The Lady Janies are back, y’all!! This time they’ve brought us the story of Mary Queen of Scots…if she were a shapeshifter…who turned into a mouse. Her beloved betrothed King Francis is the only one who knows her secret, but he’ll keep her confidence. That is until he meets his end. When Mary is placed on the throne how long will her secret remain a secret? What will happen if her secret becomes known?
I was so excited to get the galley for this book! I wanted it in whatever way that I could get it, and it happened to be the voice galley, which meant that the narration wasn’t amazing but that that’s no fault of the authors.
As expected, the book was delightful! I adored the “Janes” books, but I was so looking forward to the first “Mary” book, as I love Mary Queen of Scots. They didn’t disappoint! Told in shifting POVs, the Janies give us the trademark wit and humor that we’ve come to expect from them. The third person narrators are really where it’s at in this book, though, because they have all the tea! It’s like getting the juicy gossip from your best girlfriends at wine-down Wednesday. I’ll definitely be buying the hardcover to read over and over again, just like they’re previous books, and I can’t wait for more.
In 1889 Paris, the Order of Babel manage and guard all of the Forged artifacts and the secrets of the Babel Fragments that make it possible to forge minds and artifacts. Severin Montagnet-Alarie is a well known hotelier and a treasure hunter, which allows him to keep his thumb on the pulse of the city and has afforded him the ability to collect artifacts and secrets of his own. The Order has certainly taken things from Severin, but they coerce him to help him on a mission in exchange for a treasure that he never dreamed possible: his true inheritance. Severin puts together a team no one would dream up to take on this mission: to find an ancient artifact and possibly change the course of history…but only if they survive.
I was looking forward to this book from the time that I read the first blurb on it, and I was so excited to receive a galley copy of it! Guys, this book did not let me down. It was everything that I was hoping that it would be. Chokshi took the time to create a beautiful, rich fantasy world within the backstop of what we know historical Paris to be. The character development is incredibly well done. The characters are well fleshed out throughout the book, as they alternate chapters and we get to learn the backstories of each. If you’re a fan of fantasy, you can tell that this is the beginning of a fantasy series, as the author is taking the time to set up the world, etc, which can get a bit tedious at times but it never felt stale. There were wonderful twists, riddles, puzzles, and delightful banter to keep me fully engaged throughout the book. I’m anxiously awaiting the next!
The Crown’s Game ended, at the order of Pasha, but no one is particularly happy with the outcome. Vika is now the Imperial Enchanter, but she is only at Pasha’s right hand because she is forced to be. Pasha has lost his best friend (and brother) and the girl that he loves, at his own orders to end the Game. Nikolai survived, after sacrificing himself to save Vika, but only just. He is surviving as a shadow in one of his own dream lands. When he finally finds a way out of that dream, he is a much darker version of himself, a Shadow Prince. He is set against Pasha for what he has done, and wants to have Vika at his side, but he will fight against them both, if he must, to obtain the power and revenge that he seeks. Meanwhile, there are still uprisings, and those who wish to overthrow the Crown, as Pasha Coronation Ceremony draws near. The three of them may tear Russia, and each other, apart before this game comes to an end.
This sequel to The Crown’s Game was wonderful! It took on a much darker tone (as was set at towards the end of the previous novel) than its predecessor, but was still fast paced, and a very quick read for me (I didn’t want to put it down). I honestly, at several different points, found myself unsure of whom I was rooting for, because I came to care for these characters. Skye truly makes you feel for each of her characters, and their internal struggles. The wonderful character building and descriptiveness of the writing continued in to this novel. The prose was, again, really lovely to read. I am now an Evelyn Skye fan, and look forward to her next work.
Vika can summon lightening, rain, wind, snow, and ice. She can change and turn these elements in to whatever she needs them to be at the time. Nikolai can conjure clothing out of bunches of material, see through walls, and build bridges out of raw materials. They are enchanters, and each of them have been trained since they were very young to be the imperial enchanter to the tsar. There is only one problem, there can only be one. There was only ever supposed to be one. It has only happened a handful of times in Russian history, that there have been two. With uprisings happening across the country, and wars being threatened, the tsar needs his enchanter, so he does what he has to do in order to get it: He begins the Crown’s Game. The Game pits the enchanters against one another in a competition where only one will come out alive. One will either kill the other to win, or the game will kill the loser. Can either one of them really kill the other, though?
I waited a while to read this one, and I really wish that I hadn’t. I will admit that I have never really been a huge fan of any type of historical novel, but this one grabbed me from the beginning, and sucked me right in to the Game! I never would have believed that this was Skye’s debut novel, had I not been told. It certainly did not feel like one. The characters were all very well rounded, and fleshed out. The world building was phenomenal. I could see the enchantments as they were being performed and/or described. The romance was there, but it was not the only/primary focus of the novel. The only good thing about my waiting so long to read it is that I didn’t have to wait very long to get the sequel in to my hot little hands!