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.
I’m looking at The Crown’s Game on Goodreads, and I’m noticing that I’m the odd one out. All of my friends loved this book, while I ended up DNFing it. And it really sucks to write up this DNF review, but I started out adoring this book. I was positive that this was going to be the next best thing since the Throne of Glass series. I was SO EXCITED to jump into the magic of the world. Instead, it fell flat with huge disappointment.
Unlike most high fantasy novels, TCG started out really strong. Usually, the first 100 pages are really flat and boring. This one, though, started out with a bang! I thought that was a really good sign. Unfortunately, it ended up being the last half of the book that was just super painful to read. I’ve never encountered that with a high fantasy before, so I’m just feeling a bit floored….
My number one complaint about this book was all of the words that I couldn’t pronounce or that I didn’t know the definition to. The Crown’s Game took place in Russia. While I loved the diversity that the book had to offer, there were several Russian words or phrases that I didn’t know or understand, and no meaning was offered. There were several instances where the words or phrases were translated to English. However, that wasn’t always the case, and I was often very confused. There were also several unnecessarily big words throughout the book. I continuously had to click for the definition in the Kindle app. I HATED that. And I would say that all of what I just mentioned happened at least a couple hundred times. It gave me a constant headache.
My second complaint about The Crown’s Game was the lack of magic. While this book was supposed to be about magic and enchanters, it felt more as if the enchanters were decorators, improving homes and sight seeing aspects of Russia. Painting houses and decorating islands weren’t very big displays of magic……… Seriously? Where were all of the action-packed magic scenes?
Don’t get me wrong, the detail and descriptions in The Crown’s Game were absolutely beautiful. That being said, this book was BORING. I made it to 80% of this book…and I don’t even know how! I was DYING at about 50%. By the time I made it to 80%, I just had to make myself skim to the end.
I thought that the character development was a little….too much. Things happened that really didn’t make sense with the characters. There’s also at least one character who dies in this book (spoiler alert!) but I just didn’t really take it seriously and felt that they also had way too much of a character transformation at the time of their death. I just didn’t think the characters were treated quite the way they deserved to be.
The ending of the book is a little more action packed, but I absolutely detested it. I didn’t agree with the things that occurred and the roles that the characters began to play. It just…..didn’t work.
Let’s just say that I’m not looking forward to the sequel and will not be reading it….