Review : Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead (UF/PNR)

Book Blurb

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 megasuccesses: sexy, irresistible characters; romantic and mythological intrigue; and relentless action and suspense.

Toot's Review

Let me preface this review with the fact that I adore Richelle Mead's YA series. I wasn't thrilled with some of her others adult series but I think she does a good job with YA. I was excited and a bit leery about her new adult series Age of X, book 1 Gameboard of the Gods. I guess my hesitation was not unfounded but I digress and will start with a bit of a synopsis.

Gameboard of the Gods is Richelle Mead's first book in her new series Age of X. It's basically an UF based in the near future, maybe even a bit of dystopian. The premise is that the world has been taken over by religion. It rules the entire societies around the world and the main characters jobs are to police all the blooming religious sects. In the mix is also a handful of real gods and goddesses that are trying to break through and rule the world. Part of the policing is debunking the zealots and being skeptical of everything but when the heroes are confronted with the reality of there being real supernatural forces, it throws all they believe out of whack. Now mix in the fact that the heroine is a super soldier whom has an implant that speeds up her reflexes and adrenaline to make her almost superhuman, oh and there's a deity trying to control her. The hero is an exiled super government agent, who's past times are drinking, drugs and women. All heck is going to break loose when these two collide.

Whew! So are you following all this? Yeah me either! This book is full of world building that will have your head spinning. Mix in some mythology and paranormal, it's a whole heck of a lot going on. It's also a big book, 464 pages. So with all that story going on, where do I begin. Well for me, how I sort through all that to review it for you, I start with the characters. I can deal with story and world building if the characters are good but alas, that was not the case here. The story revolves around the fact that the main characters, Justin March and Mae Koskinen, are destined to be together. With that being said, you would think that if this story is supposed to be the building block for this epic romance, it would build a solid foundation but unfortunately I didn't feel any chemistry between them. Justin is a total man-whore and Mae has tons of issues as well as being fast and loose also. Granted I've seen worst starts to a fabulous romance but even when they have sex (it definitely was not making love) for the first time, there was no passion or heat. Parts of the story harken back to their first coupling as being a fabulous memory but unfortunately Richelle didn't write the scene that way. It's almost like she's uncomfortable writing a great sex scene and just glosses over it as quickly as possible. They kiss, they grind, he slides in......scene over. If this was a YA, I could understand but it's supposed to be an adult romance and there is just nothing there. There's also a few other love scenes throughout the book and the same details are there, wham, bam, thank you sweetie. The only things that make this an adult book is the few times someone uses the "f" word......lame! Honestly, I could give this book to my 16 year old niece and never flinch.  Apart from no chemistry, I also felt that the main characters were a blend of all her popular YA characters. Mae is a mix of Sydney, Rose and even some of Lissa. Justin is a mix of Adrian and Dimitri. I couldn't help but draw on the similarities. 

Other than that, the world and story basis are totally unique in her story telling but the premise of Gods messing with humans, is not and it just comes acrossed to the reader as a bit convoluted. At it's bones though, t's basically a whodunnit story with the Scooby gang feel of a group of people, trekking the globe, trying to put puzzle pieces together to save lives and regain their honor. It's also the backstory for the main characters as well.

Basically, I liked it even though it frustrated me. It's an ok start to, what I hope, will be an interesting series.

Giving it 3 books out of 5
Only because I want to like it more then I really did
Probably more like 2 1/2

1 comment:

  1. I pre-ordered the paperback of GameBoard of the Gods. It should be here soon, I am looking forward to reading it. Although I am a bit hesitant to start it now as I am usually not a fan of info dumps. I do love Richelle Mead her writing style, so I think I will still enjoy it. I think I have read all her books so far, except for this one yet.