Book Review: The Crown’s Game (The Crown’s Game #1) by 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.


This book was one of my most anticipated releases of 2016 and I was very, very excited to read it but then the negative reviews started trickling out among the positive ones and I began to question whether I should read “The Crown’s Game” or not. I definitely should not have wasted  my time. This has got to be one of the most disappointing books this year because of how high my expectations were and how badly this book failed.


Let me start out by saying this book wasn’t completely awful hence the two star rating instead of one star but it is incredibly unoriginal. If you’ve ever read even one YA fantasy book then don’t even bother with this because it’s nothing new.

I would say the biggest let down of this entire book was the fact that this is supposed to be a magical battle to the DEATH and all we got were parlor tricks that were so unbelievably underwhelming. You’re supposed to be trying to kill each other not painting buildings with your magic for crying out loud! So freaking boring! The magic might as well not have even been included because it was essentially pointless. These two enchanters are supposed to be the most powerful people in Russia and they can’t even summon something spectacular to kill their opponent? What wasted potential.

There was no world-building, no mythology for this version of Fantasy Russia, and no explanations for ANYTHING. We basically are just set adrift in this world and are supposed to be content with no background and no fantasy elements in a FANTASY BOOK! You want to know what supposedly made this book fantasy? The magic. That’s it and even that was disappointing.

There’s next to no action at all and what action there was were the displays of magical “power” which as I’ve said were incredibly dull. The entirety of this plot is romance, which I’ll get to in a bit and so there’s hardly any story to speak of. The pacing was slow and I was generally uninterested throughout my entire reading and it’s really a miracle I didn’t DNF this book.

What I did like was the setting, even though I would have liked a lot more depth to it, I did like this Fantasy version of Russia. I also liked a few (very few) points in the story that I found to be interesting such as a couple of the twists even if they were pretty predictable. I didn’t think the story was completely awful since I did manage to finish this book but it was not what I was lead to believe it was about.

Then there’s the ending…..which I found to be anti-climatic and left me completely disinterested in reading the sequel. I already know where the next book is headed and honestly there’s no point in torturing myself with this series anymore.


Flat, uninteresting, and absolutely no depth to these characters. I could have cared less about any of them which is pretty bad considering I’m supposed to fear for their lives since they have to try and kill each other off. We didn’t really get any insight into Vika or Nikolai and they didn’t have any flaws, they were essentially perfect little special snowflakes. Which in my opinion made them very boring and unrelatable because let’s face it we all know perfect people don’t exist and I don’t want characters to be THAT unrealistic.

That’s really all the words I’ll waste on the characters.


Where do I even start with this? First of all the romance is the sole focus of the story, it definitely takes center stage over the “magical death battle”.  Which annoys the living crap out of me when I was promised said magical death battle and all I got was a book littered with your typical YA romance tropes.

First of all we have gag-inducing insta-love and eye-roll worthy love triangles. Both of which are represented in the usual, annoying, run of the mill ways. Nothing original or unique about the romance at all! Overall I felt like it was way too over the top and used to provide more drama and suspense to the plot and it just did not work at all.

in conclusion

“The Crown’s Game” is one huge disappointment to me and while it had a few minor things to save it from a one star rating I still think it was a waste of my reading time.

What I Liked:

  • The Fantasy Russian setting
  • A few plot points that maintained my interest

What I Disliked:

  • Slow pacing
  • No action
  • Misleading premise
  • No world building
  • Flat, boring characters
  • An extremely trope-riddled romance


No I can’t say I would recommend this book to anyone and even if you’re a fan of YA fantasy (which I am as well) I would skip this one because it’s nothing new. For you YA romance fans I can’t honestly say for sure (I am not a romance fan) but I think this romance was far too dramatic and unoriginal.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

33 thoughts on “Book Review: The Crown’s Game (The Crown’s Game #1) by Evelyn Skye

  1. Ashleigh November 16, 2016 / 2:42 pm

    I’m so sorry this was so underwhelming for you! I see this book a lot and have considered reading it before, but already went off that idea. This review sounds a lot like the things I’d pick up on, so I think I’ll give it a miss. I hope your next book is better!

    Liked by 1 person

    • thesassygeek November 22, 2016 / 11:05 am

      Glad you found my review helpful! I saw a few negative reviews for it and read it anyways just to see what I’d think but alas I was not impressed. Thanks Ashleigh! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Michelle November 16, 2016 / 3:56 pm

    I just laughed while reading this! I can just imagine you performing eye-roll after eye-roll about all the romancy stuff! I’m so sorry you didn’t like this though, I think it was just too over-hyped! Great review, Heather 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • thesassygeek November 22, 2016 / 11:07 am

      Well you definitely nailed it with the eye rolling Michelle, I was so not impressed with it! I think it was over hyped as well I may have liked it a little more if my expectations weren’t so high! Thanks Michelle! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Michelle November 22, 2016 / 3:40 pm

        I’m currently reading this, not based on your recommendation – obviously 😉 I’m liking Russia as a setting, but I already know what’s going to happen. Now it’s all up to whether I like the romance 😊 But I must agree that it was totally hyped!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. TheQuirkyBookNerd November 16, 2016 / 4:26 pm

    Absolutely fantastic review, Heather! 🙂
    This is a book that’s been floating on and off my TBR radar because of all the negative reviews I’ve see, and I definitely think I’m going to pass on this one now. ESPECIALLY because of the romance aspect! I’m sorry this wasn’t a good read for you, but thank you for saving us from another cookie-cutter, tropey, insta-lovey YA “fantasy” *cough*romance*cough* 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    • thesassygeek November 22, 2016 / 11:09 am

      Thanks Ariana! 🙂
      I went through the same thing with this one: I was super excited, then I saw some negative reviews and didn’t want to read it, then I decided what the heck I’ll try it, and it was not good. Happy I can save you from a tropey YA book! Seriously, the romance was so trope filled and unoriginal.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. littlebookynook November 16, 2016 / 5:11 pm

    This is an awesome, honest review! I have wasting my time on books like this, at least I know not to pick it up when I see it at the book store!

    Liked by 1 person

    • thesassygeek November 22, 2016 / 2:11 pm

      Thank you, I’m glad you found my review helpful! I also hate wasting my time with books that prove to be very unoriginal! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Lauren @ Wonderless Reviews November 16, 2016 / 8:02 pm

    Sorry this one was disappointing for you! I had to admit I was excited for this one because everyone was hyping it up, but then I saw nothing but negative reviews for it. So now I’m not even sure I want to read it anymore, haha. Great review, Heather!

    Liked by 1 person

    • thesassygeek November 22, 2016 / 11:11 am

      Exactly! It was crazy hyped and I was pumped for it and then the negative reviews trickled in and I gave it a go anyways, definitely not worth the hype in my opinion. It was so…tropey and that’s something I loathe in YA books. Thanks Lauren 🙂


  6. Beth (Reading Every Night) November 17, 2016 / 1:16 am

    Great review for this book Heather. I read this one a while ago and I completely agree with all the points you mentioned. The premise sounded amazing but when it came around to it the magical duel was nothing like what I expected it to be, plus love triangles and insta-love are two tropes I cannot stand so it had that working against it from the beginning pretty much!
    I take it you won’t be picking up the second book in the series then? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • thesassygeek November 22, 2016 / 11:15 am

      Thank you Beth! 🙂
      Glad we agree on this one! I was so disappointed with the magic and “fight” because it was definitely not what I was expecting, practically no action to speak of. I also agree with you on the love triangle and insta-love I really hate both those tropes as well. Although I will say sometimes (very rarely) I think a love triangle can work if both love interests are interesting and I can believe the main character would fall for both of them, but insta-love is an all around no for me.
      I don’t think I will pick up the second book at all, no. Although I do kind of want to see where the story goes but I think I’ll just read spoilers and not the whole book.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Beth (Reading Every Night) November 22, 2016 / 4:24 pm

        That’s all right.
        And no I kept waiting for the fight to begin but it seemed like anytime Vika and Nikolai came into contact with one another their attempts to take out the other were half hearted at best. I agree sometimes love triangles can work but I don’t think they can when paired with insta-love like it was in this book, I just wasn’t invested in any of the characters or their complicated relationship with each other.
        I’m still debating the second book. I may give it a go but if it’s the same as this I won’t pick up the third (if there is a third) when it’s released.

        Liked by 1 person

      • thesassygeek November 28, 2016 / 3:15 pm

        I agree I felt like both characters weren’t ever really trying. I always feel that love triangles or any romances will not work for me unless I love the characters themselves which I didn’t really here.
        If you do read the second book I’ll just say you’re taking one for the team, haha I’d love to hear if it actually gets better or not! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Beth (Reading Every Night) November 28, 2016 / 4:16 pm

        Same here, I have read some love triangles that worked really well but they always seemed to come in second to the character development and that wasn’t the case with this book at all!
        I’ve added it to my to-read list (the cover love is real for this series) and once it’s released and I’ve read it I’ll be sure to post a review! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Anna @MyBookishDream November 17, 2016 / 8:47 am

    Well, this one seems very disappointing. I was at first intrigued by the Russian setting and the premise, but I don’t plan on reading it now. I just have been hearing bad things about it and I honestly don’t want to waste my time with it. Especially since reading your review and the points you made. It just doesn’t sound like something I would enjoy, so I am going to pass up this book!
    Great review, as always! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • thesassygeek November 22, 2016 / 11:17 am

      I am totally with you Anna, the Russian fantasy setting was a huge plus for me but overall it didn’t really work. I haven’t heard too many good reviews for this and I’m a little sad I wasted my time but hopefully this review will help people decide as it did with you! So glad you found my review helpful! Thanks Anna! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. wordsandotherbeasts November 18, 2016 / 11:29 am

    Sorry to hear this didn’t live up to expectations! It’s been on my wishlist for a while and I was thinking of asking for it for Christmas but maybe not now. There’s nothing worse than a book not living up to its hype at all. Makes you wonder how it got hyped up in the first place. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • thesassygeek November 22, 2016 / 11:19 am

      Thank you! This was pretty hyped up and I was super excited for it but I read quite a few negative reviews and gave it a try anyways. I didn’t think it lived up to the hype at all and it had one too many tropes in it for me! Glad you found my review helpful at least! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Liam @ Hey Ashers! November 19, 2016 / 4:40 pm

    Whew, I’m glad I’d already taken this book off my TBR! It sounds incredibly disappointing. Sorry to see you were so let down by it, especially since it was something you expected to love. Hopefully your next most-anticipated-book-of-the-year will live up to your expectations! And hey, at least this one resulted in a great review. =)

    Liked by 1 person

    • thesassygeek November 22, 2016 / 2:21 pm

      Thank you! Yes, hopefully my next anticipated release will live up to expectations!
      I really debated with even reading this after I saw some negative reviews and I wish I hadn’t wasted my time because it was very disappointing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Liam @ Hey Ashers! November 23, 2016 / 8:27 am

        Aw, it’s always awful to wish you’d never even bothered with a book. Thanks for saving me from that fate, myself! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • thesassygeek November 28, 2016 / 3:28 pm

        It happens! And you’re welcome, haha now you can use that time to read better books! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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