Monday, June 3, 2013

ARC REVIEW: GAMEBOARD OF THE GODS

GAMEBOARD OF THE GODS (AGE OF X #1) BY RICHELLE MEAD
Expected publication: June 4th 2013 
Publisher: Dutton Adult
**eARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange of an honest review**

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





*Cyny's note: You can totally skip this first part, but after seeing some reviews I thought I'd give you some heads up on what most people are saying about this and other Richelle's books. *

So... I'm gonna start different today.

Gameboard of the Gods is not like VA. Just don't go there expecting it because is not. Is different and it's great on its own. Do I love VA and wish she kept writing it forever? Yes. Is Gameboard as good as VA? Yes. But is not like her other adult series either. 

Is not as fast paced. It will keep you reading though. 
Mae is every bit of a bad ass as her others female characters, yes; but this is Mae and is someone else, she's a soldier. She disciplined, not impulsive.
Justin isn't perfect. He's pretty much the opposite. He abuses substances much more than Adrian ever thought of. He has more sex than Dorian even suggested and doesn't care. And I don't care what Dimitri sometimes thinks of himself, Justin is far away from his noble ways.
And while the book is set around the investigation of murders, is not a detective's novel. It is important, but it isn't the main story line for the series. 

____

Jumping into any book that present you with a different world is a completely new experience. EVERY TIME.

But jumping into a Richelle Mead’s new world is even better. Especially this one. You don’t get a long first chapter that compares to a dictionary where everything is explain in detail. Nope. You’re thrown into it and you learn as you go. 
To be honest, for me this was a major bonus point. Detail explanation make it kind of boring in my head, and in a series, first chapters are usually repetitive of everything you already know, so I have big hopes for this one in that aspect. 

Gameboard of the Gods is set in a future world that suffered a decline due to religions, genetic manipulation and, well human nature. The world is different now. Soldiers carry chips to make them faster, stronger, almost impossible to kill. Religions are considered dangerous. Races and genes are mixed with complete control to encourage the country’s unity. And here’s where we meet our main characters. 

Mae is a Preatorian (we love Mead’s big words that we have to learn, uh?) a soldier of the Republic. And she’s one awesome, invincible chic. Like Xena. But Mae in not just a soldier, she’s also Nordic. So she has one hell of a poker face. 
I really love how Richelle Mead take all the characteristic you’d expect from it and made it believable and perfect. Most people assume that Nordics and soldiers don’t have much feelings too show. And is definitively what the rest of the citizens of the Republic think when they see Mae, but she’s just such a complex character and we really get to know her through the book. Richelle has made an excellent job. 

Justin... wow he’s intriguing. Sherlock Holmes Style of genius and addictive personally. You can’t get enough of him and he can’t get enough drugs or alcohol. He’s the kind of arrogant and charismatic character that Richelle portraits to perfection. He sees things no one else does, and he knows things he shouldn't. 

They are pair together to solve the murders that had been happening in the country. Justin’s is back from his exile and Mae’s is pulled from her normal duty. After meeting in Panama, their relationship is a roller-coaster. They can’t stand each other. They may even hate each other a bit. But they are drawn to each other nonetheless.
The mystery develops slowly, because the reason to the murders is what sets off the series, so in this we get more character development than action. But the revelations shake the beliefs of both of them 

Gameboard of the Gods has a combination of several elements. The mythology is all over the place, but is easy to follow through thanks to Justin’s observations. The romance and sexual tension is there in a slow yet persistent pace that gets you a little frustrated. The mystery is there all the time. As I said, you get thrown into it and then slowly get to see how everything works and what everything means, so most of the book the are big questions you can’t totally makes sense to but that are answered in the end. Or some of them are... 

The best thing of the book, besides the characters development is the world building. Richelle can make you see this world she presenting in the book and bring it to life. I don't usually do this, but I've seen some very mixed feeling on this: I did not find the world building confusing at all, Once you learn a term for something is very simple to understand what's going on.
Just in case, you may find useful to read this glossary before the book or keep it close.

The different characters in here, be it Gods or human are very intriguing. I love everyone of them. From Mae’s easy going friends, Val and Dig who can turn into killing machines in the blink of an aye. To Justin’s prodigy, Tessa. A girl he brings back from his exile in Panama to help her. 
Tessa’s observation’s of the RUNA are probably the best way to understand some things, Tessa sees the world from an outsiders perspective because she was born in the provinces. A place, that more or less is much more similar to our own world. 

And people, be ready for THE SUBPLOTS! Because, let’s be honest this is Richelle Mead we’re talking about and there are bigger forces playing here! 

GET THE BOOK


ABOUT RICHELLE MEAD



Scorpio Richelle Mead is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy books for both adults and teens.  Originally from Michigan, Richelle now lives in Seattle, Washington where she works on her three series full-time. Before becoming a writer, she considered a few different career paths. She received a liberal arts degree from the University of Michigan, an MA in Comparative Religion from Western Michigan University, and a Master in Teaching (Middle & High School English) degree from the University of Washington. In the end, she decided writing was the way for her but believes all of her education prepared her for it.
A life-long reader, Richelle has always had a particular fascination with mythology and folklore. When not writing,, she enjoys bad reality TV, traveling, trying interesting cocktails, and shopping for dresses. Lots of dresses. She is a self-professed coffee addict, fights a constant (and losing) battle with procrastination, and has a passion for all things wacky and humorous.
Her adult series are published by Kensington Books.  The Georgina Kincaid Series (Succubus Blues, Succubus on Top, Succubus Dreams, and Succubus Heat) tell the humorous and heart-breaking story of a reluctant succubus who can't touch the man she loves without dire side effects. On top of that, she must deal with Hell's middle management team and the many supernatural threats that come her way.  Richelle's Dark Swan Series (Storm Born and Thorn Queen) follows Eugenie Markham, a free-lance shaman who battles ghosts and fey that sneak into our world from the Otherworld. When an alarming prophecy suddenly makes her every Otherworldly creature's object of desire, Eugenie must dodge their advances while also fighting a dark power rising within her.
Richelle's YA series, Vampire Academy, is published by Razorbill Books (Penguin) and thus far contains Vampire Academy, Frostbite,Shadow Kiss, Blood Promise, and Spirit Bound.  This New York Times and USA Today bestselling series has won honors from the American Library Association and been translated into 30 languages.  It follows the war between two races of vampires, living and undead. Rose Hathaway, a 17-year old half-vampire, is training to be a bodyguard for the living vampires and finds her life complicated by the dangers that involves, as well as an illicit romance with one of her teachers.


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