Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead is actually the first Mead book that I’ve read and I’m definitely impressed. At first I thought it would be all sci-fi (which would have been awesome on its own), but then a lovely dose of Norse mythology was added and I was a happy little nerd. Gameboard of the Gods is a bit on the long side and definitely an adult book (sexy times!), but if you have a thirst for a complicated world and a deep, twisted plot, you’re in for a treat!
Note: I received Gameboard of the Gods through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I read an ARC and so things might be different in the final copy.
Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead (Age of X #1)
Published by Dutton Adult on June 4th, 2013
Genres: Adult, Sci-fi
Length: 464 pages pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley, Publisher
Book Depository - Goodreads
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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.
- The Norse mythology (ravens, certain gods we know that like ravens…, certain scary goddesses) mixed with a post-apocalyptic government was just too cool.
- We live a world today where religion is a major component of governments, so it’s an interesting thought experiment to have a government that basically completely outlaws religion and blames it for the downfall of civilization. Religions are allowed as long as they remain small and are not deemed dangerous by investigators. Gameboard of the Gods makes an interesting commentary on what fills the void when religion is forced out ;-).
- The characters of Gameboard of the Gods run the gamut from young schoolgirl to substance abusing genius to kick-butt super soldier (female :D). I loved the mix and the depth of them all!
- There is a steamy relationship right from the start of Gameboard of the Gods, however the tension and realism have lots of fuel when one of those involved realizes bad things would happen if he continued the relationship. I couldn’t decide whether to chortle at the unfortunate situations or pity the characters for the awkwardness, haha.
- Gameboard of the Gods pulls off the slow revelation of what is really going on very well. You learn in little bits the depth of the problems the characters have gotten into. While it can seem tedious if you are expecting fast-paced action non-stop, I found it intriguing.
- There were moments of me yelling “show, don’t tell” due to a bit of info dumping.
- I will freely admit that all 464 pages might not have been necessary and I hope some of the repetitive sentences are cut out in the final version.
- Due to the super-soldiers implants, their hormones and sex drive are kicked into overdrive easily. This led to some borderline moments between people that might be triggery or angering to some people.
I love YA novels, but it’s also fun to read a more adult sci-fi story. Gameboard of the Gods did an excellent job at creating a deep and intricate world that I can’t wait to keep exploring. Some of the material was a little risque, but all in good fun ;-). I especially loved the chance to think through what this sort of apocalypse could really lead to, though from the end of Gameboard of the Gods it sounds like everyone is in for a bit of a shock, haha.