Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: YA Fantasy
Source: The Library
Purchase: Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository | Amazon
Goodreads Summary: 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.
The Crown's Game was both magical and unoriginal. I enjoyed The Crown's Game, but it is not my new favorite young adult fantasy.
I liked Vika. I liked Nikolai. I liked Pasha. But I wasn't a big fan of the love triangle or the insta-love. Everything to do with the romance in the book felt a little rushed, a little silly, and a little forced. It's a Romeo and Juliet type romance, which I usually like but this one just didn't work for me. On the other hand, I loved each character separately and my favorite part was Pasha and Nikolai's friendship, so having them fall for the same girl rubbed me the wrong way. I did love how interesting, strong, and curious these characters were.
What made me give this book 3.5 stars? The magic. I love magic in my books. Some of the magic done by these two enchanters was breath taking and gave me the chills. It was by and far the best part of the book. Fans of anything magic should read this book simply for that reason alone.
The overall plot of the story seemed very basic YA Fantasy to me. (Maybe it's because I read a lot of YA Fantasy or my mood while I was reading.) There were a few surprises that were not all that surprising. I did like the setting, but a little more world building would have been nice too.
This is a decent first book in a series. The ending left me wanting to see what happens next. In the end, I think it is worth a read.