Although magic is nearly non-existent in the world, it still exist. A handful of individuals have the ability to manipulate it as they will, and they are known as enchanters. These magicians are rare and often hide their abilities from others. Every now and then, a secret competition is held between enchanters to determine who will become THE enchanter to the tzar of Russia. This competition is known as the Crown’s Game.
Vika is an enchanter who has been raised by her father in the country. She has the ability to manipulate the elements to do as she wills. She can not only control the flow of water, but fire and lighting as well.
Raised by a benefactor, Nikolai is an enchanter who can manipulate objects – fabrics, scissors, paints, metals, etc. – to create wondrous sculptures and creations. He has also, most reluctantly, been taught to kill to survive by his less than loving benefactor.
Both Vika and Nikolai, as the only two living enchanters, have been chosen by the Crown’s Game. Whoever wins will become the tzar’s enchanter; whoever loses, dies. But the game becomes more complicated when the royal prince and Nikolai’s best friend, Pasha, becomes interested in the existence of enchanters and as Vika and Nikolai develop romantic feelings for each other. They both want to win…but at the expense of the other’s life, is it worth it?
I’m always fascinated by stories that employ magic, especially those that set a limit to the magic and employ different systems. The Crown’s Game is a fascinating story that tends to focus more on the relationships between characters than the magic itself. I did find bits of it slow paced, but I think that might be attributed to the first novel in a series syndrome.
I found Nikolai to be a well rounded character, possibly due to his life experiences, while Pasha and Vika, who lead more sheltered lives, are less so. This fact made me often dislike Vika and Pasha’s choice of action in certain scenes because of their inability to see or grasp their surroundings; it often made them seem narrow minded. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing about the story as it distinguishes them as their characters, but I often found myself sympathizing and gravitating towards Nikolai more.
The Crown’s Fate, the second in this story, has just been released so I might have to get that soon and see how everyone’s fate plays out.
My rating: 4/5