The Crown’s Fate Review: Imperial Russian Fantasy with a Lacklustre Ending

May 14, 2017 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 3 stars, ARC Reviews, Books, Reviews

The Crown’s Fate Review: Imperial Russian Fantasy with a Lacklustre EndingThe Crown's Fate by Evelyn Skye
Published by Balzer + Bray on May 16, 2017
Source: Publisher, Edelweiss
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy & Magic
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Perfect for fans of Shadow and Bone and Red Queen, The Crown’s Fate is the thrilling sequel to the New York Times bestselling The Crown’s Game, an atmospheric historical fantasy set in Imperial Russia.

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.

Contains minor spoilers for the first book, The Crown’s Game.

I have no idea what to say about The Crown’s Fate other than the fact that the first book was better. This is one of those books where I didn’t take much in, because the plot didn’t keep me interested. I wasn’t sure where they were going with things, and I felt like the conflict was only brought up later in the book.

There’s a lot of filler here as the characters wallow around, Vika complaining about why she can’t use her magic as freely as she thought and Nikolai as a literal shade of his former self. The characters felt bland and I didn’t really care for them. There’s also a lot of repetition, as we’re constantly told that Nik is darker and he shows it in a variety of ways. It’s also made up of a lot of redundant point of views that don’t really come to anything, such as Renata’s point of view which I felt was added in to pad out the story.

Nikolai and Vika were no longer two sides of the same enchanting coin. How could she save him if she couldn’t even understand him anymore?

I enjoyed the Imperial Russian fantasy setting as usual, as Pasha is preparing for his coronation as the Tsar and the manipulative, cunning Yuliana does everything in her power to make sure it stays that way. She’s probably the most interesting character of the lot, as a ruthless Princess who is well respected and feared by many. The detail when it comes to the Imperial setting, the dances, the finery and the food was definitely still here, making me crave borscht and pastries that were so finely described.

The magic tricks and the enchanting were as magical as usual, although I felt like some of the tricks were recycled that we had seen in the first book, such as the Jack in the Box appearing in the town square. I enjoyed Nikolai being in the darker dimension and dealing with his evil/misunderstood mother Aizhana and coming to terms with the consequences of her actions.

Vika was a wild girl with fiery hair, dancing with the Prince of Darkness and not caring that they spun together through this imagined hell.

While I enjoyed the Imperial Russian fantasy setting in The Crown’s Fate, and the displays of magic, food and finery, I felt like it had a lot of filler and repetition with bland character perspectives. I felt like it would’ve been a much more interesting book if it was shorter. The ending was also rushed and too easily resolved, but I’m glad that it tied up the duology.

Rating: 3 out of 5

I received a review copy from Balzer + Bray via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Tiktok@happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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13 responses to “The Crown’s Fate Review: Imperial Russian Fantasy with a Lacklustre Ending

  1. Cyn @ Bookmunchies

    Definitely a little disappointing when the ending doesn't blow you away! I'm happy to hear that things resolve, but that's too bad the book wasn't better than the first. I've kind of been putting this off since book 1 didn't really blow me away. Oh well. Awesome review, Jeann!

  2. Kelly

    I'm sorry that you didn't enjoy this one as much as the first book. I can't say that I enjoyed the first book at all…I ended up DNFing it, but I love seeing how much everyone else enjoyed it. I've seen some mixed reviews about this one though. Lovely review!

  3. I do agree, this wasn't as good as the first book, sadly. I still liked it, but it was missing.. that special something that made me love book one. I think you are right about the repetition- that could be what I was having trouble with. I am definitely glad that the story wrapped up though, and that you didn't totally hate it! Great review 😀

  4. I'm sorry about this Jeann! I mean I am not sorry that you basically read and reviewed this for me, because I knew I wouldn't enjoy it. I read The Crown's Game, and I actually did not enjoy it as much as I thought I would! Which is why I held off on the sequel.

    I hope your next read is better Jeann!!!!

    • Yeah, I have this compulsive urge to finish series that I start lol. A shame to hear about The Crown's Game, I think a few people thought it was disappointing even though I loved the setting. Thank you Val!

  5. Oh no! I always find it super disappointing when a sequel doesn't live up to the first book 🙁 I'm glad there were aspects that you did still like, but it's a shame that you felt like not a lot happened in the time of the book. Which is weird because you said the ending was rushed. Maybe the pacing was off, which made everything seem either too fast or too slow. :/

    I hope your next read is amazing, Jeann!

    • Yeah, it's definitely hard to live up to the first book sometimes, especially when it was hyped up so much! I actually didn't realise about the pacing until you mentioned! I definitely think they crammed a lot into the last half of the book.

  6. While I was never interested in reading the first book, I thought it the mythology in which this was based was interesting. Sorry this book didn't live up to your expectations. Sucks when that happens especially when you've been excited for the installment!

  7. Sarah

    Its always disappointing when a second book isn't as good as the first – but I'm glad it at least wrapped the story up nicely. And the setting and world building sound super intriguing – I haven't read this series yet myself, but I'm still going to keep it on the list 🙂 Nice Review

    • Definitely, I'm glad it didn't drag out over 3 books. I loved the Russian fantasy part and the magic, definitely! Thank you Sarah.

  8. lekeishathebooknerd

    You are not the only reader to say this. I am quite sure about not attempting this duology. It just doesn't sound like anything I'd want to read. No matter how great the setting is. Great review!

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