ARC Review: Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead
Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X #1)
by: Richelle Mead
Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Dutton Adult
Genre: Science Fiction/ Dystopia
Age Group: Adult
Source: e-ARC received from Edelweiss and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Page Count: 464 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 4/5 stars
I really enjoyed this book. I wouldn't consider it 'light' reading, as you really had to pay attention to what was going on and understand the jargon. This is also not a YA novel. Just because you are a fan of Vampire Academy and Bloodlines does not mean you are going to enjoy this book.
I think Mead did an excellent job creating a futuristic world that didn't feel overly sci-fi and it was completely believable. Since this was the first book in the series, she had quite a bit of setting up to do to introduce us to this world and its characters. The book is told from multiple POV's and while that can be irritating to some, it didn't bother me. Granted, I enjoyed reading about the main characters, Mae and Justin, more than Tessa, a side character.
At the start of the novel we are introduced to Mae Koskinen, who is a deadly, fierce, praetorian (military enforcer, if you will). My first thoughts were that she has been trained not to surrender to her emotions and that her duty is first and foremost to her country. She had a very cool exterior, but as we saw in the first chapter, if provoked and prodded hard enough, that cool exterior will crumble and take care of business.
Justin March, on the other hand, has been exiled to Panama when he meets Mae for the first time. He immediately takes notice of how beautiful she is, and after meeting, the two see a sadness and vulnerability in the other that connects them. Justin, however, has a reputation as a bit of a playboy, and indulges in vices like drinking and drugs.
However, Justin is a bit more complicated than that. He is at war with himself and unseen forces that are ultimately trying to manipulate him. Therefore, he is forced to expel whatever feelings he may have for Mae. While I understand his reasonings why, he absolutely infuriated me to no end.
Upon returning to the RUNA to start their investigation, we see the cool exterior Mae carries turn into an icy, standoffish one. I loved the development of Mae throughout the novel. The novel later reveals why she is so obsessed with control and how difficult it is for her to show vulnerability.
People have said they felt Justin and Mae's relationship feels fake, but I disagree. Mae is a control freak and she is afraid of losing control, which is why in the later half of the book she really struggles with some of Justin's thoughts and beliefs. There is definitely an instant attraction between these two, but there is no insta-love, that's for sure. Despite everything, the two respect each other and learn to trust one another with their lives.
When I first saw that she was coming out with this novel and it was about the gods, I was so excited. This book however, very subtly introduces the gods into the storyline and it really becomes a subplot to the mystery and investigation taking place. However, she weaves them in just enough to intrigue us and then slams us with the whopper at the end. (Which I loved!)
Throughout the course of the book, questions are raised, revelations are revealed, and Mead definitely leaves you wanting so much more.
*Thank you to Dutton for providing me with an advanced copy of this book for review in return for a fair and honest review.*