Review of The Crown's Game

Wednesday, 15 June 2016
I've been putting this review off for a while now because I haven't been able to finish this book. I got about 100 pages in and I'm ready to call it quits.

Book: The Crown's Game

Author: Evelyn Skye

Genre: Fantasy, Magic, Young Adult

Publisher: Blazer & Bray

Rating: DNF

Summary: 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.

Review: I wanted to like this so bad. Really bad.

But at 100 pages in, I expected a bit more.

The game had only just started, but honestly, I didn't care who won. While I liked Vika and Nikolai, I didn't like them enough to really know which one I wanted to root for. I felt as if the multiple POVs took away from the story, and if it had just been one POV, I would have liked the story enough to finish it. The problem is that you read a chapter in one POV and then switch to another, only you don't care about the other person because you want to know more about person one. Add a love triangle I don't care about with Nikolai's best friend, slow pacing, and a lack of action into the mix and I'd just about had it.

Nothing really happened within the first 100 pages. Sure we got introduced to all of the characters, but vaguely and half of them had boring backstories. (I didn't care for Pasha's younger sister and I really didn't need to hear about how amazing she was in comparison to Pasha. I would have preferred to know why he was so great and why I should want Vika to be with him instead of Nikolai.)

I feel like if you're going to write a book with a game, the game should start pretty early on in the book. Maybe 50 pages in or so. That's the part I actually want to read about. Not the characters' backstories. 

And I only need to know the backstories for the two competitors as opposed to everyone's backstory. The side characters can be developed during the game unless I absolutely need to know all about their past beforehand.

I might give this book another try in the future, but it pales in comparison to some of the other great YA fantasies that have come out this year. Honestly, I'd say go read The Orphan Queen duology or Burning Glass instead.

***Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher. This has in no way influenced my thoughts and opinions.

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