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Historical Fantasy | Book Review: The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

The Crown’s Game was not what I expected…

Book Review: The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

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the crown's game evelyn skye book review

Title & Author: The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

Genre: Young Adult – Historical Fantasy

Release Date: May 17, 2016

Series: The Crown’s Game #1

Publisher: HarperCollins

How I Got the Book: ARC via the publisher


“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.”

Great Magic, Dull Characters

The Crown’s Game was a tough read. I LOVED the description: a Russian-inspired setting with magic, romance and a fight for power.

I’ll tell you some more info about the book before launching into my STRONG OPINIONS.

The story’s crux is this: there can only be one royal enchanter…but there are two who must fight to the death for the position – Vika and Nikolai.

Vika only just learned there was another enchanter and is whisked away to the palace to start the duel. Nikolai, on the other hand, has been raised in the palace and knows how cruel ambition can make those looking to rise to the top.

This book is told from three different perspectives, Vika and Nikolai, as you may have guessed and also Pasha, the prince and heir to the crown.

The thing about The Crown’s Game is that the magic is stunning. It’s done in large scale, showing grand design and creativity. I loved how strongly represented the fantasy element of the story was.

Unfortunately, the balance to to the magic are the enchanters. The characters in this story were insanely dull. They had no personalities. It seemed like the focus was the on the magic and there was no other room for character growth or development.

Then there’s the matter of a love triangle… This aspect of The Crown’s Game wasn’t necessary or really that believable. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the whole “hate turns to love” thing, but it just doesn’t work here. It felt very forced.

Mostly, I think this story suffered from having big ideas that weren’t executed well. The magic, the dueling for power and the romance had higher aspirations that was ultimately achieved. The results were flat characters and a predictable plot.


I’m sorry to report that this story was disappointing. If you’re looking for high fantasy with a historical twist, I would recommend My Lady Jane or Grave Mercy instead. The Crown’s Game didn’t live up to its potential.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.