In this magical version of imperial Russia two young enchanters, Vika and Nikolai must compete in The Crown’s Game in order to become the one royal enchanter who helps the tsar protect the kingdom. The contest is complicated by many factors including the two main character’s growing respect for each other. This book has tons of action and romance in addition capturing a pentacle era of St. Petersburg culture. I found this one to be a thrilling read through much of the novel but the second half felt a bit rushed and implausible.

(Recommended for grades 7 and up)