I was tempted to rate this book 4/5, but then the ending convinced me to rate it 5/5. This a debut novel and I have to say, I’m impress.
The setting was amazing. I’ve always been a bit fascinated by Russia but I don’t really know anything about it. It’s a country I’m not familiar with, so I was really glad to learn more about Russian culture. The author did a lot of research about it and it seems really accurate (she actually explains at the end of the book what is real and what is made up). The passion for Russia that the author has is really present in this book, I could feel it and I was really glad for it, it’s always amazing when someone can show his/her interest about something through his/her writing. I love discovering new things so it made me enjoy the book even more.
The plot was not that original. It’s about magic and enchanters and a game in which the loser has to die; nothing really new here. But I did love the magic system and the fact that only a few people have access to magic (two in Russia for example, but it’s extremely rare, most of the time there is only one enchanter). I found it really great that the other people don’t see the magic. It’s not common to handle magic like that in books (well at least, I have not read that in many books). The enchanters perform magic in public, without bothering hiding it, because the people just don’t see it. They think magic does not exist, so they always find a rational explanation for the extraordinary stuff they see. Isn’t great? It’s like in real life, we do not believe in what we do not see. It was a plus for me.
Apart from the magic system, the game in itself was not what I expected. I thought about an arena or something like that, but it was not that at all. I won’t say any more, you’ll see for yourself! And it was not a bad thing, really, I liked it.
The ending blew my mind. I was not at all expecting that. I thought it was not going to end this way and I’m glad it did (even if I’m not really happy about what happened, and even a bit sad, but at least it was not to be expected). There are revelations and something I did not see coming at first, even if it was quite obvious. I like it when books surprise me!
The characters are what almost made me give only 4 stars. They were not enough developed for my taste, I would have liked to learn more about Vika for example, we do not really understand what she feels. Pasha and Nikolai were quite easy to understand, but still, I would have liked a bit more of their thoughts.
Rating: 5/5. I would gladly re-read this book in the future and I’m really excited about book two, which is The Crown’s Fate (to be released in May 2017).
I will recommend it to… people who love magic, impossible love (and love triangle)!