Gameboard of the GodsSeries: Age of X, Book 1
Author: Richelle Mead
Genre: Adult Dystopian, Sci-Fi, Mythology
Expected publication: June 4th 2013 by Dutton Adult
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Pre-order: Amazon | Book Depository | B&N
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.
'Amazing' isn't even strong enough to describe this book. But yes, it's amazing! Richelle Mead did not disappoint in this masterpiece.
I really enjoyed reading Gameboard of the Gods. It has everything I love in a book - action, mystery, a little bit of romance, mythology, suspense, paranormal. But it's not too overwhelming. The different themes complemented each other and created a well-balanced story. The world-building is concrete, the character backgrounds well-thought of, and the setting is realistic for a dystopian society. The pacing of the story is steady and the build-up of suspense is great. I found it hard to put it down because I was always curious what happens next. That's how interesting this book is.
The dystopian country in which Gameboard of the Gods is set is created as real as you can get. RUNA or Republic of United North America is the kind of society you can easily picture. I admire the amount of effort, creativity and research the author has put into creating this awesome setting. It's convincing, intriguing and will make you want to know more about this country.
I love the characters. They have very different personalities and are unique but all are equally interesting. Justin and Mae complement each other very well. I like the chemistry between them, the friction and sexual tension that's always so palpable even when Mae's so close to wanting to kill Justin. Ha-ha! I enjoy their bantering, their arguments and the way they work together despite the fact that they don't agree with each other most of the time. Justin does the thinking and Mae does the fighting. Good combination.
As much as I adore the duo, I also love them individually. Justin is a freaking genius. His deduction and analytical skills are really awesome. I guess the fact that he's a womanizer and a substance abuser adds to his colorful personality, though I'm a bit partial to that. And underneath his cocky demeanor is a scarred and lonely person who really cares for his family. Mae, on the other hand, is a wonderful combination of an heiress and an elite soldier. She's one hell of a kick-ass babe and if there's one thing you have to know about me is that I love strong female characters. Mae handles herself very well and doesn't depend on anyone.
The other main character, Tessa, doesn't attract me so much. She's smart and sees things others fail to see. She offers a new perspective to everything that even Justin recognizes and admits essential. But I think Tessa could have been a better character. For now, I only see her as a younger and innocent version of Justin.
Geraki, Leo, Callista and Dominic are also intriguing characters. They'll keep you guessing about their connection to the mystery. Geraki's like a different kind of mentor to Justin, though the latter doesn't want anything to do with the former. I find Callista's character mysterious and up until the end, I'm not sure if I trust her. Leo and Dominic are an odd couple. A tech-genius and a winemaker. (Of course, there will be always be a tech-genius.) Leo's like Tessa to me, didn't make much impression. But Dominic surprised me. That twist on his identity was totally unexpected. It was brilliant.
The twists and turns of the story are also surprising. There were revelations and connections I wasn't expecting. The author did not throw the surprises in one blow but carefully laid them out to build the suspense. It's a well-crafted plot with a mixture of different genres and an abundance of creativity.
The story is a fast-paced one. I was actually surprised that there's already an action scene in the first chapter. I think it's a good move to hook the readers early on. It was effective as I myself was glued to reading Gameboard of the Gods. It was really great and I can't wait for the next book. There were a lot of unanswered questions and unexplained details but that's what the sequel is for, right? Richelle Mead did a great job of creating a strong first book that you'll surely want to read the next books in the series. A very engaging read that will keep your pulse racing with excitement. Highly recommended!