One I loved – and one not so much… Both have sequels out too so you can not have to wait like I did for reading!
First – the good.
Three Dark Crowns
When kingdom come, there will be one.
In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born—three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.
But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.
The last queen standing gets the crown.
I mean I’ve never wanted to kill my sister (I swear Holly!) but that doesn’t mean this build up to battles to the death between triplets isn’t fun to read about. These sisters are separated at a young age knowing that when they come back together two will die for one to become queen. That’s a lot to live with! The magic is cool, the scheming from all sides is great and I feel like the battles to come will be epic.
I would have liked more about the history of the island and the queens – but I feel like there must be depth still to come. I thought this was a duology but it turns out there are 4 books planned. As, as I’m so slow, the sequel, One Dark Throne, is also out and it was equally creepy and violent. Things definitely did not go the way I expected for these sisters and my feelings totally changed about them. I can’t want to see what happens next!
And the other…
The Crown’s Game, Evelyn Skye
Published May 17th 2016 by Balzer + Bray
Hardcover, 399 pages
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.
Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?
For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.
And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love… or be killed himself.
As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear… the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.
Between this gorgeous cover and this description I was dying to get my hands onto The Crowns Game – Imperial Russia and magic AND romance? Yes please. I was really sad that this wasn’t the magical and romantic book I wanted it to be. Yes, the magic was really cool at times, but at the heart of it this was two magicians dueling – and nowhere near as cool as the Night Circus. The romance was just kind of meh here and the love triangle boring too. I might pick up the sequel if I came across it on a library shelf – but this isn’t one to seek out I’d say. If you want a Russian story and not dueling magicians go for The Bear and The Nightingale (which I need to review)!