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Welcome to my stop on The Crown’s Game Blog Tour!! I feel like the blog is all Russian this week and I like it.  Speaking of things I like, let’s talk about The Crown’s Game!! (Did you like that segue? I sure did.) So I shall review this lovely book, as best as I can, because I just want to flail. And then you shall have a chance to win it so you can join in the flails! 

The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye
Series: The Crown's Game #1
Published by Balzer + Bray on May 17th 2016
Pages: 416

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.


Goodness, where to begin? Well, I knew I needed to read this book because Russia. And also, magical duel. And of course romance. So, there you have it. Enjoy the book!

So, I will first say that it did start off a little slow for me, mostly because I had some trouble keeping track of/connecting to everyone, and the different settings and such. BUT. This is brief, and I feel like it needs to be mentioned, because I’d hate to see someone miss out on the awesomeness because they struggled with the first bit. Because this did not last long for me. After like, 10-15% I was completely, 100% invested. And then it blew my mind.

I know you all can read the synopsis, so I am just going to assume that you did. Great. So Vika, Vika is the lovely specimen we begin with. Can you tell that I adore her? I mean, she’s been hanging out on an island her whole life with dear old dad, and her bestie is this cool older lady from the bakery named Ludmilla. She is under the impression that she’s the only enchanter in Russia. She is wrong.

Because there’s Nikolai, who’s kind of equally fabulous- though I wasn’t sure at first. He’s our other enchanter, and lives with this rotten woman named Galina, and Renata, a servant who definitely has a pretty serious case of the feelings for him.  He is best friends with the tsesarevich, Pasha, and they like shenanigans. And frankly, I am going to be on board with anyone who enjoys a good shenanigan. It’s almost comical to watch Pasha fight with his sister Yuliana (such a pretty name, by the by), who basically wants to play tsar herself. She is into it. So of course, this group is living in Saint Petersburg, blissfully unaware of Vika and The Crown’s Game.

So, if you’re keeping track, the characters are obviously a huge win! Even the more villainous ones are great- they’re all incredibly well developed, and all have their own distinct voices and personalities, and I loved it.

The next piece is The Game. I like games, if you hadn’t noticed 😉  But in seriousness, this is pretty unique. I mean, in a sense, there is a slight similarity to The Hunger Games because only one of them is left alive, but only one of them dies too! And it’s a game about magic!! The things they can do are so fun. And then reading about both enchanters trying to figure out the other’s motives- both in and out of the game was pretty fabulous!

There’s all kinds of behind the scenes political messiness as well, along with family drama all over the place. And some of it may just blow your mind when it comes to light.

Still keeping track? Great. Plot also equals win. 

The world building… can I just say exquisite? First, I loved how it is based on actual Saint Petersburg. And yes, there are absolutely parts that end up being fictional, but for the most part? I have walked the streets where these characters walked- and even more exciting, did their magic! (You can read about that here.) But Evelyn did an amazing job making Saint Petersburg come to life, but also makes it feel like there absolutely could be a source of magic. It was done so well- even addressing people being skeptical of magic, which, let’s face it, would absolutely be true!


Look, it’s Russian trinkets! And vodka, because who goes to Russia and doesn’t buy vodka? 

So the world-building? Definitely on point. 

This is not all, no! There are swoons. There are feels. There are complicated relationships- and I don’t just mean romantic ones. Basically, this book has a little of everything, and I need more now.

Bottom Line: Even with a slower start, I simply cannot deny how much I loved this book. The characters jumped out of the page, the world-building was remarkable, and the story itself had me hooked. I can’t wait until I get the chance to venture back into this world in the sequel! 5s

About Evelyn Skye

Evelyn Skye is the author of New York Times bestsellers THE CROWN’S GAME and THE CROWN’S FATE. Her new series, CIRCLE OF SHADOWS, will be published on January 22, 2019.

Evelyn has a B.A. in Russian literature & history from Stanford University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. She was once offered a job by the C.I.A., she not-so-secretly wishes she was on “So You Think You Can Dance,” and if you challenge her to a pizza-eating contest, she guarantees she will win.

More pre-order information (including a VERY fun incentive!) can be found on Evelyn’s site! 

Follow the rest of the tour!

Tour Schedule:
Monday, February 29:Bookish Lifestyle – Review + Pinterest Boards
Tuesday, March 1:One Less Lonely Blog – Review
Wednesday, March 2:It Starts at Midnight – Review
Thursday, March 3: Stories & Sweeties – Review + Russian Tea Cake Recipe
Friday, March 4:The YA Book Traveler – Review + Dreamcast & Book Trailer
Saturday, March 5:Pandora’s Books – Review
Sunday, March 6:Seeing Double in Neverland – Review
Monday, March 7:Out Of Time – Review + Song
Tuesday, March 8:Book Nerd Addict – Review + Favorite Quotes
Wednesday, March 9:Paper Fury – Review + Reasons to Read This Book!
Thursday, March 10:A Reader Under The Sea – Review
Friday, March 11:The Broke and the Bookish – Review

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

So, what do you guys think? Does Russia fascinate you? How about magic and duels? If so, this book is likely going to be a huge win for you like it was for me! 

Posted March 2, 2016 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Giveaway, Review / 24 Comments


24 responses to “The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye: Review & Giveaway

  1. Ahh so excited to read it! I’ve heard many good things about this book, and I’m already interested with it since the beginning (too bad that my request of it still pending xD). Anyway, definitely looking forward to read this one! 🙂

  2. SQUEEEE I LOVED IT TOO AND I’M SO IMMENSELY HAPPY AND EXCITED ABOUT THIS BOOK. 😀 It’s been one of my #1 anticipated books for the year and I’m sooo relieved it was just as good as it sounded. *squeaks happily* Idid love Vika. But I think I loved Nikolai the most. That moment when he rearranged the library with his mind? #winning

  3. Yes, yes, yes! I’m thinking this books was written just for me. Maybe? Okay, probably not but it still has everything I could possibly want and it must be mine. The cover makes me weak in the knees, the characters, an orphan, a competition, romance, a possible love triangle, and… Russian history! This all adds up to the possibility of perfection. I’m just bummed that it doesn’t come out until May. Oh, cruel Fates!

  4. AHH. This is one of my most anticipated books of the year, so I am so glad to hear you liked it so much Shannon! It sounds absolutely amazing. The way you describe the strong characterization and the wonderful worldbuilding makes me want it even more. Thanks for sharing Shannon and, as always, fabulous review! ♥

  5. Ha Ha Ha. I would love to join the flails! 🙂 This book sounds amazing. Thank you for letting us now about the pacing. I will remember that when I read it because I will now after reading your review. You’ve mentioned so many elements that I love. I’ve come to really like Russia for a book’s setting. I think my love for it stemmed from Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha stories. It’s so brutally beautiful. Everything else like fabulous characters, magic, etc, are just icing on the cake. YUM. (P.S. Thank you for visit my blog. My comment engine is a bit finicky right now, and I can’t reply back to your comments. Sigh. Technology for you.)

  6. Ah! I’m so glad to hear this book lives up to it’s amazing synopsis! I’ve been interested in this one since I first heard of it (mostly be magical duels and the promise of romance) and now I NEEDS it. I’m glad to hear the pacing picks up but why has this become a thing in fantasy that all must have slow beginnings? I mean, I get it, you need time to set everything up and get things going but a slow beginning….always slows me down (obviously). But I mean, you had me at shipping so I look forward to joining in the flails when this finally comes out! =)

  7. I recently added this to my TBR, actually, but I love it. omg she hangs with a lady from a bakery? I IS SOLD. (I remember Cait said the book begins in one and I was like, “asdfghjkl my CALLING.” Swoons? Exquisite story telling? Oh dear me. Those Russian dolls are adorable! AND VODKA? I’m obviously crazy about this one!


    Okay so I just finished it and I totally agree about the slow start, which kind of set the mood for the rest of the book for me. That, and the hype. While I enjoyed this book, I couldn’t help but feel rather disappointed and a bit unimpressed towards the end because of the things that happened. I wanted more of the plot in regards to politics, and the magic that was done was a tad anticlimactic for me. I guess I just expected more cutthroat competition? Which brings me to the point of how NICE ALL the characters were. I seriously liked each one of them – even the supposed antagonists! It was weird to me, because I would rather have loved to dislike a character – more emotional turmoil, y’know? And this was still awesome! (Especially that setting – I was utterly engrossed in the enchanting world) I just felt like the build-up caused the fall to be quite hard when I ended up reading it. And maybe I wanted more action, hehe.

    I’M STILL GLAD YOU ENJOYED IT. <3 And I can't wait to see what happens in the sequel!

  9. Ashlynn Hert

    Oops dosent matter although does this mean I’m in the selection for the giveaway? Anyway thanks for the giveaways I’ve been on ur blog for 10 minutes (trying to sign up) and I am a definite stayer! Once I saw the giveaway well let’s just say I freaked out. Like crazy! When are you going to choose winners?

  10. Ashlynn Hert

    Does this giveaway include uk participants? I live in the uk and I really want this book. So plz tell if it is or not. If it’s not then (shrugs) oh well.

  11. Um…so I think I decided I need to read this. Me, the girl that convinced her 9th grade history teach to let her write her term paper about the Fall of the Romanovs and you know not like the Great Depression. Also, same girl that opted to take a 300-level history major class for her gen. ed requirement because it was about Imperial Russia. I hope I like it as much as you do, but I definitely need to see what this one is like!

  12. I don’t mind books that have slower starts, as long as they can keep my interest. And it sounds like the Saint Petersburg setting and the characters were absolutely fantastic! I love the Russian mythology here and the magic and Hunger Games-ness. Lovely review Shannon!

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