The Crown’s Game
Printed Australia, 2016, Harper Collins
I LOVED THIS BOOK!! This book had all of my favorite things. It was set in Russia, which is a place and a dynasty that I have had a fascination with since I studied it at Uni. This is a lot before the famous fall of the Romanov’s and is instead set just after the time of Napoleon.
As well as that – surprise surprise this is a fantasy book – which looks at the emergence of magic. However is a unique take on magic – there is only so much magic, and as such the kingdom can only have one enchanter that is able to serve the Tsar and the empire.
When two or more encahnters are being mentored, then they must evoke the Crown’s Game, essentially a fight to the death to show what it is that the enchanters are capable of, and how they can best serve the empire. Here you have Vika Andreyeva she 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.
Initially I thought that this book was quite predictable, not that that detracted from anything for me, but It still took several surprising turns that I most definitely did not see happening. It took the reader on a fantastic journey, of both magic, but also of love, and self sacrifice.
I would highly recommend that you read this. I wish that I could convince my kids in my classes to read more fantasy, and do an entire connections report on these royal fantasy books that are so prominent at the moment. It would be amazing to compare this one for example to The Red Queen, or even Everless. Or of course Throne of Glass.
If I had one thing I would have liked the main characters relationship to develop more, or actually most of the relationships. However I am also happy to accept that because this is the first book in the series there is plenty of room for that next!
“There are things more dangerous than a little magic.”
How much does this quote resonate with the woman in me!!! I love it!
Anyway, I need to go I have a sequel to read!
Genre: Magical, Historical Fantasy, Fantasy, Romance, magic, Enchanters, Russian, Speculative Fiction