“Imagine, and it shall be.
There are no limits.”
2020 has been a number of things; difficult, stressful and oftentimes draining. For myself, however, it was also the year that I rediscovered my love for reading. That being said, I’ve read over forty books in the last eleven months, yet all paled in comparison to this epic debut.
The Crown’s Game is the story of three people from very different walks of life. Times are turbulent in Imperial Russia, and the Tsar needs an enchanter by his side to ward off the looming threats. As it so happens, a marvel occurs and two are born to that generation. As the laws of magic allow only one enchanter at a time, Vika and Nikolai must face off in the ancient Crown’s Game; demonstrating their magic in order to impress the Tsar and win the position of Imperial Enchanter, holding the power of all the magic in Russia. The stakes are high as the loser is due imminent death.
“If I think highly of myself it’s because it’s well deserved.”
Vika Andreyeva has lived on the Island of Ovchinin her entire life. With her affinity to manipulate nature and command other life around her, she is not to be taken lightly. The Crown’s Game is her chance to dazzle the world with her abilities and show the true extent of her powers.
Pavel Alexandrovich Romanov, tsesaravich and heir to the Russian throne, has a secret. Feeling he was never made for the life of the palace, he often slips away among the townsfolk. He soon crosses paths with Nikolai, and the two form an unseverable bond. Keeping his identity a secret from the world, he goes by the name Pasha and hopes that no one ever finds out the truth about him.
“Nikolai knew he was worth at least the same as the noble-born boys in the capital, and he refused to give anyone an excuse to prove otherwise. So while Nikolai might not have belonged to Saint Petersburg society, he was in it, in his own ill-fitting way.”
Nikolai Karimov has his own secret; he is the other enchanter. With an affinity for mechanical magic, he can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. An orphan boy hailing from the Kazakh Steppe, Nikolai never fit in to the glittering society of Saint Petersburg. But after a lifetime of effort and grooming, he not only speaks the languages of the nobles, but is able to pass as them in every way.
This book reads like an enchanting fairytale, set against the beautiful city of Saint Petersburgh. The descriptions are so vivid and lush, that it instantly transports you to the icy capital city. Complete with fleshed-out characters and immaculate world-building, portraying Imperial Russia as never before, this is an unforgettable tale that will constantly keep you guessing.
“She certainly did not look back at Nikolai. For it was too cruel of life to bring him to her now, only to remind her that one of them would soon be taken away.”
Moreover, this story emphasises love of the most inconvenient kind; falling for the right person at the wrong time, and the chaos that ensues. Featuring a masquerade ball at the Winter Palace, dark Jack-in-the-boxes, awe-inspiring magical chests and an evil force steadily awakening behind the scenes, this book is perfection in all its bittersweet glory.
The Crown’s Game is Evelyn Skye’s debut book, and the first in a spellbinding duology brimming with magic, secrets and mayhem. Perfect for fans of Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo and Caraval by Stephanie Garber, this story is historical fiction at its finest.
Review by Sumaira aka @ReadBakePray