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I Belong


Review: Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead

Title: Gameboard of the Gods

Author: Richelle Mead

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Series: Age of X (Book 1)

Publication Date: June 4, 2013

Format: Hardcover, 448 Pages

ISBN-10: 052595368X (Dutton/Penguin)

ISBN-13: 978-0525953685 (Dutton/Penguin)

Reviewed by: Shirene

Synopsis:

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 mega successes: sexy, irresistible characters; romantic and mythological intrigue; and relentless action and suspense.

Quick & Dirty:This is a perfect example of don’t judge a book until you have read it!

Opening Sentence: Mae dealt out death regularly.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

This book came out of left field for me, and by that I mean I put this book off as long as I possibly could because the synopsis really turned me off. I try very hard not to judge a book by its cover and in this case a synopsis but it had a major sway on me. Until I started the first chapter and then Ms. Mead had me pondering ideas, questions, principals and tenants in a whole new light.

The world that the reader is thrown into is one of mystery, myth, magic and a dash of manipulation and it was outstanding. The thought and scope of this world still amazes me even an hour after completing the book. There are numerous concepts that would suit this novel for a book club due to the discussions that would be bound to ensue from each reader.

The main characters Mae Koskinen and Justin March are both unique takes on protagonists. Mae is a highly skilled soldier with the addition of a chip to enhance her fighting abilities. Justin, on the other hand, is a gambler of fates and solver of problems. The two together are pure delight. The interplay between these characters when they are snipping at each other or just driving the other crazy will definitely make you come back for the next round. Their individual stories are well thought out and show great foresight and planning from our master of this world, Ms. Mead.

Even the secondary characters have charm and charisma. I refuse to spoil some of the secondary characters for you but Horatio and Magnus are some of the most enigmatic characters you will meet and for that I adore them. Their continued “help” made me wonder when we would get more of their “sage wisdom”. They had me on tenterhooks and I loved it.

Now back to my earlier fear about this book from the synopsis, religion plays a major role in this book and I was unsure where that would lead us. However, my fears were completely unfounded and in fact the introduction of religion is a tight rope to not just the story, but to Mae and Justin’s story together and individually is well crafted and extremely well executed. Congratulations for such a tight thread, Ms. Mead.

Now finally some of you maybe wondering if you can just jump into this world, the answer is absolutely. This is my first Richelle Mead novel but it shan’t be my last. I look forward the continuation of Justin and Mae’s story in the as yet untitled Age of X book 2. This is another book that I could see being picked up by TV. It would make an amazing series. Here is to hoping someone has the foresight to option it.

Notable Scene:

She couldn’t hide her surprise. It was hard enough for Genmans to identify her caste from all the other blond ones, and the EA had no comparable frame of reference. “Yes. How’d you know?”

He seemed very pleased with himself. “I know a Valkyrie when I see one.” He finally released her hand and gestured around. “What I don’t know is how a beautiful one came to save me. Are you military? Or just an avid self-defense fan?”

“Both.” She chose not to mention she was a praetorian. It unnerved people, even Genmans and Easterners, and she didn’t want to undo the mood that had settled around them. Simply admitting to being a castal woman in the military was already odd enough, and she tried to brush it over with the first moderately plausible story she could think of that would diminish her role. “I’m just here for a little while as research support to our military attaché.”

Age of X Series:

1. Gameboard of the Gods

FTC Advisory: Dutton Adult/Penguin provided me with a copy of Gameboard of the Gods. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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