Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Disclaimer: I looked up the mazurka on YouTube last night and started crying in the club, so one might say I am quite emotional over this book.
How Evelyn Skye managed to write a sequel better than the first book makes her a magical writing fairy and deserving of all of the respect in this dark, dark world. I loved The Crown’s Fate and now it is my child. I will cherish and love it forever.
The Crown’s Fate picks up pretty much where The Crown’s Game left off, so if you haven’t read that then what are you doing reading this review? Go read The Crown’s Game quickly! Please!
Vika is now the Imperial Enchanter, Pasha is set to become the Tsar, and Nikolai is supposedly dead. Also Yuliana is still a hard-ass and one of my faves because she is so gosh-darn unlikable. Vika is adjusting to having to abide by every one of Pasha and (mostly) Yuliana’s strict rules, forced to wear a bracelet that ties her directly to the will of the tsardom. Meanwhile, Nikolai is in the Steppe dream bench and unable to procure a physical form and escape. It’s not without the help of his (undead?) mother that he is finally able to leave the Steppe and reenter the real world as nothing more than a shadow of himself. Literally.
The Crown’s Fate continues the magic and whimsy of the first book, but this time with more dire consequences and higher stakes. Nikolai is tainted by his mother’s energy and vindictive over the ending of the Crown’s Game. He sees that Vika had moved on and believes her to be in love with Pasha, fueling the fire burning inside of him. Nikolai finds that he has the strange desire to kill Pasha and overtake the tsardom.
I’m not sure why, but lately I have been loving the sequels in duologies more than the first books. This same thing happened with Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. Crooked Kingdom has become one of my favorite and most cherished books.
The Crown’s Fate has beautifully built off the world that Evelyne Skye built and the transition is smooth like butter. Emotions are heightened, characters are further developed, and we get more of Yuliana. And with Nikolai back in the real world, the love triangle continues.
One of the things that I have enjoyed the most about The Crown’s Fate is how little romance plays a part throughout the narrative. The story is not dominated by who Vika will choose and her love (though differing) for both Pasha and Nikolai. The story is about magic and intrigue and the intense politics of an Imperial Russia on the brink of revolution. While The Crown’s Fate is a few decades before the actual Russian Revolution and deals mostly with the Decembrists, the urgency to save Russia is palpable.
This book is such a treasure and gift to my life and my love for Russian history and culture. I love the way that Evelyn Skye makes it known how vast Russia’s culture is and how diverse of a country it is. Russia spans two continents, and sometimes when people write about Russia they forget that. The ethnic diversity in Russia is well-highlighted in this duology.
There is nothing bad I could say about this book. I love it and I’m so glad that I have had the chance to read it and experience the Imperial Russia that Evelyn Skye has created in her historical fantasy.