Goodreads rating: 3.86
Format: Final Copy from BEA
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.
My feelings for this book shifted a lot while reading the book. At one point, I even debated marking as a DNF. When reading some other reviews, and have a friend encourage me to keep reading on the assurance that it got better, I decided to tough it out until the end. It was rough, but I'm glad I did it.
To start, it was very confusing. I saw some people writing that she set up a great world. Maybe I missed something but after finishing the book, I am still beyond confused on how the world works. Mostly, for me, it was the introduction of words like castral, plebeian and patrician (and what the difference is between these words)and what some of the castes were. Like a lot of things in the book, I just kept reading in hopes that it would be explained later on. I have a vague idea now of what they mean but still nothing concrete enough to try to explain to others. These words may have been discussed earlier in more detail but I may have been too bored to find remember. I did, however, find out who the ravens were (probably one of the only questions I had that was actually answered).
And that's how I would describe the beginning of the book, sadly.... boring. I was bored I think right up until page 200, when some things started to pick up. Once I got to this point, it did start acting like a good murder mystery that fans of Bones and Criminal Minds might enjoy. However, I don't like waiting until I'm half way through a book to get interested in it. I usually give books until about page 100, so I was very generous with this book.
Now this isn't to say the book was all bad. I did give it 2.5 stars so that extra 1.5 stars had to come from somewhere. Once I hit that 200 page mark, like I previously said, things started picking up. Once I started to learn more about the RUNA I found that it was actually an interestingly formed government. Girls placed on birth control at age 14 and take off at age 20, people having no more than 2 kids unless they can prove they can provide for them... it's an interesting society structure.
I also liked reading more about the gods and how they effect Justin and Mae. Once I figured out that the gods are trying to get followers again by choosing certain people to represent them and almost taking control of them. This concept was kind of interesting, especially when you find out what gods are after Mae and Justin.
Finding out more about Justin and Mae (along with the couple Justin/Mae) was more interesting as well. Mead really does very well with characters and their development. I really learned to love Justin, Mae and Tessa and wanting to see how they made it through the murder mystery was a big driving force in wanting to finish the book.
Overall, this book was alright. You need a lot of patience for it. The beginning was boring, the world set up was confusing... however, it's not all bad. The characters are likeable and were probably my favorite part of the book. Learning about them and witnessing their struggles as well as how they handle them was what made the book somewhat interesting for me. The mystery was interesting but I wasn't really into it, mostly because of how bored I was for the first half of the book. I hear such good things about Richelle Mead so I don't think this is going to deter me from read more of her, just probably not more of this series.