My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Actual Rating: 3.5 stars
Imagine and it shall be. There are no limits. —Nikolai
I would be a hypocrite if I say I didn’t buy this book because of its gorgeous cover. The moment I saw it featured on one of Jesse the Reader’s videos, my heart throbbed with the desire to add this book to my collection. I think my non-bookish brothers are the only ones who don’t like the cover. :p
Anyway, I admit that I delayed writing this review because I was somehow afraid of displeasing my friends who actually loved this book. However, the fact remains that we cannot force our opinions on others. Rest assured, I did not dislike nor hate The Crown’s Game. Overall, it just did not amaze me. The characters were pleasant but occasionally flat; the magic system was entertaining but unfathomably boundless; and the plot was delightfully fast-paced but somehow predictable.
I probably would’ve liked The Crown’s Game more if I hadn’t already been exposed to a lot of YA fantasy books with themes/tropes of deadly competitions, complicated relationships (i.e. love triangles), and forbidden romance. In other words, 15-year-old neophyte booknerd Josh would have adored this book. Unfortunately, jadedness hampered my enjoyment of the story.
Nevertheless, I want to end my review on a positive note. Personally, the most memorable virtue of this book was its historical background and setting. Being an avid fan of My Lady Jane, I loved how the author tweaked with Russian history and thereby make it her own. Also, the names of the featured food and landmarks were definitely hard to pronounce, but I had fun Googling them and adding them to my limited knowledge of Russian culture.
Ultimately, though The Crown’s Game did not strike me as an excellent or outstanding novel, I look forward to reading its sequel. Until now, I cannot get over that frustrating cliffhanger.