Tag Archives: suspense

Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead

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Released June 4, 2013
Published by Dutton Adult (Penguin)
Obtained for Review from NetGalley

For the record I don’t read a lot of science fiction/fantasy. AT ALL. I also hadn’t heard much about Gameboard of the Gods other than “it’s the first book of Richelle Mead’s new sci fi, adult series that sounds really interesting.” Having read and loved her other adult series, Georgina Kincaid and Dark Swan, I was sold on that alone. I decided to take a chance and make the best of the sci fi/fantasy part. I’m so glad I did.

If you’re hoping for a recap, this review isn’t what you’re looking for. (You can click the cover art to head to Goodreads for a summary.)  I would hate to spoil any part of this story because it’s one every reader needs to truly experience for his/herself. Seriously, it’s that good. It’s much more than a sci fi/fantasy thriller. It’s a different kind of story, almost a futuristic dystopian, filled with sex, lies, religion, mythology & politics. It will make you think and guess and guess again. I absolutely love a book that doesn’t merely entertain but requires you to pay attention. Nothing in it seems contrived or conventional which is really refreshing. My first reaction when I finished was to go back and read it again, if only to pick up on any subtle hints or pieces of information I probably missed along the way.

I’m always impressed with Mead’s ability to weave complex story lines while creating incredible depth in her characters. She strategically places hints at critical plot points which had me highlighting and constantly going back to connect the dots. Her characters’ intricacies are divulged slowly over time. Mae Koskinen at first seems like a fiercely loyal warrior willing to do whatever it takes for her country. I couldn’t even imagine the personal secrets and struggles she keeps beneath that cool praetorian exterior. Justin March appears to be your classic womanizing, conceited guy, but all the confidence in the world can’t save an exiled servitor from what troubles him. Even Tessa, who I expected to be merely a supporting character, plays an important role. It’s really satisfying to watch characters evolve throughout the story.

Gameboard will draw you in from the very beginning: first with tragedy, then mystery and scandal. Richelle Mead doesn’t spend a lot of time with boring set up; you’re thrust right into the aftermath of Mae’s personal tragedy. The world Mead builds in the RUNA (Republic of United North America) is intriguing with its advancements, controls and practices. The culture isn’t so far removed from our own that you can’t relate to the devices and implements. That seems to be part of sci fi/fantasy I typically struggle with – much of it seems convenient and unbelievable. The religious and mythological basis of this story lends itself to a little bit of magic and supernatural, but they’re presented in such a way that’s not farfetched.

The Age of X is definitely a series I’ll continue. There’s so much potential and characters I truly enjoyed –  can’t wait to see what’s to come. The next installment won’t be here nearly soon enough.

RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS! 

 

Breathe by Sloan Parker

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Released November 2010
Published by Loose Id
Purchased Copy

Have you ever read a book that just wouldn’t let you go when you were done? Just lingered on & on, the characters haunting your thoughts? That’s the kind of book Breathe was for me. It doesn’t matter which character you considered, including Jay’s wife who isn’t really in the story yet is everywhere throughout it, they all appeal to you to pay attention and remember them. Hello, book hangover.

Breathe is a story of forgiveness. I’m not talking the simple variety, but the life-altering, complex kind. How do you forgive someone who took away the one person that was your entire world? The accident that took Katie Miller’s life forever changed the lives of the Millers, Shaws and McCaws. Each person is struggling to come to terms with his/her emotions a year later – how to honor Katie’s memory, how to move on and whether or not they can forgive the person responsible. Honestly this story made me think a lot about my own ability to forgive. It’s hard to know how you’ll react until you’re faced with a situation, but I’d like to think I could find a way. Maybe.

Lincoln McCaw has just finished serving six months in jail for causing Katie’s death. In the aftermath of the accident he pushed away his ex-partner, Paul, so now he’s returning home to his sister Nancy and her kids while trying to get back on his feet. On top of being ostracized in their small town, he’s receiving threats from someone devastated by Katie’s loss. There’re so many potential suspects: the Shaws and Millers are angry he’s being released, thinking he hasn’t suffered enough for what he’s caused. Jay Miller, Katie’s widower, is numb. His plans for a happy-ever-after died with his wife. He dropped out of college, took a job he doesn’t love and basically gave up. I can only imagine how tough it must be in his world – feeling lost and alone with surrounded by loved ones constantly reminding you what you’ve lost. Not to mention how you should feel about it.

At the heart of the story is the seemingly impossible, unlikely relationship between Jay & Lincoln. Neither knows who the other is until after their first encounter, and by then there’s an inexplicable bond. For a reader, pairings like this often seem far-fetched, but not here. Parker builds their relationship slowly and it works. They fight to accept each other and what truly lies between them.  Each is exactly what the other needs, even if they deny that they can have anything lasting.

The depth of emotion in this story was phenomenal. I felt every ache and suffered right along with them. Each character is coping differently, and some are pretty much obsessed with their sorrow.  I wanted to dislike them for they way they were acting, but I simply couldn’t. Their feelings were justified, even if their actions were slightly irrational. So much guilt in this book manifested in so many ways – who knew one emotion could wear so many different disguises? I’m in awe of how Sloan Parker managed such a delicate balance of complex character development and intricate plot weaving. This story works so many angles yet I never felt overwhelmed or lost, and nothing is left unresolved. I just can’t say enough about how truly amazing it is.

To celebrate the release of a brand new epilogue to this story, Loose Id is offering Breathe for just $5.99! (Click here to get your own copy.) The epilogue, What You Do To Me, is free until April 28th. After that it goes back to it’s regular price, $.99. These guys have fought so hard to get to where they are, and What You Do To Me is a perfect conclusion for them. Thanks so much to Sloan Parker for giving us just a little more time with Jay & Linc! They definitely have a spot in my top 10 all-time favorite m/m couples. :)

RATING: STILETTOS!!