The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Recommended by at least two of our faves in YA fantasy - Sabaa Tahir and Sara Raasch, specifically - this book makes me think of the Grisha Trilogy right away, except unlike Leigh Bardugo, Evelyn Skye gives us a straight historical fantasy rather than make up a whole new country loosely based on tsarist Russia. And while Bardugo is super-duper-steampunk, Skye is more about the magic, and also the culture of 19th-century Russia, a place where the local tongue is eschewed in favor of French in court, the food is to die for, the art is lovely, and the magic and romance are some of the strongest I've ever seen. You thought The Hunger Games had some star-crossed loving? You ain't seen nothing yet till you've read about Vika and Nikolai. And Pasha too, because I really liked him. He was my favorite character in this whole book by far.
I'm actually really bummed that there won't be more than two books in this series, but at least I've got the second one already on order at the library.
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