The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

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This book is glorious. There is no other word for it. I read the whole thing in less than a day, partly because I’ve been in hospital and bored out of my mind, but also because I just had to keep reading.

“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, a duel of magical skill. 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 novel is set in Tsarist Russia, at the time of Tsar Alexander 1; the author has mixed fact and fantasy to create a beautiful novel. She obviously loves Russia and has done her research, as it does feel as if you are there.

Vika and Nikolai are enchanters, able to wield great magic. There is usually only one enchanter, born when the current enchanter dies, destined to become the protector of Russia.

There have been rare occasions throughout history when two enchanters are born, and thus The Crown’s Game was created; a magical duel and fight to the death.  Only one enchanter can survive.

I found Pasha, the Tsesarevich’s (the Tsar’s son and heir) to be the most likeable character. He is heir to the throne, but doesn’t crave power, he just wants to be liked and make his people happy. You would be forgiven for thinking the two things line up quite nicely, but both the Tsar and his power mad sister Yuliana think Pasha is “too soft” to be Tsar.

There are lots of secrets, misunderstandings, magical battles and beautiful descriptions.  I cannot wait for the next installment. Oh yes, it’s the first of a trilogy – did I forget to mention that bit? Yaaaay.

The Crown’s Game was released on 17th May 2016; I tried to get the paperback but it was unavailable despite being pre-ordered, so I got the kindle version for £9.99. The hardback is being  released on 30th June 2016, so I have ordered that to add to my library. #bookworm #spendthrift

I’m not sure if this is available on kindle in the US, but the hardcover is $12.52 on Amazon at the time this review was published.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Toodles!

Stephani Xxx

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