In a futuristic world nearly destroyed by religious extremists, Justin March lives in exile after failing in his job as an investigator of religious groups and supernatural claims. But Justin is given a second chance when Mae Koskinen comes to bring him back to the Republic of United North America (RUNA). Raised in an aristocratic caste, Mae is now a member of the military’s most elite and terrifying tier, a soldier with enhanced reflexes and skills.
When Justin and Mae are assigned to work together to solve a string of ritualistic murders, they soon realize that their discoveries have exposed them to terrible danger. As their investigation races forward, unknown enemies and powers greater than they can imagine are gathering in the shadows, ready to reclaim the world in which humans are merely game pieces on their board.
Gameboard of the Gods, the first installment of Richelle Mead’s Age of X series, will have all the elements that have made her YA Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series such megasuccesses: sexy, irresistible characters; romantic and mythological intrigue; and relentless action and suspense.
I absolutely love Richelle Mead. The Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series are two of my all time favorite book series. But I’ve always been resistant when it comes to reading novels that are classified as Adult, so I’ve held out on reading any of her other series. When Gameboard of the Gods came out last summer I thought it looked like something that I might enjoy, and I was right. I enjoyed reading this novel very much.
Compared to other novels I’ve read of Mead’s, the writing in Gameboard of the Gods was definitely much better than anything I’ve ever seen from her before. The one thing I’ve always noticed in her YA series is that the writing seems to be somewhat juvenile. They are great books, but they aren’t challenging books to read. This novel wasn’t the most challenging book I’ve ever read but it was the best writing I’ve seen yet from Mead.
The story was far more captivating than I thought it was going to be. Justin’s job as an investigator of religious extremists did not sound like something that would be interesting to me, but once I really got into the story I was hooked. It’s a mystery with futuristic science fiction/fantasy weaved all throughout its plot. Justin is a charismatic character and I thought it was great to be able to see both the facade that he put on for others and what was actually going through his mind as he did some of the awful things he did. Some of my favorite parts were his interactions with Tessa, a 16 year old whom he brings back with him to RUNA. His relationship with Tessa shows a more caring side to his personality.
Mae was definitely an interesting part of the story. As a Praetorian (basically a badass military killing machine), Mae is Justin March’s bodyguard throughout the story. But she is so much more. I really liked how in the beginning we see her trying to box up her emotions but throughout the story we see bits and pieces that escape. The romance between Mae and Justin was definitely interesting and something that I look forward to seeing more of throughout the rest of the series.
The world building was probably my favorite part of this story. It is so complex and extensive that at first I had a pretty difficult time following it. I don’t read a lot of high fantasy like Gameboard of the Gods but after reading this I think I might want to start trying out some more. It’s very different from all of the Young Adult books that I’ve read but I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. I would definitely recommend this novel for anyone looking to venture out into the world of Adult Fantasy fiction, especially those who’ve enjoyed Richelle Mead’s novels before.
Gameboard of the Gods is now available!
• Publisher: Dutton Adult (June 4, 2013)
• Length: 448, Hardcover
• Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Romance
• Series: Age of X #1