Double Review: The Crown's Game + The Unexpected Everything

Author: Evelyn Skye
Series: Yes
Genre: YA Fantasy
Page Length: 416 Pages
Publication Date: May 17th, 2016
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: ARC 
Goodreads | Amazon
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.
Drama laces itself around all elements of The Crown's Game. This book captivates from the very beginning along with an explosive ending and a quick pace. The writing is sophisticated and couples beautifully cultivated diction with great innovation. At first the writing seems a bit subdued, but over the course of the book it flows better and picks up some vitality. The magical elements and visual displays are definitely my favorite part of the novel. It's so vivid, and Evelyn has a knack for creativity, imagination, and theatrics. I was enchanted (see what I did there?) by all of the tricks the enchanters pulled to impress the Tsar.

The characters were another high point for me. Altogether Vika, Pasha, and Nikolai create an intoxicating and tangled web of feelings and friendship and confusion. The dynamic is played perfectly. I wanted a bit more from the romance though. It felt like a love triangle at times yet not so later on, and it was all yearning and no action! Perhaps in book 2 something will happen.

The plot is unpredictable, and a dull moment never seeps into the story. I was able to guess some of the surprises in the plot while others left me reeling and completely shocked. Evelyn's immense research of the Russian culture is evident, and I really loved her incorporation of the Russian culture into the story. Another strong point in the novel was the ending. Things escalate quickly until the fiery end. When can I read book 2??

Overall The Crown's Game is an enjoyable start to a new series that fans of Grisha will definitely enjoy!

Author: Morgan Matson
Series: No
Genre: YA Contemporary
Page Length: 496 Pages
Publication Date: May 3rd, 2016
Publisher: Simon & Schuster 
Source: ARC 
Goodreads | Amazon
Andie had it all planned out.

When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future.

Important internship? Check.

Amazing friends? Check.

Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks).

But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life.

Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected.

And where’s the fun in that?
My first Morgan Matson book left me in such a cloud of euphoria and contentment that I can now call myself a fan of her work. 

Andie is an easily understandable and likable character. I love that she takes the initiative and goes after what she wants. She and her three best friends Toby, Bri, and Palmer, make this book shine. I love the friendship in this book. These girls care for each so much and are always there for one another. I love how they always put each other first.

While dog walking, Andie grows a crush on a dog's owner, Clark. I love nerdy guys in YA, and he is so adorkable! I love that he challenges Andie and wants to talk about real things, not just the superficial sides of life. The romance is extremely swoon worthy, and I grinned so much while reading their cute banter and their little quirks.

Another important part of this novel is family. There are so many heartwarming scenes, and I love the little touches Morgan adds to sweeten the story. The characters are all funny and quirky in their own ways. The themes are so real and applicable to all lives. I loved the descriptions of all the dogs and the dog-walking adventures! My one complaint is that this book is super long, 496 pages?? That's a bit much... There are some scenes I could definitely see cutting out, but this book was pretty darn good the way it is.

Overall Morgan Matson's latest novel was packed with fluffy dogs, adorkable romance, strong characters, enviable friendships, and realistic themes. I'd recommend this book to the moon and back to all contemporary readers.
Rachel is a teenaged unapologetic fangirl and perfectionist.

She loves reading for the escape it gives from reality and enjoys crying over books, swooning over characters, and laughing out loud over funny lines. She is a semi-recovering Netflix addict and a middle child of three.

You can find her on Twitter @yaperfectionist & Goodreads.


  1. Whoa to be honest when I read the summary for The Crown's Game and saw Nikolai's name I thought this was like a side story or something from the Grisha world. Maybe its cause I just finished Siege and Storm, but I love that name now! xD But wow the summary makes the book look so good! I really can't wait to get my hands on that book :D Nice review Rachel!!

  2. Oh nice! I am super excited for The Crown's Game! It sounds so awesome! Glad to hear it was pretty much a winner for you despite a few nuisances! Great review!

  3. Love these reviews! Both of these are on my TBR list. I have loved everything Matson has written so I had high hopes for her new book. I am glad it is living up to the hype. :)

  4. Great reviews, Rachel! Both these books look good :D The Unexpected Everything sounds wonderful. Dogs and nerdy boys? SIGN ME UP.

  5. "The Crown's Game is an enjoyable start to a new series that fans of Grisha will definitely enjoy"

    Um, YAAAASSS! XD *raises hand*

    Awesome reviews! So glad you enjoyed The Crown's Game ^_^

    Brittany @ Brittany's Book Rambles

  6. I was curious about The Unexpected Everything. It sounds like a really fun read, and if you say it was too long that makes me think there could be two ways it could go when it comes to me: either I'll be annoyed (if it's too detailed but I don't think it will be, or repetitive) or it could be a plus because I'll get to enjoy the story for longer time.

    The Crown's Game is on my tbr list for months now. It's good to see it was a four stars read. :)


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