Review: Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead

Book Reviews

5 Stars

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!


Book Info

Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead
Series: Age of X #1
Published by Dutton Adult
Pub Date: June 4th 2013
Pages: 448
Source: NetGalley
Genres: AdultDystopian
Buy the book! | Goodreads

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.

About Richelle Mead

Scorpio Richelle Mead is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy books for both adults and teens. Originally from Michigan, Richelle now lives in Seattle, Washington where she works on her three series full-time. Before becoming a writer, she considered a few different career paths. She received a liberal arts degree from the University of Michigan, an MA in Comparative Religion from Western Michigan University, and a Master in Teaching (Middle & High School English) degree from the University of Washington. In the end, she decided writing was the way for her but believes all of her education prepared her for it.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

17 Responses to “Review: Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead”

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    OH GOOD. Somehow yours is the first I’ve seen for this book and for some reason I was really, really afraid about it! I loved VA and enjoyed Bloodlines so I was worried how I might feel about Gameboard of the Gods. The fact that you LOVED it makes me feel so much better about it! Richelle Mead’s books are no small feat :) Awesome review! Getting more and more excited to read it! :)

    • Avatar

      Jess @ Gone with the Words

      I think people’s best bet is to go into this not expecting it to be like VA or Bloodlines (or any of her other adult books either) because that’s where I’ve seen people rate this book really low. Hopefully you’ll like it. :D Either way, let me know when you read it!

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        Ahhh that totally makes sense! I’m definitely not expecting it to be LIKE the series because thankfully the concept seems very different. Richelle Mead knows how to put some crazy plot twists in there so I’m hopeful for the book, but I think I’ll be able to separate it from VA :) Thanks!

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    I was waiting to see what you thought of this one; I just knew you’d end up reading it. Yay for liking another Richelle book! I saw it at WalMart yesterday and REALLY wanted to splurge on it, buuuut no money. Justin and Mae sound like terrific leads, and if I know my Richelle MC’s, I bet the tension between them is as fab as you said! GAH. Cannot wait to read it.

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

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    Andrea Modolo (@Book_lover1988)

    I wasn’t sure about this book when I first started it (I’ve never read a Richelle Mead book before), but by the end I was so intrigued by everything and really enjoyed the stories. Richelle Mead did such an amazing job fleshing out the characters and the world and I am so excited for more of this series. The one thing I’m really looking forward to is more of Tessa, I really want to see her character grow over the series.

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    Jen (Pop! Goes The Reader)

    I really can’t seem to get a handle on this book. Every review I read about it is entirely different from the last. Opinions seem to be polarizing in that people either seem to love or hate Gameboard of the Gods. This was a really helpful review in that it was a nice change to see a positive reception for a change, but I’ve heard such problematic things about the world-building and the characters that I think I’m still on the fence with this one.

    Thank you so much for the helpful review and I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed this book! :)

    • Avatar

      Jess @ Gone with the Words

      Trust me, Jen, I’ve seen so many mixed reviews on this book too. I guess it’s just going to be one of those books where you have to take a chance and hope it turns out well. I’m glad I was able to offer a positive opinion for you though!! :)

      • Avatar

        Jen (Pop! Goes The Reader)

        Believe it or not, I’ve never actually read a book by Richelle Mead before. I wonder if perhaps I might be more receptive to Gameboard of the Gods and have a more positive experience reading it because of that. As you mentioned, I find that many of the negative reviews I’ve read are from those who were ardent fans of Mead’s ‘Vampire Academy’ series and were disappointed that this novel didn’t follow in the same vein. I have no pre-conceived notions, which leads me to believe I very well might enjoy this novel more than most.

        I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for it the next time I’m at my local library :)

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    This book actually served as my introduction to Richelle Mead and it left me eager to check out her VA series as well as dying for the next installment of this one!

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    Oh I’m so glad to see this one worked out awesomely for you! I’ve honestly not read any of Richelle Mead’s work before, this is the first that’s really caught my attention. I’m still not sure I’ll be running out to pick it up, as I’m pretty tentative with new authors, but I’ll certainly be checking this one out at some point from the library.

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    April Books & Wine

    I am so glad that you loved Gameboard! For me, it was not among my favorites, but I’ll acknowledge that there were some things I enjoyed. And like you said, it’s a steady read, however I read it at a time where I wanted breakneck speed instead.

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    After reading some not-so-great reviews, I almost turned my back on this one. I’m so glad I didn’t! You hit the nail on the head with why I loved it – complicated characters that bring out all the feels. The tension between Justin and Mae was delicious, and I enjoyed the mystery. Such fun!

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