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.
©2016 Evelyn Skye (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers
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Critic reviews

"Gorgeous and richly imagined." (Sara Raasch, New York Times best-selling author of the Snow Like Ashes series)
"Teeming with hidden magic and fiery romance." (Sabaa Tahir, New York Times best-selling author of An Ember in the Ashes)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 08-08-16

Great world building, slow pacing, love triangle

The writer did a great job of building up the world of 1800s St. Petersburg, Russia. The scenery details were great. But the story dragged on in many places. Also, the characters we're predictable, and I'm over the whole love triangle bit. I found the female protagonist to be not as sympathetic as I would have liked, as she made many choices that she knew went against her best interest - and everyone else's - and it put many people into a catch-22 that was easily avoidable. There was a nice amount of realism in the end with it being mostly bitter not sweet; reminded me a bit of The Theif Lord in that way. Not my cup of tea, but you may enjoy it.

As always, Steve West is great on the narration.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Brittany on 01-09-16

Stunning debut from Evelyn Skye!

Right off the bat, THE CROWN’S GAME had a teensy bit of a NIGHT CIRCUS feel and I was instantly hooked. Two opposing magicians (or in this case, enchanters)? Yes, please! I easily immersed myself in this book and had just a wonderful time reading it from start to finish. Evelyn Skye did a fantastic job with this book and my only regret (kidding, I don’t really regret anything) is that I read it so early because I need more of these books NOW!

THE CROWN’S GAME was a really fun read for me. I was a bit worried at first because I know nothing about Imperial Russia (history was not my favorite growing up… and now I kick myself for it!) but I had nothing to worry about. The book is based on actual historical figures but the author has taken liberties with the facts and setting and turned them into a fantasy-based story. I loved the way that the history (the little that I actually knew) and the culture shaped the story and really brought the book to life! I absolutely loved the feel of the book and I really felt like I could picture each scene so well.

The concept of competing enchanters was exciting, nerve-wracking, and delightful all at the same time. Vika and Nikolai are forced into The Crown’s Game, a competition which one will win the right to serve the tsar as the official enchanter. The challenges between these two enchanters is absolutely delightful. The rules in place state that any “turn” (they alternate performing a large magical feat and have five turns to impress the tsar), cannot harm the common people so Vika and Nikolai come up with ways to enhance the city and oh. Their magic is simply gorgeous. I fell head over heels for the enchantments that Evelyn Skye designed for her characters and they were beautiful to experience. Each one really brought the book to life so much more and I was positively in love with how each turn was handled. Each one was also exponentially more exciting as the two enchanters built off of the previous works all the while under immenent threat of being murdered by the other. Oh yeah, did I mention that this is a competition TO THE DEATH? I spent the entire book falling in love with these two characters (and shipping them, obviously) and still somehow I was like nah, one of them will live. It can’t end in one of them dying, right? (This is also my Gansey denial.) I won’t tell you how it ends but it was something that I really and truly did not see coming and I was impressed and shocked all at the same time. I just really loved dichotomy of bringing harmony to St. Petersburg as Vika and Nikolai took each of their turns and the constant panic and fear as both of them feared for their lives when that new turn arrived.

I absolutely loved each character in this book as well. Of course I loved the two main characters, Vika and Nikolai, and how they came together in this story. They really balance each other out and fit together so well. Vika can easily manipulate things in nature — water, land, food — and Nikolai is best with textiles and materials — wood, fabric, metal, etc. They were brought together as the only two living enchanters in Russia but I loved that their magic and ability wasn’t identical. I also loved how their relationship was slow to develop (being that they’re pitted against each other and all) and that things and feelings just slowly start falling into place. It really just felt so natural and wonderful.

The other characters are great as well. Pasha (the prince) plays a huge role in this book in so many ways and I absolutely loved him. He brings such positivity and joy to the book and at the same time provides a very large point of conflict with Nikolai as his best friend (who he doesn’t know possesses magical abilities) and his instant attraction to Vika. His role in the book is so amazingly crafted and interwoven with every other character’s story line and I was so impressed!

I feel like I could go on and on but I will wrap it up by saying do not miss out on this book. I finished it and then immediately wanted to read more! THE CROWN’S GAME was a wonderful book and I can’t wait for more from Evelyn Skye!

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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