Russia is on the brink of great change. Pasha’s coronation approaches, and Vika is now the Imperial Enchanter, but the role she once coveted may be more difficult—and dangerous—than she ever expected.
Pasha is grappling with his own problems—his legitimacy is in doubt, the girl he loves loathes him, and he believes his best friend is dead. When a challenger to the throne emerges—and with the magic in Russia growing rapidly—Pasha must do whatever it takes to keep his position and protect his kingdom.
For Nikolai, the ending of the Crown’s Game stung deeply. Although he just managed to escape death, Nikolai remains alone, a shadow hidden in a not-quite-real world of his own creation. But when he’s given a second chance at life—tied to a dark price—Nikolai must decide just how far he’s willing to go to return to the world.
With revolution on the rise, dangerous new magic rearing up, and a tsardom up for the taking, Vika, Nikolai, and Pasha must fight—or face the destruction of not only their world but also themselves.
My Rating: 4 Stars
Let me start by saying, the cover of this book was what made me pick it up off the shelf. I had never actually read The Crown’s Game before and bought both books based on the cover art alone. The old adage, Never Judge a Book by its Cover, while usually true, did not apply to these books. I absolutely judged them by their cover. Fortunately for me, the contents of the series were as remarkable as the covers.
From chapter one of book one, I was in love with not only Evelyn Skye’s writing style, but her premise as well. The writing is wonderfully descriptive, and transported me to Russia within moments. Plus, the idea of two enchanters fighting for the position of Imperial Enchanter? Killer premise. Throw in some romance? Mind blowing.
The romance throughout both books while a slow burn, was extremely frustrating. Not in the Clary and Jace way, mind you (Mortal Instruments reference for those of you who hide under rocks) but frustrating all the same. Now, when I say frustrating, I mean frustrating in the best possible way. The book was so full of angst and wanting, I loved it.
Additionally, there was a love triangle, a known pet peeve of mine. Here is what I hate about love triangles: I always pick the wrong guy for the main character to end up with. In Vampire Academy, I wanted Rose to end up with Adrian. In the Infernal Devices, I wanted Tessa with Jem. You get the direction I’m going with this. Unfortunately for me, in this particular series, I fell victim to the charms of the wrong character…again! Fortunately for me, by the end of the series, I enjoyed the romance between Vika and the character she ended up with – he grew on me.
The only thing that bothered me about this series was the ending. It felt rushed, I could have spent a hundred more pages with these characters. The entirety of The Crown’s Fate built up to this huge showdown at the end. It built up all of these expectations in my head – as I turned the pages, butterflies fluttered in my stomach. I was so nervous about the outcome of the final conflict. And then it was resolved. Just like that. Perhaps I am just greedy and wanted more, but it felt like an abrupt ending to the series.
My Takeaway: All in all a great duology – the descriptive writing will transport you into a magical version of Russia, complete with multicolored rivers and animated dolls brought to life. Though I enjoyed the series as a whole, I wish there had been a little less love triangle (love square even at times) and a little more ending.