LOVED this world. I LOVED these characters. And the ending definitely set up the next book perfectly and I cannot wait to get my hands on it. ...I have a soft spot for books set in Russia. Or based/loosely based on Russian culture or folklore. I just wish this book was more of an immersive experience.
Date published: 2017-03-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enjoyable! I really enjoyed this book! I loved that it was set in Imperial Russia but with a bit of a twist. I really enjoyed both Vika and Nikolai and pretty much every character in the book. The only downside to the story was the bit of insta love/love triangle. Even with that aspect, I didn't find it deterred from the overall story. The ending was quite surprising and I can't wait to see what happens next. I'm really looking forward to the next book
Date published: 2017-01-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Okay I had high hopes for this book given the description but it was a let down. This book relied on cliche YA tropes of forbidden love and love triangles to progress the plot which became tiring about halfway in. Overall, the premise was interesting, it just didn't deliver
Date published: 2017-01-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Bit Slow This book took me awhile to read, and that is very unusual. It was slow getting into it, but I think that was because the author focused on world building. Once I got into the book, it took off for me. I loved it by the end and now I can't wait for the next book to come out.
Date published: 2017-01-01
Rated 3 out of 5 by from will read the second book too now while this book was mind shatteringly awesome, and while it didnt captivate me like a great book does, I still thought it was interesting, bought it in the mall as a gift to myself and enjoyed reading it in between my classes, I like all the male characters. And though it just wasn't what you'd describe as amazing I'll still continue with the series and buy the second book too because it was good enough for me.
Date published: 2016-12-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Took Awhile It took me awhile to get into this. I felt the story was very slow and predictable. As one of the most anticipated books for 2016, it seriously let me down, but it wasn't horrible. It got better towards the end, and I will most likely pick up the next one just to see what happens. So, in short, it was good enough to make me want to buy the next one.
Date published: 2016-12-12
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Didn't Live up to the Hype With an exciting summary, a beautiful cover and decent reviews, I expected great things from this book. However, I think I may have expected too much, because while this wasn’t a bad book, it certainly wasn’t anything special. I enjoyed it, but it simply fell flat for me. In particular, I felt let down by the overly cliche use of both star-crossed lovers and a love triangle (both of which were revealed in the summary). All the right things were there, but they simply never came together, and the ending simply felt like a cheap cop-out.
Date published: 2016-11-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Okay Wasn't great, very 2-dimensional plot structure. Not many story arcs to keep it interesting. Setting was cool but had a hard time caring about this book.
Date published: 2016-11-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome Okay so I am not a big fan of historical fiction. BUT, history mixed with fantasy gets all the stars from me! I really enjoyed this book, I thought the characters were interesting and the setting fantastic! (A very, very cold Russia) The romance was a slow, but still sweet. And the magic (always my favourite) was excellent. Definitely pick this one up!
Date published: 2016-11-15
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Couldn't Get Through This One I tried. I really, really tried. At page 43 I wasn't feeling it, but I had heard such glowing reviews that I continued on. But I just can't. The straw that broke this camel's back was that there was a story within the story and I just couldn't deal with that. Mostly my issue with this one is that there was Too Much™. I thought the premise of this one was FANTASTIC. A DUEL to become an enchanter and advisor to the Tsar! How fantastic! So there was going to be intrigue and magic and awesomeness! Except ... there wasn't. It started off so blah and I just found myself putting this one down over and over again and feeling no inclination to pick it back up. I thought there could have been a bit more world building to reel me in but I think the main problem was that I couldn't connect to the characters. I did anticipate that this would be told in alternating POVs between Nikolai and Vika, and MAYBE even Pasha since he is mentioned in the summary pretty heavily. What I was not anticipating was getting every living person in St. Petersburg giving me their opinion on the characters, the setting, the Game, etc. etc. etc. I, and every character in here, knows SO MUCH about the plot that it makes it not fun to read. I don't understand why they all know so much, especially that Nikolai knows so much about the actual game (except the important bits). And on top of there being a billion people who have opinions on things, the chapters are all basically three pages which means we never really get to connect with any of the characters before we move onto the next. There are just too many characters and opinions. I feel like a dual or even a triple POV book for this would have been more than sufficient because all these characters felt so two-dimensional because the changing POVs didn't give them time to have a personality beyond the basic traits that made them Individuals™. Overall, this just did not work for me. And I'm sad about it. It was sold to me as The Grisha-esque and that just wasn't here. Except that there is a character named Nikolai. That's about it. Anyway, this wasn't for me so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Date published: 2016-11-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great first debut book. I didn't know what to expect and was blown away. Evelyn Skye wrote aa amazing first debut book. It's characters, setting and storyline make you read every page with anticipation. Although we know the principal characters are drawn to each other, the fact that are competing and only one of them can survive is a refreshing change to the usual "love triangle" or "I hate you but now love you" scenario that is most author's simple go to. The creativity in planning each opponents move and how each character , no matter how minor, plays an important role weaves a rich, well thought out story. I would say more....but I don't want to spoil the wonder that is this story. I only say, it is well worth the read and I wasn't surprised after reading this book, to go to the author's site and see that she has already received fan art and wide spread glowing reviews from papers because it is that good.
Date published: 2016-08-18
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not as good as I was hoping it would be The Crown's Game was on my list of anticipating 2016 reads, and after getting my copy from the bookstore, I was ecstatic to start it. Sadly, I was mostly disappointed with it. The premise is about a game that leads to either participant dying as only one can be the Imperial Enchanter. The premise makes you anticipate a restless feud between two powerful teens, but it was actually very calm throughout the novel. The novel is full of surprises due to the way the game is set up, but it was not the fighting-for-my-life-to-win that I wanted. Let's get to why exactly my ranking for this book is a two star. 1. The Romance The romance in the novel is instalove. There's no going around it. Nikolai and Vika are drawn to another the instant they met. Pasha, the heir to the crown, declares his love for Vika after meeting and speaking with her approximately three times. There wasn't any depth to it. The love in the book felt shallow and had little support. 2. The Magic Overall, the descriptions of magic within the book were wonderful, but they lacked the vibrancy that I usually feel reading fantasy novels. I really liked the differences between Nikolai and Vika's magic being of man-made magic vs. elemental, but I was just so confused constantly about how it all worked. The magic system was a little wonky. If the magic the Enchanters are using comes from Russia, why is it the magic found within themselves? Why can they not use another countries magic? Just because they were born in Russia? A lot of the magic was really beautifully described, but how magic worked just didn't make sense to me. 3. The Narration The way the book was narrated irked me a lot. It felt like the author was trying to sound otherworldly yet modern- and it just wasn't working out. Or perhaps it just didn't feel consistent to me. A sentence would draw me back into the world, but the next sentence made me jump right back out. I feel like this was probably due to the vast amount of sentences beginning with "But" and "And." Really, look at every paragraph and tell me there isn't a "But" in there somewhere. I just felt so off while reading the book, I just couldn't get immersed, which saddened me a lot because I was super excited for this book pre-release. 4. The Plot The plot was fairly simple, there were a few surprises, but overall, pretty predictable. Some notable plot parts that I found not so great were Pasha not being told about the game, then his reaction to Nikolai after finding out he's an enchanter. And the instalove. Oh darn you instalove. There is a part with Vika's father that annoyed me to bits in the middle. It felt redundant and obvious, yet the character had to go through that. I just felt tired when I read it. What I did like a lot was the descriptions of food, I got so very hungry reading those bits. And the descriptions of Russia were beautiful. It makes me want to visit one day. I will most definitely pick up the sequel to see how things play out, but I'm sad to say that I didn't really enjoy this book as much as I was hoping I would.
Date published: 2016-06-28
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Magical vivid world, but it fell short because of the romance.. Going into this, I based it on the high GoodReads rating and the genre. Didn't read the description at all, so I pretty much went into it blind. I liked it and didn't like some parts. Imperial Russia with two enchanters fighting to the death? This is The Crown's Game. Except there wasn't a whole lot of participating from the royal family at all. The first thing that always gets me is how slow a story will start. I need something to pull me in. And I try to be patient so I wasn't surprised really when the pacing was slow and dragging. I pushed through because I'm stubborn and finally a story emerged. I just had to read to the halfway mark before anything happened. Then there was the whole premise of the game. To be the magical enchanter for the Tsar of Imperial Russia. I guess being an enchanter brings prestige because I didn't understand why it was so important to be the one and only. Then there was the instant love that came from the moment these two characters saw each other. Quite literally they see each other and the characters think it's love but I think otherwise, lust and attraction which is not the same thing as love. That bugged me a lot only because these two hardly knew a thing about each other. They have random conversations and then one is declaring their love for the other. I was puzzled. Not only was there instant love, there was also unrequited love. I didn't think there would be a love square but there was. If you mash up Cinderella, The Night Circus and throw in magical powers in the beautiful location of Russia, this is what you get. And then the biggest thing that I disliked was how Vika would let herself be controlled by Nikolai. He's controlling her body and how she dances, and she's not horrified at all, she ends up "melting" with desire. Vika: "No. I still don't trust you." Nikolai: "No matter. I'm not giving you a choice." A part of Vika—the non-rational part of her—melted. "Vika was now Nikolai’s puppet, his ballerina in a music box. But Vika also knew that if she wanted him to release her strings, she could force him to. She had magic, too. Only, she didn’t want him to stop." Then there are the lovely things about the book. The exquisite descriptions of how magic is used to enchant the city. I didn't understand the rules right away and the Tsar had no qualms about the game at all. He was busy being a king and trying to protect his people from the Ottoman Empire. I love the enchantments and how they were described so vividly and beautifully. There was the island with benches of Russian cities and if one would sit on it, they would be transported to that city in their mind. That was one part that stood out for me. The enchanted costume boxes or the dolls being brought to life? Not so much. I also didn't get how the citizens would wave it off as "technology" when it could be clearly magic. I also loved how there was a little twist in the end and that it ends in such a horrific way. Granted, I finished the book because I wanted to see who would win. Overall, it's a wonderful debut, but the instant love, controlling male character and slow pacing dropped my rating. Evelyn Skye builds a wonderful historical debut with magic and Russian culture. But unfortunately I was looking for more than just romance, and more adventure and action.
Date published: 2016-06-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Magical Duel Like No Other I was lucky enough to have gotten an early copy of The Crown's Game but I delayed reading it because I was afraid it wouldn't live up to the huge hype. I didn't want to be disappointed. When Brittany @ Brittany's Book Ramble announced a read-along, I joined since it's the perfect opportunity to have others to talk to and not read the book alone. We had a timeline for which chapters to read each week but I ended up enjoying the book so much I didn't follow the schedule. Oops. #sorrynotsorry I love the writing in The Crown's Game, I devoured this book. Normally when I inhale a book, it's at a frantic I-can't-stop-flipping-the-pages rate. The Crown's Game was not like that. I read it continuously but it was at a slow pace. The steady pacing of the story made it so enjoyable. It allowed me to absorb the majestic world and witness the magic in the story and inside the characters. The short chapters and alternating viewpoints made my reading experience even better. Simply put, I was never bored. Evelyn Skye excelled at keeping the readers' attention. Now when one comes across a story that promises an intense competition to the death between two powerful enchanters, one normally would think action, action and more action! This was not the case with The Crown's Game. Personally I didn't mind- I was surprised but not bothered at all. The story wasn't all blood and guts but rather colours and beauty. The enchanters' duels were artsy in nature and I found them quite special and beautiful to read about. The amount of creativity and hard work put into Vika and Nikolai's "fights" made it all very grand and glamorous. The intricate details stole the show and gave the store life. I was mildly annoyed with the insta-love and love triangle. Really no surprises there. It was kind of hard to take the relationships seriously when the characters become enamoured with (each) other just after meeting. Vika and Nikolai's attraction I could get behind because of the connection through their magic but Pasha's infatuation with Vika made me cringe. I didn't enjoy his desperate pining and was pretty frustrated with his actions. They felt childish most of the time so I'm expecting him to make up for this in future books. I'm both excited and nervous to see how these relationships will work out. There's a plot twist. It surprised me. I can't say much except that it remains unsolved by the end of the book. It will be most interesting to see where this twist will take us in the sequel. It's a big game changer for sure. I hope to more fully explore the beautiful world inside The Crown's Game. I feel like we just grazed the surface of the story and its characters. There must be so much more to show and tell us. I'm beyond thrilled there will be more books!
Date published: 2016-05-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from 5 Gilded Crowns!!! Vika is an enchanter from a small village on Ovchinin Island, Russia who has grown up with only her father to teach her the ways of a forgotten and forbidden power. Magic in Russia has been abandoned or so most have believed. But during a fiery lesson, the tsarevich and his childhood best friend, Nikolai, stumble upon Vika as she emerges impossibly from the flames and they realize that magic is indeed alive and well and beautiful. Soon their three lives become inevitably entwined in a dangerous and deadly game of magic and power that will have you confused, enthralled, and delighted. The Tsar invokes an age-old contest called The Crown’s Game to help save Russia. The Crown’s Game is a contest of magical skill in which the victor will become the Imperial Enchanter and most revered advisor to the Tsar. When Nikolai sees Vika in all her magical glory he falls under her spell even knowing that he is the other enchanter that will one day face her in a contest of magical wills. Evelyn Skye has written a sweeping tale full of the beauty that is Russia seeping with magic and secrets and hidden evils. Surprises and unexpected revelations and a unique story arc make this an absolute must read! This book is perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo, Victoria Aveyard, and lovers of YA fantasy. This book is a surprising debut! It is magical, romantic, and so very beautifully written. Evelyn Skye describes Russia in such perfect detail and I can’t even explain how many times I gasped in surprise as elements of the story came to light that I could not have anticipated. Bravo! An utterly unique tale in a sea of YA books. And no. There is absolutely no insta-love! Thank you!
Date published: 2016-05-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A mesmerizing story where history collides with fantasy. The Crown's Game is a beautifully written story that had me captured from the beginning. We follow Vika and Nikolai, they are the only two enchanters in all of Russia. But the problem is there is only enough magic for one. The Tsar starts what is called the crown's game, a competition where each enchanter has to outperform the other. Winning the game gifts you with the title of the Tsar's Enchanter. Losing is the sentence of death. Nikolai's best friend, the soon to be Tsar, Pasha, is one of my favourite characters. He doesn't know about the magic of enchanters, Nikolai and Vika having kept their magic a secret. Pasha caught a glimpse of Vika's power and becomes infatuated with her. Although I am not well versed in Russia history I can appreciate the in-depth research that went into the writing of this novel. I have never visited Russia but if I ever do I imgine it to be very much the way Evelyn described in the book. And that ending?! Needless to say, I am very much anticipating book 2.
Date published: 2016-04-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A wonderful fantasy novel The Crown’s Game is absolutely perfect for lovers of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. The story itself takes place in Tsarist Russia during the year 1825, and Evelyn Skye did a wonderful job of properly depicting Russian culture, language and mentality during that time period. As a reader, I now long to visit Russia myself so that I may witness the landscape and landmarks described within her tale. The novel touches upon several important themes for young readers. These themes include: sibling rivalry, survival, friendship and loyalty.
Date published: 2016-04-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Beautifully crafted fantasy world perfect for fans of the Grisha series Two enchanters lives are forever changed when they enter the Crown's Game where they must outperform the other in a dangerous game of magic. Only one can win, and only the winner will survive and become the coveted advisor to the Tsar of Russia. When Nikolai and Vika sparks fly (literally) in fantasy series. Really interesting premise but the characters felt underdeveloped to me. Still worth a read for the budding romance and beautiful magic that makes one think of Bardugo's wonderful Grisha universe.
Date published: 2016-04-01

Editorial Reviews

“The Night Circus meets Cinderella in an alternate Russia. This extraordinary world has everything from insanely creative acts of magic, political intrigue, hope against all odds, romance, and oh-such-high-stakes-non-stop action. It is hands-down honest-to-goodness brilliant. Bravo.”