Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Review: Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X #1) by Richelle Mead

Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X #1)
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.
Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Dutton Adult
Kat's Review
I am a fan of Richelle Mead's YA series, so I jumped at the chance to review the first book in her new adult series.  It's obvious from the first page that she is perfectly capable of adjusting her writing style for a different audience.  Gameboard of the Gods is definitely not marketed to a YA audience.  The writing is more complex, the storyline is grittier, and the world Mead paints is more complex and difficult to follow than that of her previous books. 
It took a bit to work out who everyone was, how the world of the book worked and what each character was capable of, but once I had everyone sorted out, I was able to just sit back and enjoy the story.  Mae was tough to figure out, but once her story unravelled, I was drawn to her.  The characters here are not all immediately likeable- they are conflicted and trying their best to adapt to circumstances that are beyond their control.  Without giving too much away, there's a subplot that runs through the novel that adds to the tension, because it could have serious consequences for both Mae and Justin. 
I enjoyed the mythology of it all, and the title, Gameboard of the Gods, actually gives a hint as to what the undercurrent is all about.  There's a lot of action, but also a lot of story to keep track of, so its not a book you can just skim through and not really focus on.  Find a quiet corner and focus on the details to really get the most out of this book.
Unfortunately, I think that there will be some disappointed fans out there who will pick up this book expecting a story similar to that in Vampire Academy or Bloodlines and won't find it.  I think it's great that this book is so different.  I don't want to read the same story from an author over and over again.  Seeing her versatility actually intrigues me more.  This book has a much different feel from Richelle Mead's previous books, so read the synopsis carefully and decide if it's for you.
It worked for me. 
Rating: A Good Read
This book requires a bit of patience at the beginning for the world building to start to make sense, but once all the pieces of the puzzle are in place, the story begins to take off.  I enjoyed this one, and I'm excited to read the next book in the series.
I received a complimentary copy of this title from Edelweiss & the publisher in return for an honest review.

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