Release Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Dutton Adult
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.
“We’re pieces on a gam board, Dr. March, and some of us are more powerful than others.”
What a very interesting and exciting start to this new series. Having only read Mead’s Vampire Academy, I was very curious to see what other genres she would explore. While keeping with the paranormal/supernatural feel, Gameboard of the Gods explores a different side of the paranormal, one that deals with religion and the lore of old Gods and Goddesses that have been lost through time.
The world is very different from the world we live in. After falling from the Decline, the government has divided the country into sectioned lands where the citizens all have ID trackers under their skin and religion or belief in God is frowned upon and most often banned. It is in this world that people are being murdered by what looks like a supernatural being.
Justin March is living in exile but is called back to his duty as a servitor – one who regulates religious groups- when these murders escalate.
“He’s brilliant,” Francis insisted.
“Yes.” Her words came grudgingly, and she held up a hand to enumerate points on her fingers. “Also arrogant, impertinent, and manipulative.”
Pretty much true. Justin is a womanizer, who drinks obsessively. Oh, and he also has two ravens living in his head. Yup, you read that right. Horatio and Magnus. But he’s brilliant. He knows his job inside and out which is why they want him back so badly.
Mae Koskinen is a practorian. Basically a super solider for the government thanks to an implant that gives her super speed, fighting skills, healing skills and the need for no sleep. Following a scuffle at a funeral, Mae is placed on probation and sent to be a bodyguard type for Justin. Thanks to some one night stand loving with a little bit of mis-identity thrown in, Mae and Justin don’t really get along.
I will be honest, this book started off really slow for me and I didn’t know if I was going to like it. There’s quite a bit of set up of the new world but really no explanation as to how we got here. What happened in the Decline? How did the Decline come about? Why is all religion banned? Around the halfway point, the book finally hit its stride. My above questions weren’t answered, but the mystery surrounding the murders and the gods kept me reading on.
Having only read the Vampire Academy series, I was expecting a romance to be at the main helm of the plot, but it wasn’t. It was there, of course, but it was second to what was going on. And there’s actually quite of bit of mystery surrounding the love story and why there necessarily can’t be one. I don’t really want to spoil anything for the readers, but Mead did a great job with bringing the story full circle with the facts surrounding Justin’s mysterious God.
“The truth is, when you banish the gods from the world, they eventually come back – with a vengeance. Humans can’t stay away from gods, and gods can’t stay away from humans. It’s the natural order of things.”
A good start to what will surely be an interesting series. I look forward to seeing where this will go.
I received a copy of this e-book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.