Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Wow, All I can say is I loved this book. I have so many comments to make but they are all huge spoilers. So you have been warned.
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 Xseries, will have all the elements that have made her YA Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series such megasuccesses: sexy, irresistible characters; romantic and mythological intrigue; and relentless action and suspense.
My Take:First off the characters were interesting and dynamic. There were definite times that I wanted to just smack Justin off the back of the head, which proves how real each character felt. I also enjoyed the slow build for each character. We learned subtly more about each one in such a way that it was like getting to know a new friend.
The world that they live in play a huge role in the novel. Its a nation that has given up huge chunks of freedoms to be safe and healthy. They have essentially traded their worship of "Gods" as a higher power to one of the Runa being the higher power. This future world really makes the reader step back an think. Would you give up religious freedom and reproductive choices if you knew it was the only way to have a healthy human race. Would you rather have someone tell you how many children you can have but in tern know those children will grow up safe with a quality education in a society where every school teaches the exact same curriculum? Where secondary school is free? What about a society where technology has soared? Is it worth a little freedom of choice then? Richelle Mead has done a fantastic job with a fantasy novel that touches upon some of the political extremes we see debated every day. A few of the religious ones as well. This novel has sparked some interesting conversations in my house, another mark of a well written book.
I also found a few twists and turns at the end to be just what the story needed. Although I hope Justin smartens up in the next book!