Narrator: Steve West
Published by HarperAudio on May 17th, 2016
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Buy on Amazon
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.
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Review of the story:
This was a book I was pleasantly surprised by. I actually really hate when books are compared to best sellers like The Hunger Games or other popular books like Red Queen. I think it sets unfair expectations on what the book is about, which was the case for The Crown’s Game for me. Sometimes I feel like any book that has the word ‘game’ in it is going to be compared to The Hunger Games, but The Crown’s Game was nothing like THG, in my opinion. THG was raw, violent, and dark. The Crown’s Game has a few dark moments, but is a bit more light than THG.
As for the competition, it was definitely not what I expected. I was expecting a deadly game of magic and sorcery, but the game in this book is slower paced, and more of a poetic show of talents. While the story did seem to creep along at some points, I was intrigued by the story-line and never felt bored. The last few chapters had me on the edge of my seat and nearly in tears, so I’m really looking forward to the next book!
There is a love triangle, kind-of. I really hate love triangles, but I promise this one isn’t bad. The story is not consumed by the romance (which is actually my thing, lol, but if it’s not you’re in luck) and one part of the triangle is one-sided. I thought the theme was less about romance and more about friendship and platonic love than anything. The character development in this book was remarkable. Vika is a sassy and strong heroine that doesn’t need to depend on romance or supporting characters to shine, ad Nikolai and Pasha stand well on their own as well. I even found myself caring for (and despising) secondary characters as well and wasn’t annoyed when the POV switched to them because I genuinely cared what happened to them.
There is not a traditional “villain” in this book, but I think Skye did a wonderful job with the complexity of this character. I felt my heart breaking for her, even as she carried out terrible acts against some of the characters I loved. She will definitely be playing a more pivotal role in the next book so I am torn between understanding her motives, and wanting her dead before she can hurt anyone else.
I’m including this fan art made by Charlie Bowater because she’s amazing and I’m obsessed with her art, especially her vision of Nikolai! Click here or on the picture below to be taken to Epic Reads, where this art was originally shared.
Review of the audio:
Steve West was easy to listen to and did a beautiful job with voice distinctions and transitions. I would listen to another book he narrates based off this performance.