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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

[ARC REVIEW] The Immortal Crown by Richelle Mead

The Immortal Crown

Author: Richelle Mead
Genre: Adult Dystopian, Sci-fi, Mythology
Series: Book 2, Age of X series
Expected publication: May 29th 2014 by Dutton Adult
ARC Source: Publisher through Netgalley
Pre-order from: Amazon | The Book Depository

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Vampire Academy and Bloodline series returns with the second installment in her acclaimed Age of X series.

Gameboard of the Gods introduced religious investigator Justin March and Mae Koskinen, the beautiful supersoldier assigned to protect him. Together they have been charged with investigating reports of the supernatural and the return of the gods, both inside the Republic of United North America and out. With this highly classified knowledge comes a shocking revelation: Not only are the gods vying for human control, but the elect—special humans marked by the divine—are turning against one another in bloody fashion.

Their mission takes a new twist when they are assigned to a diplomatic delegation headed by Lucian Darling, Justin’s old friend and rival, going into Arcadia, the RUNA’s dangerous neighboring country. Here, in a society where women are commodities and religion is intertwined with government, Justin discovers powerful forces at work, even as he struggles to come to terms with his own reluctantly acquired deity.

Meanwhile, Mae—grudgingly posing as Justin’s concubine—has a secret mission of her own: finding the illegitimate niece her family smuggled away years ago. But with Justin and Mae resisting the resurgence of the gods in Arcadia, a reporter’s connection with someone close to Justin back home threatens to expose their mission—and with it the divine forces the government is determined to keep secret.

I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Immortal Crown exceeded my expectations. If Gameboard of the Gods was amazing, this sequel is even more so. Richelle Mead took sci-fi and mythology to a new level. Action-packed, daring, mysterious and shocking, The Immortal Crown is definitely an excellent read.

For one, there's a lot of character development here. The main characters Justin and Mae both showed sides of them that weren't explored in the first book. Justin, though hesitant, was showing the makings of a priest. He's beginning to accept the role given to him by Odin. And it was astounding what he and the ravens could do. Mae, on the other hand, was softening. She was beginning to acknowledge her feelings for Justin and was willing to open herself up to him. For me, that was a nice change in their relationship although a lot was still keeping them from getting together. Even Tessa (who I mentioned in my review of the first book, Gameboard of the Gods, that I didn't like much) improved so much in this book. She showed wit and intelligence and used them to pursue her goal.

What I liked most about Justin's and Mae's relationship, aside from the bantering, was that Justin always looked out for Mae even when she didn't need it. But especially when she did. It displayed great trust and concern between the two main characters despite their huge differences.

Most of the events in The Immortal Crown was set in the neighboring country Arcadia, which was very different from RUNA in so many ways. And because of those differences, the setting became an effective tool in emphasizing RUNA's beliefs (or lack thereof) and culture. It also gave the characters new environment and new obstacles to overcome.

The writing was superb as usual. Richelle Mead definitely outdid herself here. I liked the pace, though there were a few dull moments for me. The mythology aspect kept getting better and better as new gods and goddesses were introduced. And the best part of it was that the gods did not come from one specific mythology only. There were Norse, Greek and Egyptian gods. The diversity made the story all the more exciting.

And there's no shortage of surprises and twists in this book. The Immortal Crown will shock you up until the very end. The ending left me wanting for more. It was not a cliffhanger, mind you. There's a major revelation at the end that will undoubtedly spice things up tenfold in the next book. And the appearance of a certain god made me squeal with excitement! I NEED THE THIRD BOOK NOW!

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Julie @ Books and Insomnia

Julie is a Filipina blogger who pretends she has insomnia so she can stay up late reading. When she's not buried in books, she can be found watching anime, drinking chocolate-flavored instant coffee, lurking on the internet, daydreaming and talking about herself in third person. She loves purple and anything sweet!

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