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. (Goodreads)
It took me a while to read this book. I was hoping to love it! I had hyped it all up because it just looked that amazing. Unfortunately, I was vaguely disappointed. I then spent a while trying to decide whether to give this 4 stars or three… or even to against what I normally do and give it 3 1/2 stars!
The characters felt a bit 2D for me. I liked them all well enough – except for Aizhana… she kinda creeped me out – but the rest, while they were enjoyable, they lacked that certain pizazz that makes them memorable. They were all very similar, so all of the faces blurred together for me a little bit – the only difference being that Nikolai and Vika could do magic, whilst the others not so much…
The world was ok, but it could have been better. I wanted more! I wanted more descriptions and more happenings. The book was seemingly slow and it wasn’t very reminiscent of a game that players are supposed to play until the end. It is almost like the didn’t really care about dying at the end, they just wanted to show off. I needed more actions, more attempted deaths and less of the showing off for Pasha’s birthday.
I really like Yuliana as a character. She was bold, decisive and she didn’t care what other people thought. She was there to be heard and that was that. I think if the main characters had bit of that about them, this book would have been better. I also wanted more to Aizhana’s story. Sure, we got what happened, but I have so many unanswered questions, it is unreal!
I did not ship either couple. I got no feels and I just thought it fell flat, even though it is supposed to be an insta love thing – I just didn’t get those vibes! I wanted to feel all squishy inside and I just didn’t. I liked them as a platonic thing thing, but I can’t see any of them being together… and if they do, it’d be a pretty boring relationship.
I’m a bit worried about Nikolai turning into a male version of Aizhana and demanding the throne from Pasha… I think one creepy character is enough, we don’t need another!
I gave this book 3/5 stars. This book was ok, but it was just lacking in all of the right places. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it was ok, but it wasn’t something special for me – but I am going to sit and wait for the next book.