Title: The Crown’s Game
Author: Evelyn Skye
Source: Received a review copy from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.
This book was probably the first hyped YA fantasy book I had read in a WHILE, it was published I around May last year and I avoided it for the longest time. I’ve had some experience being disappointed with over-hyped YA fantasy books, so I tend to come back to them when they’re almost forgotten about.
The synopsis included magic, historical fiction set in Russia and a duel to find the Russia’s next Imperial Enchanter so… I’m in! So basically there are two competitors Vika and Nikolai (hint: some obvious YA romance transpires between these two) who have been training their whole lives to become the Imperial Enchanter and work alongside the Tsar. They each get a turn to pretty much woo the Tsar with their magic, the winner becomes a valued adviser to him, the loser is sentenced to death.
Being completely honest I wish there was a little more focus on the magical aspect of this story. As mentioned before there’s romance involved between the two competitors, and for the most part that’s what I felt like the focus was on. It was also another case of instalove, and the relationship development between these two characters was not the best, so I couldn’t even follow that aspect. BUT the writing style is something that stood out to me, the writer set a tone from the beginning that was consistent throughout. The story is set in Russia and to celebrate the Prince’s birthday the two enchanters perform tricks that transform the city, and the imagery really helped to make all the scenes so clear and vivid. And I don’t have the most creative imagination so she’s THAT good.
I was a little disappointed with this book, especially because I didn’t see how the magic performed by the two enchanters would be useful to the Tsar in the future. So I didn’t really see the practical side of this whole competition. At the same time, I’m invested enough to read the sequel and I want to see where the story goes from here, because the ending was a little… interesting.