Aside from the fact that this book was an insta-buy for me, I mean, it is Richelle Mead after all, I did not have any expectations going in. I knew Gameboard of the Gods would be different than both her adult and young adult books just from the synopsis, and I was totally game for that. One thing I did find similar to her other works were the characters. Richelle Mead has this way of writing them where they are not your typical cookie-cutter personalities. They are flawed and complicated and always find a way to my heart. Even the secondary characters, being so well fleshed out, leave lasting impressions on me.
Justin March is soooo not your typical hero. If we hadn’t been able to know what was going through his head half the time, I’m pretty positive I would’ve disliked him. He is self-serving, he drinks, he smokes, he loves his drugs…but he’s a genius! And he’s charming and really good looking and so very interesting and complicated, which is why I was all about him. Mae isn’t your perfect heroine either. She’s kick-ass! But she has her own set of issues. She has a real problem with control. Also, she comes off really frigid, but really she has a really big heart.
As for the romance in this book, it’s not the typical guy and gal fall in love scenario. There are romantic aspects, there’s DEFINITELY steamy moments, lots of sexual tension, and some sex. But sex between Justin and Mae? Not after their first encounter! They have reasons though! Especially Justin. These reasons made for all that sexual tension and also made a great setup for future books.
The world-building in Gameboard of the Gods felt like a bigger undertaking that Richelle Mead’s other books. Everything in the RUNA sounded really interesting because a lot of things are futuristic, but I loved that not too much was changed. It was really interesting to see a world where religion and worshiping Gods is kept on a leash. That is where the supernatural aspects come in. These Gods NEED people to worship them to exist, so they find just the right people to “appear” to and they start movements for them. Justin’s job is actually to make sure these groups are following the rules and don’t get too big or too crazy. The RUNA doesn’t want a religious uprise of course! There’s definitely a lot to this world Richelle Mead has created, and it’s not really fast-paced. I found it a steady and absorbing read.
Gameboard of the Gods is definitely a great beginning to what I’m sure is to be an epic series. Richelle Mead knows her stuff, y’all!
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 Xseries, will have all the elements that have made her YA Vampire Academyand Bloodlines series such megasuccesses: sexy, irresistible characters; romantic and mythological intrigue; and relentless action and suspense.