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.
“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.