Author: Evelyn SkyeEdition: HardcoverRating: 3 Stars
This was one of my most anticipated books of the year, so it's more than a little disappointing that I didn't like this book more.
The Crown's Game follows multiple narrators, including Vika and Nikolai, the only two enchanters in all of Russia, Pasha, the crown prince, Yuliana, his sister, Galina and Sergei, Vika and Nikolai's mentors, and Aizhana, a mysterious figure who seems to have risen from the dead. There is a competition between Vika and Nikolai- they must prove themselves and become the official enchanter of Russia. The catch, whoever fails dies.
While I don't dislike the idea of multiple narrators, it didn't always work here. It took away from each character's presence by shifting between them so frequently. Closer to the end this wasn't as much of a problem, since all the stories intersected, but it made it harder for me to connect with the characters. My favorites were Vika, Nikolai, and Pasha. Particularly, I liked how Vika and Nikolai conformed to the opposite gender stereotypes (does that make sense?) similarly to how Emma and Julian do in Lady Midnight.
As for the setting, which has been getting the most praise, I must agree it the most vivid part of the book. Imperial Russia has a particular taste and Evelyn Skye managed to capture it in this novel. As vivid as it was, I do wish she had spent even more time describing and exploring it.
My biggest problem with the book lies in the magic system. There don't seem to be any rules for how it works. There's clearly a limit, since the book does eventually touch on the idea of using too much magic, but I wish it had been set up early on and that there were more defined rules to it. It felt sloppy for a long time, and when a cost was finally included, I just didn't buy it as much.
The ending was one of my favorite parts. I thought it was well done and a surprising twist to the whole thing. It certainly doesn't end like many other books I've read. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in this duet (I think there are only two, but I could be wrong) even though I only gave it three stars. It is a debut and it really wasn't that bad, so don't let my star-count sway you completely.