Evelyn Skye
Evelyn Skye’s debut YA novel The Crown’s Gameis a historical fantasy set in Imperial Russia about two teenagers who must compete for the right to become the Imperial Enchanter—or die in the process. 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. As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear…the Crown’s Game is not one to lose. “Wildly romantic, wholly immersive, and gloriously over-the-top,” our reviewer writes.


KIRKUS REVIEW

A star-crossed pair is magically compelled to duel to the death in this sumptuous, Tolstoy-flavored fantasy debut.

In 1825 the tsar of an alternate Russia desperately needs an Imperial Enchanter, and there are two possible candidates: bold (almost feral) Vika Andreyevna, of aristocratic lineage but raised in humble isolation; and fiercely ambitious Nikolai Karimov, born a poor Kazakh orphan but groomed for elegant St. Petersburg society. Despite their instant attraction, they are doomed to obey ancient tradition and compete in the Crown’s Game. The winner will attain “unimaginable power”—but for the loser, instant death. Fiery Vika, who specializes in nature enchantments, is well-balanced by the calculating Nikolai, skilled in mechanics and artifice; their escalating magical displays cleverly showcase their opposing talents and personalities and how they complement rather than clash. Multiple points of view highlight the vivid secondary characters who play pivotal roles—as does a gorgeous, fairy-tale version of St. Petersburg, almost a character in itself. The plot is not so much dramatic as operatic, with masked balls, thwarted passions, fantastical feats, tortured love quadrangles, heartbreaking sacrifices, and vengeful secrets from beyond the grave. And, like many an opera, the climax is beautifully tragic, leading to a poignant, bittersweet epilogue with just enough bread crumbs to leave open the possibility of a sequel.

Wildly romantic, wholly immersive, and gloriously over-the-top. (Fantasy. 12 & up)


Recent Interviews

Brad Parks

author of SAY NOTHING

March 7, 2017
SAY NOTHING by Brad Parks In Brad Parks’ new thriller Say Nothing, judge Scott Sampson doesn’t brag about having a perfect life, but the evidence is clear: a prestigious job. A beloved family. On an ordinary Wednesday afternoon, he is about to pick up his six-year-old twins to go swimming when his wife, Alison, texts him that she’ll get the kids from school instead. It’s not until she gets home later that Scott realizes she doesn’t have the children. And she never sent the text. Then the phone rings, and every parent’s most chilling nightmare begins. A man has stolen Sam and Emma. For Scott and Alison, the kidnapper’s call is only the beginning of a twisting, gut-churning ordeal of blackmail, deceit, and terror; a high-profile trial like none the judge or his wife has ever experienced. Their marriage falters. Suspicions and long-buried jealousies rise to the surface. Fractures appear. Lies are told. “The nerve-shredding never lets up for a minute as Parks picks you up by the scruff of the neck, shakes you vigorously, and repeats over and over again till a climax so harrowing that you’ll be shaking with gratitude that it’s finally over,” our critic writes in a starred review. View video >

Yoojin Grace Wuertz

author of EVERYTHING BELONGS TO US

February 27, 2017
EVERYTHING BELONGS TO US by Yoojin Grace Wuertz In Yoojin Grace Wuertz’s debut novel Everything Belongs to Us, the setting is Seoul in 1978. At South Korea’s top university, the nation’s best and brightest compete to join the professional elite of an authoritarian regime. Success could lead to a life of rarefied privilege and wealth; failure means being left irrevocably behind. For childhood friends Jisun and Namin, the stakes couldn’t be more different. Jisun, the daughter of a powerful business mogul, grew up on a mountainside estate with lush gardens and a dedicated chauffeur. Namin’s parents run a tented food cart from dawn to curfew; her sister works in a shoe factory. Now Jisun wants as little to do with her father’s world as possible, abandoning her schoolwork in favor of the underground activist movement, while Namin studies tirelessly in the service of one goal: to launch herself and her family out of poverty. But everything changes when Jisun and Namin meet an ambitious, charming student named Sunam, whose need to please his family has led him to a prestigious club: the Circle. Under the influence of his mentor, Juno, a manipulative social climber, Sunam becomes entangled with both women, as they all make choices that will change their lives forever. “Engrossing,” our reviewer writes in a starred review. “Wuertz is an important new voice in American fiction.” View video >

Upcoming Kirkus Interviews

March 28, 2017
Laini Taylor
April 4, 2017
Emma Donoghue