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!