With the Crown’s Fate, Skye ends her duology in a satisfying manner while continuing her superlative writing. The characters are likeable and in many ways I was reminded of the Legend series by Marie Lu. The history and culture of 1825 Russia is very well researched and never strikes a false note. And, of course, there is plenty of action as our two “imperial enchanters’ must once again face off in a contest to the death.
Story: Vika knows something of Nikolai is still alive but he has been hiding from her in his shadow world. It is Aizhana, his tainted mother, who finds him and breaks him free of his dream world – but at a price. For Aizhana’s magic is poisoned by the source from which she kept herself alive in her grave. And in freeing Nikolai, she has unwittingly brought a darkness upon him that will have terrifying consequences for St. Petersburg.
The crux of the conflict here is that Nikolai has become dark – influenced by his mother’s tainted power and determined to kill Pasha and destroy Vika at the same time. Vika, meanwhile, is chafing under the influence of Pasha and Yuliana as they attempt to steady the power vacuum created at their father’s death.
I greatly appreciated that Yuliana isn’t evil herself – she is practical and a foil for her softer brother. Vika once again gets to be the strongest character in the book and the attraction of both Nikolai and Pasha for her is, for once, understandable. But I admittedly didn’t care for the plot device of turning Nikolai into a darker figure – it felt like filler and honestly an overused and weak way to create conflict. But that said, the rich 1825 world that Skye created here did make up for that frustration.
In all, this is a beautifully written, nuanced, and solid series well worth the read. ;Although must of this is based on actual events, Skye keeps the plot moving briskly and in a very satisfying manner.
Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.