“The Game might be over, but their story was not.”
Russia is on the brink of great change. Pasha’s coronation approaches, and Vika is now the Imperial Enchanter, but the role she once coveted may be more difficult—and dangerous—than she ever expected.
Pasha is grappling with his own problems—his legitimacy is in doubt, the girl he loves loathes him, and he believes his best friend is dead. When a challenger to the throne emerges—and with the magic in Russia growing rapidly—Pasha must do whatever it takes to keep his position and protect his kingdom.
For Nikolai, the ending of the Crown’s Game stung deeply. Although he just managed to escape death, Nikolai remains alone, a shadow hidden in a not-quite-real world of his own creation. But when he’s given a second chance at life—tied to a dark price—Nikolai must decide just how far he’s willing to go to return to the world.
With revolution on the rise, dangerous new magic rearing up, and a tsardom up for the taking, Vika, Nikolai, and Pasha must fight—or face the destruction of not only their world but also themselves.
The Crown’s Fate is darker, action-packed and thrilling conclusion to Evelyn Skye’s The Crown’s Game fantasy duology.
The story picks up shortly after the the first book, The Crown’s Game ended. Vika is now the Imperial Enchanter under the command of Pasha who is the next Tsarevich following his father’s death. Nikolai is gone, presumably dead after his sacrifice during the Game, saving Vika’s life. Pasha and Vika are torn in Nikolai’s death. Pasha blame himself for forcing the Game to his friends which resulted losing Nikolai. While Vika is incredibly sad. She not only loose Nikolai, she also earned a new prison she didn’t expected. She maybe the Imperial Enchanter, but she doesn’t have the power over her magic. She is bound to serve the Tsar, disobeying his orders means punishment for her.
But Nikolai isn’t really dead, he is just trapped in the dream world – a place he previously created which still holds some of his magic. After the battle with Vika and saving her, Nikolai almost drained his energy and magic, he become a shadow reeling in-between world. In order for Nikolai to go back to the real world, he must pay a dark price – a payment he isn’t willing to make. But what if the choice isn’t for him to make? What hill happen if Nikolai turned against not only to Pasha and Vika but also against himself?
One of the strongest aspects of this series is the Russian settings. Evelyn Skye weaves fantasy and Russian history together, while painting the world in an enticing imagery for readers to get lost into. I was happily lost in Saints Petersberg, following the characters in each corner of the streets of Imperial Russia. Add the political settings, and rich history where the characters are dancing, I feel like I am at the center of a grand show. The Russian elements make the story atmospheric and worth visiting over and over.
“But hadn’t they all changed? Life happened without permission, and it swept everyone along in its violent wake.”
Vika continue to be a strong character in this final installment. She is still smart, forgiving, and compassionate. When she was commanded to limit the usage of her magic, Vika realized how vulnerable she is without magic, and how she become dependent to her power. Magic maybe part of her, but it is not what she is.
“We are not defined by what we can do, but by what we actually do.”
Pasha who is soon to be a Tsar finally realize the importance of his role. With his parents gone and his best friend not on his side, he now gradually accepting his responsibilities. After the devastating outcome of the game from the previous book, he is now learning from his mistake. He wants to do things right and be a worthy Tsar of Russia.
Nikolai on the other hand, turns to the dark side. A situation he didn’t pick for himself, and no full control over. As he battle his dark side, readers will surely feel for him. Nikolai’s inner battle is sometimes intense. His newly acquired personality painted this last installment dark, edgy, even at times frustrating. It is no doubt that followers of this series will miss the old Nikolai, and will probably don’t like his newly acquired personality. On my case, I understand why his character need to be tainted. He cannot always be the perfect guy after-all. By throwing Nikolai on the dark side, Evelyn Skye open his character. Readers who love him from the first book will surely find ways to excuse his actions. Like Vika, we all believe that the old Nikolai is still there and we all want to save him.
The only mild complaint is the rush ending. Though the story was tied up pretty neatly, I feel like the conflict was easily resolved. The last battle is action packed and well delivered but I wish there was more. There are still room for more actions, answers and character development. Like more information about Vika’s parents, about Renata’s newly acquired power or even just the tea leaf reading, and Yuliana’s character. Too bad this is the final book already.
Overall, The Crown’s Fate is a fast and enthralling read. A dark and edgy conclusion to Evelyn’s Skye first fantasy duology that will probably leave readers asking for more.
* This review is based on an advance readers copy I received courtesy of the publisher, HarperCollins International in exchange of honest opinion.