Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead
Series: Age of X #1
Read: February 11-26, 2016
Format: Ebook (library)
My Book Rating: 5 Stars
Genre: Sci-Fi / Fantasy Romance
‘The truth is, when you banish 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.’
First of all, the only two reasons it took me so long (15 days) to read this book is because:
1. It’s a beast! 462 pages long!
2. I’m trying this thing where I don’t stare at a screen right before bed, so I read an ACTUAL book before bed instead of ebooks. (I broke that rule the last two days because I could not put this book down!)
Alright, now that that’s out of the way, I’m going to write this review in a slightly different manner, addressing the 5 W’s first, because this is a really complex book. It wasn’t hard to follow, but it was very heavy with (necessary) information. In true Richelle Mead fashion however, that information was woven beautifully into the story and I didn’t feel like there was any info dumping.
The Age of X series takes place sometime in the future, in the “post decline”. Society is much different from our current ones, and technology is even more predominant and advanced than now.
RUNA (Republic of the United North America) – from what I gather this is most of the present USA plus Canada and some other areas of the world. Vancouver seems to be the new capital and it’s the home base of operations for our characters. RUNA also contains land grants (from what I gather, similar to Native America Reservations, but not really…) which allowed rich people who helped fund the forming of RUNA to be exempt from certain laws while on their land. There’s also the EA (Eastern Alliance) which isn’t visited, but referenced. Lastly there’s the Provinces, which is everyone else. They’re basically considered barbaric third world countries in the eyes of Gemman’s (that’s the people of RUNA – the name is explained in the book, I won’t get into it now.)
Dr. Justin March is a servitor, which basically means he is tasked with visiting various religious organizations in RUNA and licensing them. When we first meet Justin, he’s in exile from RUNA, biding his time in the provincial country of Panama. Justin is a broken man, he’s an addict – booze, drugs, gambling, and women. He also has two raven’s (Horatio and Magnus) who live in his head and speak to him, nobody else can see them, but he knows they’re there.
Mae Koskinen is a Praetorian. Basically, she’s a kickass super soldier for RUNA. She has a chip implanted in her which makes her virtually unstoppable. She’s also a complete and total knockout.
Tessa is a sixteen year old girl from Panama whom Justin brings back to RUNA with him in order to give her a better life. He sees a lot of potential in her, she’s very smart.
Okay, so “the decline” mentioned above. Basically, some disease began running rampant. It affected lots of people and they found the only way to virtually destroy it was to mix races. Ergo, Mae being a blonde haired, blue eyed bombshell is a rarity because dark hair and eyes are dominate among the people of RUNA now. After the decline, the leaders of RUNA also decided that religion was too dangerous. That’s where Justin comes in, as a servitor he ensures that no religion gets too big or powerful, lest they cause an uprising. It can be a dangerous line of work.
In this book, Mae is tasked with keeping Justin safe. He’s allowed to come back to RUNA under the condition that he can stop a murder from happening. Castals (those that live on the land grants who are exempt from the mixing of races rule) are being murdered in a ritualistic fashion, but nobody can figure out who is doing it or how they’re getting in. All they have is video footage from a hidden camera showing a cloud of black smoke coming into a room and murdering a woman with a silver blade.
So, that’s the gist of the world and the storyline. The relationship between Mae and Justin is pretty complicated, so I won’t get into that, but know there’s a lot of sexual tension between the two and for good reason. I spent the whole book wanting them to get together, but knowing how bad it could be if they did.
Justin and his raven’s are probably my favorite part about the story, the conversations he has with them are hilarious. I’m not sure why, but in my head Magnus has an English accent and Horatio has a Mexican accent. *Shrugs*
When this book first came out a couple years ago I had read the Vampire Academy series and was working my way through the couple of Bloodlines books that were out. I liked VA, and quickly fell in love with Bloodlines, but I wasn’t sure I would like this book. I have read one of Richelle Mead’s adult books, Succubus Blues, a few years ago and I didn’t care much for it at the time, so I didn’t think I’d like this one either. Boy was I wrong. I loved this book. Richelle Mead is like a fine wine, with time, she just gets better and better. Each new book of hers is more intricately weaved than the last. What I initially didn’t like about that Succubus Blues was the simplicity of it. (Though as I’ve read more of the series, I realize the first book really just sets it up, the real story arc seems to start in later books, though I’m only on book 3…) Anyway, back to this book….
I was wrong. This book is amazing and fantastic. If you’re looking for paranormal, you won’t find it. But if you’re looking for mythology, you will find that. At first you won’t even realize it’s there, but it is. If you’re afraid that this book is anti-religion, it’s not. The government in the book is anti-religion, but that doesn’t mean the storyline is preaching that.
Gameboard of the Gods is an absolute must read in my book, though a word of warning to the younger readers, it does include some adult content and the storyline is very complex, so I wouldn’t recommend it for most readers under 16. You won’t find Vampire Academy here, you’ll find something much more complex.
And for fun, here’s my comments from my Goodreads status updates as I read the book: