Book Reviews

The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye – Book Review

Book Club Pick!

Hey guys! I’m going to be starting something new on my blog, and including reviews for my book club books. Therefore, the opinions expressed in the review, are not solely my own, but the general consensus of the book club. 🙂

The Crown's Game.jpg

The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye was a really fast read, the chapters are shorter so that always makes the book seem to go by faster! The plot takes place in Russia prior to the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, and in this novel, it is tradition to host what is referred to as “The Crown’s Game”. This is a contest between two individuals (enchanters), who have magical abilities, to impress the Tsar and ultimately become his advisor. However, there are two contestants, and only one can become the advisor. Therefore, as part of the rules of the game, the enchanter who performs the poorest, loses, and consequently dies. I would classify this novel as a historical fiction with elements of fantasy, so if you’re interested in that, you should definitely check it out!

The writing was pretty good. Overall, the reader does get really emotionally attached to the characters and immersed in the plot, however we have concluded that the plot twists, perhaps should have been more built up.

Additionally, we were wondering if there would be a sequel, because to us, some of the characters in particular seemed to not serve as big of a purpose as we thought they should (More on this later in the spoiler section).

However, it was historically accurate, and the descriptive writing techniques utilized when building the setting of Russia, was done really well!

The romance in the book was also good, there’s kind of a love triangle that occurs though, but I didn’t mind it all that much! I will admit, I didn’t really care that much for the “insta” love in this novel, but some scenes were really cute! 🙂

We give this novel 3/5 stars! You should read this novel if you enjoy historical fiction, or even if you don’t, but you like fantasy and/or dystopian elements!

Some of my Favourite Quotes from the Novel: 

“She wanted again to hold on to him, and have him hold on to her, so they could whirl together through the cosmos like galaxies that could not—and would not—be confined.”

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.

“Imagine, and it shall be.
There are no limits.⁠⁠⁠⁠”

SPOILER/DISCUSSION SECTION: Do not read ahead if you haven’t read The Crown’s Game or don’t want to be spoiled

     I felt like I couldn’t adequately discuss some of the points I had regarding some of the characters, and especially the romance in this book, without getting into a few spoilers.The first thing I wanted to mention was Nickolai’s mother. She seems to come into the plot, and somehow “resurrect” herself from the “dead” (in the book it’s described as ante-death, some stage after life and before actual death), after some 18 years, because she claims she loves her son. But when she finds him and he basically tells her he doesn’t want anything to do with her, her role in the plot is done. Yes, I know she killed the Tsar, and she contributed to the plot that way, but as for her son, who she claims that she loves deeply.. I’m not so convinced, I don’t think the book makes mention to her even after Nickolai’s death. You would think that she would be greatly saddened by this, and make an appearance at his funeral or something. I guess, we were expecting more from his mother, in terms of her relationship with her long-lost son.

Another key point that we discussed was the fact that Nickolai finds out that his father is the Tsar, and he potentially is just as eligible for the position as Pasha (since there was rumours that the Tsarina had affairs as well), but Nickolai takes this vital information with him to the grave! No one ends up finding out about this in the novel – and we think this is a pretty important secret for no one to know about.. especially Pasha, given the fact that his best friend is technically his half-brother.

Now, for the romance. Am I the only one shipping Nickolai and Renata? I felt like so much of the romance was rushed. But Renata he’s known for a long time, and I felt like she was one of the only “real” and stable characters. The book makes reference to how the two enchanters are connected through their magic, so perhaps their romance is based more upon that than love?

Often times there was really unique metaphors associated with the love in this book, here is an example:

“And touching Nikolai, even through her gloves and his sleeve, was like being pummeling by stampede of wild horses. No, wild unicorns. Beautiful, wild unicorns.”

There was also a lot of cliche’s in my opinion, including:

“You cannot love her. You hardly know her.”
“If there were ever a girl a man could fall in love with without knowing, it would be Vika.”

“Oh, mercy, he was handsome, all ebony hair and ink-black eyes and a face so precisely chiseled, Vika could almost picture the blade that had created him. And the sparks that danced through his magic! Goose bumps rose where his hand held her, even though there was a glove and a sleeve between them. Everything inside Vika quivered.”

Though I’m not a huge fan of both the love triangle between Pasha, Nickolai, and Vika, or the insta love, I have to admit that some of the scenes were really cute, one of my favourite parts out of the whole book was during the masquerade ball when Nickolai and Vika danced. But Since both Pasha and Nickolai didn’t know Vika that well, I didn’t think that a girl should have came between their years of friendship.

BUT to be fair, even though I had some hesitations with this novel, I do think it sets the stage for a sequel very nicely! I’m super excited to see how everything will turn out, and see Vika’s challenge of serving Pasha, while learning to forgive him for what he did during The Crown’s Game! I guess we will have to see! 🙂


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