Summary: Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side. And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death. As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear… the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.
Like the enticing vapors around Nikolai’s enchanted benches, this story draws you in slowly. We are introduced to this magical 1820s Russia through several intriguing points of view, chief among them the impetuous Vika, the enchanter who has trained all her life with her father in a tiny village; the carefully pragmatic Nikolai, her rival enchanter in the titular game, who has kept his powers secret as a ward in the royal court; and the charismatic Pasha, the reluctant crown prince who slowly unravels the mystical secrets of the Russian court without realizing that his best friend Nikolai has been forced to participate in a magical fight to the death. As the three of them dance around one another (both literally and figuratively), the connections of magic, love, and friendship pull them closer together, and eventually strangle. The devastating choices all three must make will have you on tenterhooks for the conclusion to this enchanting duology.
THE CROWN’S GAME is out now.