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.
-Synopsis taken from Goodreads
It’s Meaghan here again! I was so excited to read this book, and even though it wasn’t exactly what I expected, I still loved the plot, characters, and the world! More details are in my review below!
“She wanted again to hold on to him, and have him hold on to her, so they could whirl together through the cosmos like galaxies that could not—and would not—be confined.”
Stars (Out of 10): 9.5/10
Overall Thoughts: I always love books with games, competitions, or riddles, and this one was no exception! It’s definitely different in how it was done, and wasn’t like most “game” related books I’ve read, but I loved it for its uniqueness! The characters were amazing to read, and I loved both the POVs that I was given! Overall, a great book, and I’m curious what the author will do with the rest!
SPOILERS BEGIN HERE
The Good: The plot and competition was really well fleshed out! I also loved the main characters a lot, and reading from them was very enjoyable. There also wasn’t necessarily one bad and one good enchanter, and in my opinion, I wasn’t rooting for Vika or Nikolai to win, as I liked them both so much! I also loved how well the book meshed with the historical aspect of Russia, and it was really interesting to read from that time and region!
The Bad: it wasn’t what I expected from a competition based book, and while that’s not bad in itself, I was slightly disappointed because of this. However, that’s more on me than the author and book! I also didn’t really care for any of the side characters, or at least did not like them as much as the main characters.
The Characters: I loved Vika, Nikolai, and Sergei, and while none of the other side characters really meshed with me, I still liked their contributions to the story. I only disliked Pasha near the end, and was surprised by his sudden transformation, even with the aiding of Yuliana.
The Plot: I really enjoyed the plot. The twists of heritage always shocked me, and so did the death of Nikolai and use of Galina’s knife at the end! It truly captured my attention, and managed to just grab tighter on to it as the book continued on!
The World Building: I loved the blending of Russian culture and magic. We not only saw the culture of magic and its role, but also a political side of the empires present at that time, as well as social hierarchy and the languages spoken!
The Stereotypical Tropes: Love Triangle
The Favorite Character: Vika or Nikolai!
Buy it, Borrow it, or Bin it: Buy it!