The Crown’s Game – Evelyn Skye
20th June 2016, 416 pages, 4/5 stars
This book is about two enchanters battling it out, creating elaborate magical spectacles to win a game. Does this remind you of anything? Of a book I mention constantly, a book which ALMOST (but not quite) trumps Harry Potter in my favourites list? The synopsis for this book reminded me of The Night Circus, and I couldn’t resist another story like it!
The Crown’s Game is set in Russia, and Skye evokes the most wonderful scenery for her readers. St Petersburg is most definitely a city I one day wish to visit – but will it live up to the expectations fiction has given me? Nikolai and Vika are our two enchanters. Vika comes from a small island, and so St Petersburg is introduced to us through new eyes. Nikolai knows the city well – in fact his best friend, Pasha, is the tsesarevich, the heir to Russia’s throne.
However, it is less about the scenery and most definitely more about the brilliant entertainments the two magicians create in an effort to outshine each other. My favourite piece of magic was Vika’s bakery creation – a giant glass pumpkin on Ekaterinsky Canal. The delicacies include chocolate truffles filled with steaming-hot cocoa, a pear pie with the pastry constructed in the shape of a pear, and cream puffs as light as air, which literally float! It wasn’t even one of the more intricate works, but those desserts sound truly divine!!!
As with The Night Circus, the enchanters find themselves drawn to each other. Can they bring themselves to win the game knowing that they will leave the other dead? There is yet another complication. Pasha, the heir to the throne, is also crushing on Vika – it’s an incredibly awkward love triangle, as Pasha doesn’t know about the Game; for him the pretty pieces of magic are pure entertainment.
This book was an incredibly entertaining read. While I wasn’t a fan of the love triangle, the magic Skye envisions is just stunning, and makes the romance aspect worth every moment. Had I never read The Night Circus, this book would definitely have warranted five stars, but there were too many comparisons to be drawn. It is an incredible book, particularly for those of us obsessed with magic – this is totally enchanting!
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 Pet
ersburg. 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.
From debut author Evelyn Skye comes a magical and thrilling tale of deadly power, dangerous enemies, and forbidden romance.
If a book claims to be like one of your favourites, do you (like me) have to try it? Or do you prefer totally original stories?