Thursday, 23 June 2016

The Crown's Game - Blog Tour (Review)

Blog Tour & Review:
Title: The Crown's Game
Author: Evelyn Skye
Publisher: HarperCollins

WELCOME to the second day of The Crown's Game blog tour, which just so happens to be on my blog. For my portion, I will be sharing my thoughts and feelings on this magical book.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
"For the winner of the game, there would be unimaginable power. For the defeated, desolate oblivion. The Crown's Game was not one to lose."

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 first came across The Crown's Game in early 2016 when reading blog posts about 2016's most anticipated reads. It looked like everyone and their mother was waiting for this book to release, so I looked up the blurb...and instantly became one of those people. I was then lucky enough to receive an early copy of the book from the lovely Alice at HarperCollins. No time was wasted before I picked it up and devoured it within two days, and although it wasn't exactly what I expected, it was quite an enjoyable read.

I want to start off by talking about the magic within this book. As this is a fantasy story and the fact that the whole premise of this book centres around magic, it was highly important that every detail of it was executed well. And it was! Both of Nikolai's and Vika's enchantments were beautifully unique in their own way. The thing I loved most was that both of their magic couldn't have been any more different, which meant that I was always on edge since I could never tell who was in the lead. There was no way to compare who did the better job, they were both individually special.

Another thing I loved about this book was the setting and world-building. The Crown's Game takes place in Imperial Russia, which is always so fascinating to read and learn about. While reading this book it was quite easy to tell that the author had put a lot of effort and research into building this book and setting. The descriptions and imagery were vivid and imaginative, yet they were also realistic. The perfect mix.

Now, the magic and world-building were amazing, but one thing that I didn't enjoy as much was the romance/love triangle in this book. Now, personally I'm not the biggest fan of love triangles purely because they can become a tad too angsty for me, but if done well, I am able to endure them. I think the main issue I had with this love-triangle was that is all felt a bit too much like insta-love. From the first moment Nikolai and Pasha met Vika there was this instant attraction and connection which felt rushed. I would have have preferred a much more slow-burn attraction to make it more believable, but that's just my opinion.
However saying that, it did not take much away from the story, since it focuses mainly on the game rather than the romance.

My favourite relationship of the entire book was actually the friendship between Nikolai and Pasha. These two boys come from totally different backgrounds, yet their friendship has managed to stay strong. At times their relationship did become a bit rocky, but ultimately they always had respect and love for each other. And I do admire a good friendship!

One thing I don't admire though is THAT ENDING! Some may say that the author ended this book quite cruelly or  some may say they ended quite cleverly. Cruelly because...well you'll have you read the book to figure that out. And cleverly because it leaves you desperately needing and wanting the second book. How will I cope with having to wait a WHOLE YEAR before I can get my hands on the sequel? HOW?
If you need me, I shall be lying in a pool of my own tears until next year.

But overall, this book is a beautiful and captivating read with it's vivid and imaginative setting and it's utterly unique magic.
If you enjoy Imperial Russia, magic and strong world-building be sure to pick up a copy of The Crown's Game when it comes out (June 30th in the UK)

4 Stars

And that is a wrap on my portion of The Crown's Game Blog Tour! Be sure to check out the rest of the blog tour, dates & links below.

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