Review: The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

the crown's gameGenre: Ya | fantasy | historical
Series: The Crown’s Game #1
Goodreads rating: 3.79
My rating:  2.5


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).


This book was very, very hyped and I can totally see why: gorgeous cover and intriguing premise. Sadly I was a bit underwhelmed. The Game wasn’t really that exciting. In the beginning I liked that they were both anxious because they thought the other could kill them any moment, but that tension was gone pretty soon. Not to mention that going in I just didn’t expect them to make houses look pretty and create magical fountains. I expected something more intense. Not necessarily bloody, but their lives were at stake – the loser was going to die. I didn’t really feel those stakes while reading the book.

The characters were pretty flat and I didn’t feel any attachment to them at all. I did like Vika’s relationship with Ludmila (a woman she had known all her life and who moves in with her the moment the Game begins and her father is banished, so that she doesn’t have to be alone) and Nikolai and Pasha’s friendship definitely had potential. Spoiler: when their friendship fell apart, it didn’t really hurt, because I wasn’t invested in their friendship. And don’t get me started on the ‘romance’. Instalust, instalove and a love triangle. All the love-related tropes I pretty much despise (love triangles not so much if they’re done right and don’t take over the plot. Which in this case I felt it really did). 

While the writing wasn’t bad and I did like the descriptions, my biggest problem with it was, was the lack of emotions. I didn’t feel any attachment to any of the characters, I didn’t feel their emotions, I didn’t sympathise with them, I didn’t care for the villain, I just didn’t care about anything.

I also really wanted to know more about the magic system. I mean, The Game is all about their magical skill, yet I have no idea how their magic works.

So you’re probably wondering: Michelle, why did you give it three stars? It doesn’t sound like you enjoyed it. Okay so here’s why I gave it three stars (though honestly I’m still leaning towards 2,5 stars): I liked the concept and I love the world: it takes place in 19th century Russia except with magic. History + magic = yes please. And while not much happened, I wasn’t necessarily bored until the ending and hey I did finish most of it in one day, so I don’t feel like it was necessarily a 2-star read if that makes sense. Speaking of the ending though, there were like roughly ten pages left when they introduced some action. I actually thought that it was going to end on a cliffhanger right before that action took place, because how could that take only ten pages or so?  But nope, that final (more like finally) action scene was very underwhelming and anti climatic. I couldn’t care less.

So have you read this and how did you feel about it? Honestly I have such mixed feelings about it and I just hope that the sequel will be better. If I do pick it up (right now I’m leaning towards it, but from experience I know that it’s very likely that my interest in it and motivation to read it will decrease over the next few months) I’ll definitely wait for the paperback to come out. It’s such a shame because I was really excited for this book. If you haven’t read this yet, any hyped books you read lately that disappointed you? Let me know in the comments!


16 thoughts on “Review: The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

    • Hahaha same. I wish I had known that before I bought it. I had heard such good things, it has an interesting concept and a beautiful cover, so I didn’t think I would be THIS disappointed :/

  1. Ohh, it doesn’t seem like I made the wrong decision when I decided not to read this book. I liked the premise, but the fact that I knew a love triangle was coming (that was centred around two guys liking the same girl) pretty much put me off.

    I find it super weird/interesting that the magic they used in the game was so … quiet? I’m totally with you – I would have thought there would be intense magic going on, especially if there life is at stake :/

    It’s a shame that you didn’t love this one, and if you DO end up reading the sequel, I really hope that it has more of the elements that you did end up liking in this!

    • Haha you definitely didn’t! The magic in the game was so anti-climatic. I expected them to use their magic to battle each other, but nope. They just turned the river into a pretty colour. Like are you kidding me.
      Yeah I hope so to! Though knowing me I’ll probably never end up reading it haha (unless I find it for a really cheap price!)

  2. Oh dear… I was really looking forward to this one. It’s a good thing it’s been slipping down the TBR pile by the sounds of things. I’ll still read it (because that’s how us book addicts are!) but at least my hopes won’t be crushed. Thanks for the review!

    • Yeah definitely still read it! Just because I didn’t enjoy it doesn’t mean you won’t :) Maybe having lower expectations will help you enjoy it more! You’re welcome 😊

  3. “instalust, instalove, love triangle”

    Ohhhhh, boy, I’m definitely NOT reading this next. I’ve raged at enough of these tropes for the past few (majority?) reviews and I just don’t want to rage anymore at the moment. It’s just too tiring and I just want to squeal and smile and cry along lovely characters now.

    Also, I’m getting a kind of ‘illogical reasonings as the stupid cause of a dystopia’ vibe about this book?? Urk.

    Anyway, thanks for the review!! <3 I'm incredibly happy to push this book to my 2017 TBR pile now 😂

    • Hahaha yes go pick something up that makes you happy and that doesn’t make you want to rage and throw the book out of the window (I don’t want to hurt books, but it was frustrating me SO much haha). There wasn’t really a dystopia, I think? I don’t even remember 😂 You’re welcome! Haha yes do give it a try, because you may feel different! But maybe not put it as a priority :P

  4. Awww, sad noises that you didn’t like it! I did love this one, ut I agree that I was surprised that it wasn’t really full of tension?! I looooooved how they were making things though. LIKE MAKING MAGICAL ISLANDS AND THINGS OMG HOLD ME. It’s so clever. I just wish the blurb had let us know we were getting that?! It’s annoying when blurbs are misleading. I totally imagined they’d be blasting their heads off too the whole time.😂 ahem. Anyway. I think Vika should be single and queen of something, tbh. She didn’t really seem that interested in either of the boys.😂

    • Haha yeah maybe I wouldn’t have been so disappointed if I had known they would be creating things instead of battling to the death. Yes she should be. She needs no man. She really didn’t! 😂 That’s why the romance annoyed me so much

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