Richelle Mead ventures into the adult world of fiction again with her newest series, Age of X. Gameboard of the Gods is the first novel of the series and is set in a dystopian future and follows two main characters, Justin March and Mae Koskinen. March is an exiled government employee that specialized in studying religions, which are now not widely practiced but are heavily regulated by servitors. Koskinen is a praetorian, which means she is a highly skilled soldier with an implant that enhances her natural abilities, and she is assigned to help retrieve March from exile and subsequently protect him throughout his mission. After being exiled for unclear reasons, March is brought back to the RUNA, the country formed after the Decline, and given his job back with a very special assignment. Murders of patricians, a type of citizen, have been making headlines and appear to be ritualistic, which implicates the religious fanatics. March is considered to be an expert on all things religion, especially the seemingly paranormal aspects of religion. Gameboard of the Gods follows March and Koskinen as they attempt to solve the murders as well as earn March permanent citizenship to end his exile.
Anybody hat knows me knows that I have adored Richelle Mead’s young adult series’, Vampire Academy and Bloodlines. So I had pretty high expectations of her newest series. And luckily, I was not disappointed. Would I say it is at the level of her young adult stuff? No. But maybe I am biased. I did thoroughly enjoy this novel; however, it did not give me the “can’t put it down” feeling that I hoped to get. Gameboard of the Gods has a little something of just about everything in it- mythology, mystery, romance, paranormal, action, a dystopian world, issues with castes, religion, and likeable, flawed characters. So what is there not to like? It was almost a bit too much going on. It’s one of those novels that you cannot take a break from for more than a day or two or you will never remember all of the details that you need to know to understand what is going on. But I must say that I would always rather have too much going on versus having a book full of empty pages. I also appreciated the way that Mead always flushes out her characters so well. We learn a lot about not only her two main characters but also about the supporting characters, which leads me to think that in future books the supporting characters may play important parts to the storyline. And because Mead loves to make sure that things are never easy (Rose and Dimitri, anyone?), there is quite a few obstacles standing in the way of the love interests, which adds a nice bit of sexual tension to the story.
Overall, I definitely recommend reading this novel if you are interested in any of the things listed above. Mead has succeeded again at doing what she does best, creating a unique world for all of us to get lost in.
Have you read Gameboard of the Gods? How did you like it? Would you recommend it to a friend?