The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

by Hope Hanson
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The Crown's Game cover image

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.

So he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the tsar’s most respected advisor. 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.

–from the back cover of The Crown’s Game
5 star review
Rating: 5/5

The Crown’s Game is one of my favorite books! I first read it a few years ago, but it still makes my list of favorites. It had been a while since I’d read it, though, so I wanted to re-read it for a refresher. But I did really want to share this one with you since I do love it so much.


To start with, the setting of this book is just incredible. Obviously, Imperial Russia is fascinating by itself; but Skye brings it to life with her vivid, detailed writing. But not only does she paint a stunning visual backdrop, she also works wonders with the cultural, political, and other such aspects of the book’s setting.

Moving on from the setting, though, the characters in The Crown’s Game are pretty remarkable. I forgot just how much I loved some of them, to be honest. It’s genuinely hard for me to pick a favorite. On one hand, Pasha definitely steals the show with his idealism and boyish excitement. But on the other hand, I love Vika’s fierceness. And then there’s Nikolai, who has so much many different facets it’s impossible not to love him. Even Yuliana is a gem, and she isn’t even in the book all that much!

Awesome characters aside, though, I think Skye’s ability to write such an intricate plot is what makes this book so, so good. Seriously, there are so many different threads of plot in this book. As I said, it had been a while since I last read The Crown’s Game, so I’d forgotten just how many there were! But Skye manages to weave them all together into one, overarching plot that just blows you away. And some of the reveals are indescribably excellent.

I can’t end this without mentioning the magic, though. It’s what drew me to this book in the first place, and Skye does not disappoint when it comes to fantastical displays. Honestly, the magic in The Crown’s Game is so unique; it’s totally unlike anything else I’ve read before. But I think you need to read the book in order to understand how amazing it is; I couldn’t possibly do Skye’s beautiful descriptions justice!

TL,DR Recommendation

Obviously, since The Crown’s Game is one of my favorite books ever, I highly recommend it! I mean it, though. Anyone who loves fantasy, especially historically-based fantasy, should definitely give it a chance. Every single aspect of this book is top-notch, and I promise that you won’t be disappointed!

Find a copy here!

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