I SO wanted to give this one 5/ 5 stars. I just couldn’t. But keep in mind that I really, really enjoyed it and that it truly is a nice story and that the ending made me cry a little. 😁
YA/ Fantasy/ Historical Fiction/ Romance
- New York Times Bestseller
- “Wildly romantic, wholly immersive, and gloriously over-the-top.” – Kirkus
- “Shimmers with pulse-pounding romance, astonishing wand-touched wonders, startling long-buried secrets, and a climax at once tragic and heart-soaring.” – School Library Journal
- “Most Anticipated YA Fantasy Novels of 2016” – Barnes and Noble
- “Game of Thrones for the younger set.” – New York Public Library
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.
My rating: 4/ 5
Firstly, I want to say that even though this book is described as a combo between The Grisha trilogy and Red Queen, I think it is more like The Night Circus. Two potential lovers turned against each other by their rival mentors, thrown into a competition where eventually they start dedicating their creations not to winning, but to each other. Just an observation, just for reference. 😀
Let’s begin with the good parts: the story takes place in Russia (and it begins in a bakery- you can’t hate books that have the warm atmospheres of bakeries), it has enough action- which has enough good reasons for happening, some small, but relevant plot twists, as well as a pretty complex magic system- the protagonists can create buildings out of thin air, wardrobes that will provide you with clothes or benches that can give you experiences from other places.
There is kind of a love triangle between Nikolai, Vika and Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend, but thankfully it is agreeable and realistic, given the circumstances. Not to mention that the participants, if we can call them that, are not meant to be hated, fact that’s like breath of fresh air as far as YA is concerned. Moreover, Vika doesn’t really express her choice, which shows that she’s capable of holding on to her true priorities, and, when everything goes crazy, she puts herself first.
Furthermore, you get to know and understand the rest of the characters and I appreciate this considering that there are many of them. However, there was a death that seemed pointless at the end and I think the author could have worked around that character without killing it and that’s all I’m gonna say about it.
Which brings me to the things that were not entirely OK. In the first part of the book, everything is sort of calm and the rhythm is… medium, not too slow, not too fast, just good, unlike in the second part, where it all becomes a little chaotic and hurried. My problem here is the bridge between these, a bridge that does not exist. It’s more like a sudden jump from one side to the other which can cause detachment from the characters.
Speaking of characters. Renata, Nikolai’s friend and servant in the house he lives in, is, and I regret to say it, annoying . The narrator might have tried to bring her on the “right path”, but failed, but maybe it’s just me. I don’t know, I didn’t care about her. Also, Vika. Vika, Vika, Vika. Fantastic girl, but irritating. She’s supposed to be so strong and fierce, but again, at the end (the end-not the ending, seems to be the source of my problems, oh, well), her power and, until then, intense spirit fade. So she’s not that great emotionally, like we are taught to believe. Slightly disappointing.
Lastly, I can’t forget about Russia. It could have been represented better. I hoped to see more of its culture and a whole lot more Russian words or phrases or everything.
Overall, I think you should read this book. It IS good, and the bad, but not so bad parts can go unnoticed. For me, it met most of the expectations and it does deserve praise.
Until next time, good luck with your reading! 🐱
Imagine, and it shall be.
There are no limits.