THE CROWN’S GAME (Book 1) 4.5 out of 5 stars
I have been longing for a good historical fantasy read when I came across The Crown’s Game on sale at 50% off. Of course, I decided to buy it along with its sequel happy and content that the series is only a duology because it is my resolve that if I’ll ever invest my time, money and emotions in a series again, it should end with the second book. Hehe.
But really, it was the blurb that drew me in and although I was nervous and already anticipating disappointment because I saw several negative reviews, I’m very glad that the book is exactly the opposite of my little expectations. There’s magic, adventure, a deadly game, shocking plot twists, adorable albeit instant romance, gripping writing and narrative that’s often witty and humorous, fleshed-out characters, a threat of war and a reinvention of history.
The Crown’s Game is basically a battle of magic between the two enchanters of the Russian empire and their magic is downright impressive, captivating and enchanting. My imagination is working double time trying to think of all the beauty and animation their magic conjured. Sadly the competition must end with the sure death of one of the competitors and even sadder because Vika and Nikolai, the two enchanters in the empire, are starting to fall for each other. How tragic! My hopeless romantic heart is actively triggered! Lol. That insta-romance is probably the only thing that’s off putting. I mean there have been declarations of I love you’s in the end. Man, that was quite too quick. Lol.
But other than that, I was wholly, completely reeled in to the story because for a change, it isn’t really about the competition, it’s not really about violence or blood bath or politics. I feel like the author wanted to highlight the magic in the story especially that magic that is fueled by love and compassion and that’s why in the story, the game is held in secret. Laypeople didn’t know about the games and yet they still held so much impact because of the characters’ creativity and passion. Also, I was curious of the game’s conclusion, about how the enchanters will try to defy their supposed fate.
The ending gave me quite a scare and I was worried that the sweet Pasha (the next tsar) was going to transform into a Maven (of the Red Queen Series), I’m so glad he didn’t and gladder that the story concluded more than reasonably with more than a hint of what I will expect of the second book. I’m so looking forward to it.
THE CROWN’S FATE (Book 2) 4 out of 5 stars
I was postponing reading The Crown’s Fate for as long as I could trying to save it for a special occasion but I just couldn’t hold back any longer. I have to know what happens to Nikkolai and Vika. And boy, did I get even more than I was expecting for.
The story has become darker, more exciting, more magical and denser in plot. I love the premise that Nikkolai and Vika have to once again battle against each other and how for some reason, there is always a barrier between the two of them getting together. It’s seriously a huge fuel for my appetite for hopeless romance. Lol.
Also, I just have to say that there is just this beautiful, effortless fluidity in Ms. Skye’s writing allowing me to devour the book so quickly just like I did with the first book. Despite the deliberate and elaborate unveiling of the turning point, it was still fast-paced. I think the short chapters contributed in making the reader feel like it’s a quick read. The vivid descriptions make the story really tasteful. (I.e. Aizhana’s appearance will make you shudder. Even from the first book. She’s so creepy. Thanks to the author’s specific and imaginative description of her grotesque image even though I’m a little saddened of her un-glamorous demise.)
I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to know what is going to happen not only to Vika and Nikkolai but to Pasha and even Yuliana as well and the fate of Russia itself. It is a thrilling, adventurous, magical and fantastic read and I happily report that even though it is not perfect because I feel like I was still left wanting, the ending to this duology is still definitely very, very satisfactory.