The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Summary from GoodReads
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.
This is the second time a highly anticipated novel, with much promotion might I add, reaches my expectations (The first one was Truthwitch). "The Crown's Game" was indeed everything I liked in a historical YA, even if the History is altered and has the magic element; there was acurate descriptions, there were also references in historical events and not to mention how the Russia od thwe 19th century came to life through Evelyn's words!
Vika and Nikolai are brought together in order to fight in the Crown's Game, an ancient ritual which will give to the Tsar of the Russian Empire his most powerful enchanter. Both must outwit each other in a spectacle of magic and maybe kill each other if needed.
While I enjoyed every scene that was shown into the battles of magic there were two scenes that were absolute perfection. The puppet dancing in the plaza and Vika's dress in the Prince's birthday ball. The POV is written in third and we can see all the aspects of the characters envolved; Vika, Nikolai, the Tsar and Pasha the Prince even his sister.
There is a love triangle in this book but for me it fell into second place, not to mention that it was solved by the end of the book. Now that I think about it it was more about Pasha's feelings for Vika rather hers for him. The biggest weight in the book falls into the magic battle which turns violent in some points and other times is quite enchanting. In this aspect this plot was close to the "Night Circus", another book I enjoyed very much, and I would re-read again.
Also, the mention of the Greek revolution, the Ottomans and the historical event of the seige of Mesologgi from the Ottomans was a very clever part from Evelyn to put in her story.
Finally, the book ended in a damn cliffhanger. I really expect the author to explain this situation in the next book, because this can't be their ending! This book is highly recommended and I'll anxiously expect the sequel. ;)
About the author:
Evelyn Skye was once offered a job by the C.I.A., she not-so-secretly wishes she was on "So You Think You Can Dance," and if you challenge her to a pizza-eating contest, she guarantees she will win.
When she isn't writing, Evelyn can be found chasing her daughter on the playground or sitting on the couch, immersed in a good book and eating way too many cookies.
THE CROWN'S GAME is her first novel. Evelyn can be found online at www.evelynskye.com and on Twitter @EvelynSkyeYA.