Saturday, May 11, 2013

Book Review: Gameboard of the Gods

Disclaimer: This is a review for an adult novel and might not be suitable for readers under 17.

Release Date: June 4, 2013
Author: Richelle Mead
Publisher: Dutton Adult
Length: 464 pages

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.


Protagonists: Justin is an ex-government employee and admitted con artist who has been exiled from his home country and when they come crawling back asking for his help in a confusing case of what appear to be ritualistic murders by religious fanatics, he jumps at the chance to obtain citizenship again. Mae is one of the governments most elite soldiers but due to a recent tragedy is lost in a world of grief and after a provoked attack in a public and official ceremony she is charged with protecting Justin while he investigates these murders. As they get to know one another their secrets come out leading to some serious character development for both of them. I loved seeing these characters develop as more and more revelations are thrown their way and they need to adapt and learn to trust each other to get through their mission alive.

Romance: There is a lot of romantic tension between Justin and Mae, as they connected almost instantly making me think that this book was going to produce an Insta-love romance, which I tend to dislike. However, thing quickly seem to get in their way as they take turns pushing each other away. I came to enjoy their dynamic because while they had their more serious moments, as well as some more intimate ones, it became comical sometimes which was always a welcome relief from the more serious and dramatic moments in this book.

World-Building: I knew that this book would contain mythology in some capacity, but I didn't realize until reading this book that it wasn't only one mythology the author chose to focus on but all of them. While the book contained some seemingly new gods, underneath was a history of mythology making this book a mecca of popular mythology. At first it's easy to discern Norse mythology, but soon others such as Greek and Celtic mythologies are thrown in to the mix as well. The government that both Justin and Mae serve, the RUNA, has declared organized religion illegal without a licence and proof of the religions benign nature. Set in this futuristic and nearly dystopian society, the paranormal still find their way to the surface to wreak havoc.

Predictability: While a large percentage of the book was full of twists and surprised that caught me off-guard it was usually the more interpersonal aspects that astonished me. While I like to think of myself as a mythology expert, the truth is the only one I know a larger majority of is Greek, but even with my remedial knowledge of the Norse and Celtic mythologies I was still able to discern certain twists of the story. They were still fun to discover as it made me feel as though I'm a bit smarter than I had originally thought. All in all, however I was utterly taken aback at some of the more surprising details and wondering how I had missed certain clues to the truth.

Ending: Unlike a lot of other book I've read where the final confrontation is nearly the end itself, this one takes some time after it to give an epilogue of sorts, that helps explain a few things and even offers more twists that I hadn't expected. The very end is a nearly agonizing cliffhanger as it leaves off at a very interesting and new development for one of the main characters that will leave you speechless.


This is most definitely one of the best books I've read all year, it was hard to put down and when I did I was itching to get back into this magnificent world. If you're familiar with this authors other works, particularly her YA series Vampire Academy and Bloodlines, it's easy to find parallels that make the book all the more exciting to read. There's no denying that this will be another home run series for this author.



  1. I can't wait to get my hands on this. It sounds so different from her previous series!

  2. I am so excited about this one! I got a chapter sampler of Gameboard of the Gods so I can't wait to read it! Glad you enjoyed it! Great review! :)

  3. Oh, I can't wait to read this. I got an ARC but never got around to it! Grrr...have heard good things. Glad you liked it. I have not read anything by her but have heard VA is good, too!