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review 2017-05-31 18:35
#38 - The Crown's Fate by Evelyn Skye
The Crown's Fate (Crown's Game) - Evelyn Skye

The Crown’s Fate is the second book in the Crown’s Game series. The Crown’s Game was amazing, I rated it 5/5 stars and naturally, I was excited to continue on with the series. I read The Crown’s Fate pretty quickly after getting my copy. It was really great!

I did not rate it 5 stars because it was not as good as The Crown’s Game in my opinion; maybe because The Crown’s Game was the first book and I discovered a new (amazing) world, new characters etc. Still, I gave it 4 stars, which is good, because I enjoyed reading it.

 

The Crown’s Fate begins right where The Crown’s Game ended and I was excited to meet my old friends again. Everything that happened to the characters in this book made them change so much. Even more so that in the first book, they went through a lot and learned so many things about love, loyalty, friendship… Still, the characters are not what I liked the most about this story (as I already said in my review of the first book). What I preferred was again, the setting. By reading this book, you know the author really made a lot of research about the subjects and obviously knows a lot about Russian culture. I love it!

 

What is really great about the characters is the lack of romance. There is a sort of love triangle, where love does not equal romance. Not really. I cannot put words on this but I think it was well done.

 

I do not really know what to say about this book, it was a great continuation of the first book and I am happy about how it ended. I don’t have a lot to add, really, if you liked the first book, read this one, you won’t be disappointed. The one thing I want to mention is that I liked the fact that our characters wanted to build something new, even if they knew it would not be the easiest path to follow. Not because they were oppressed by the system or anything like you can read in a lot of YA books, here, they were actually in the minority and they have a great life. But they want to change the way Russia is and make people more equal. That was great.

 

I will definitely read anything this author writes, this was her debut series and I will definitely keep an eye on her projects to come.

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review 2017-01-22 14:38
#6 - The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye
The Crown's Game - Evelyn Skye

I was tempted to rate this book 4/5, but then the ending convinced me to rate it 5/5. This a debut novel and I have to say, I’m impress.

 

The setting was amazing. I’ve always been a bit fascinated by Russia but I don’t really know anything about it. It’s a country I’m not familiar with, so I was really glad to learn more about Russian culture. The author did a lot of research about it and it seems really accurate (she actually explains at the end of the book what is real and what is made up). The passion for Russia that the author has is really present in this book, I could feel it and I was really glad for it, it’s always amazing when someone can show his/her interest about something through his/her writing. I love discovering new things so it made me enjoy the book even more.

 

The plot was not that original. It’s about magic and enchanters and a game in which the loser has to die; nothing really new here. But I did love the magic system and the fact that only a few people have access to magic (two in Russia for example, but it’s extremely rare, most of the time there is only one enchanter). I found it really great that the other people don’t see the magic. It’s not common to handle magic like that in books (well at least, I have not read that in many books). The enchanters perform magic in public, without bothering hiding it, because the people just don’t see it. They think magic does not exist, so they always find a rational explanation for the extraordinary stuff they see. Isn’t great? It’s like in real life, we do not believe in what we do not see. It was a plus for me.

 

Apart from the magic system, the game in itself was not what I expected. I thought about an arena or something like that, but it was not that at all. I won’t say any more, you’ll see for yourself! And it was not a bad thing, really, I liked it.

The ending blew my mind. I was not at all expecting that. I thought it was not going to end this way and I’m glad it did (even if I’m not really happy about what happened, and even a  bit sad, but at least it was not to be expected). There are revelations and something I did not see coming at first, even if it was quite obvious. I like it when books surprise me!

 

The characters are what almost made me give only 4 stars. They were not enough developed for my taste, I would have liked to learn more about Vika for example, we do not really understand what she feels. Pasha and Nikolai were quite easy to understand, but still, I would have liked a bit more of their thoughts.

 

Rating: 5/5. I would gladly re-read this book in the future and I’m really excited about book two, which is The Crown’s Fate (to be released in May 2017).

I will recommend it to… people who love magic, impossible love (and love triangle)!

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review 2016-06-10 14:37
The Crown's Game - Evelyn Skye

I had high hopes for this one. After all, the cover is badass. 

The kingdom's two magician's are summoned for The Crown's Game. A magical tournament where the winner serves the crown and the other loses their life. Fun, right?

The story itself fell flat for me. 

Not sure I'll pick up the sequel.

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text 2016-06-06 15:36
Alternate history Imperial Russia with magic? Yes, please.
The Crown's Game - Evelyn Skye

This book has been getting a lot of buzz, so I went into it with fairly high expectations. It mostly delivered on those expectations. I liked it a lot.

 

Imperial Russia is one of my personal favorite settings, I love alternative history, and I love stories with magic. I devoured this nearly 400 page book in about three hours - I didn't want to stop reading - moving from shady spot to shady spot around my yard. It was the perfect book for a heat wave, with lots of snow and ice and other enchantment.

 

The downside, because there is always a downside, is the fact that the author couldn't stop herself from including a damned love triangle, or as I like to call it, a DLT. YA authors can't seem to resist the urge to do this, it almost universally irritates the crap out of me, and this was one of those times. The ending was a bit of a bummer, but it made sense with the story, and wasn't a cop out. That's all I'll say about that.

 

This is the start of a series, and I liked enough that I'll go on with the series.

 

I considered counting this book for the historical fiction slot, but decided to go with "new to me author," since I'm not sure about "alt history" being legit historical fiction.

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review 2016-06-04 00:00
The Crown's Game
The Crown's Game - Evelyn Skye Typical love triangle. Typical "strong" (but not really) female lead being drawn to the love interest who's bad for her. I felt like this book could have been really good, only it wasn't, and I'm not really sure why. Vika's relationships with both of the boys felt too quick and forced. It was obvious the author wanted us to believe that she and Nikolai were deeply in love, and Pasha loved her but she didn't love him back, but all of the relationships went way too fast. If the author wanted to have any serious love interests, she would have had to make them have known each other BEFORE the games started. Nikolai and Pasha were best friends, and then Nikolai admits something (his magic) that he'd been hiding from Pasha all his life and suddenly Pasha has turned into the evil, bloodthirsty tsar who can't even face his own actions. Pasha will never make a good leader since he is irresponsible and selfish, but the fact that he is weak and lets his even more bloodthirsty sister control him let's you know that he will be a truly awful tsar, and, while I know there were a lot of awful tsars in Russia's history, I don't think the author wants us to think of one of her main protagonists as an awful tsar. Speaking of Pasha's sister, it was rather absurd that the author decided to make her be younger than Pasha. No older brother would let his younger sister control him so completely, and, even though there is probably such thing as a fifteen-year-old girl who is as bloodthirsty as Juliana, I find it illogical that she would have her ability to manipulate people honed as well as she did.

I could see that the author was trying to set things up with Rasputin being an undead faith-healer like Nikolai's mother, since he was somehow able to heal Alexi and it's said that it took enough poison to kill several men, two or three bullets and a night in an icy river to kill him. I know that this is fantasy and I shouldn't investigate any historical facts, but there were only three Tsar Alexanders and none of them really fit well into this time, because Alexander II was the successor to Alexander I (no Pasha in the middle, I don't remember Pasha's full name, but it was not Alexander) and Alexander III was succeeded by Nicholas II, the last tsar of Russia.

The ending was also disappointing. Nikolai and Vika couldn't find a unique way to get out of the game so there was the same 'I'll commit suicide to stop you from dying' trope, which was interrupted by a magical dagger being enchanted by Nikolai's competitive teacher so, despite Nikolai's intentions, the knife hit Vika, and then at his request she healed herself by using his energy, which drained him of all life because every magical book ever knows that if you give away more energy then you have then you will die, but for some reason Vika didn't know that and for some reason Nikolai thought it would be fine for her to drain all of his life, and she wouldn't feel even more guilty since she'd also accidentally drained her father/mentor of energy and life, and Pasha let that happen even though he knew it was wrong. Then it turns out that Nikolai is still a sort of shadow, somehow, not that that makes any sense. I wonder if Pasha will have as big of a temper tantrum when he finds out that Nikolai is his brother as when he found out that Nikolai was a sorcerer.

I was also rather disappointed because in my mind, only Celtic and Russian folklore/magic can have a story alongside Christianity without blaming Christians for problems or claiming the Christianity isn't real, but the author didn't take advantage of this possibility, claiming that the Russian Orthodox Church was responsible for burning witches and faith-healers, and implying that Christianity isn't real and the tsars only pretended to convert, while still believing in magic and sorcerers, and not the Church (which is really dumb since history always shows that countries tend to follow the king/queen/tsar/emperor etc. and convert when he/she converts, not the ruler converting only after most of the people, and only converting to make them happy. That is just not realistic, even in a fantasy book.)

Overall, this was an okay book, but had way too many typical YA tropes, and not enough uniqueness or Russian culture to set it apart from all of the other YA books coming out now.
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