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 Academyand Bloodlines series such megasuccesses: sexy, irresistible characters; romantic and mythological intrigue; and relentless action and suspense.
I've read several of Richelle's other series so I was really excited to read the first book in a new series, Gameboard of the Gods. I had a love/hate relationship with this book, sometimes struggling to keep going and at other times, up late into the night captured in the plot.
First, and foremost, I spent over half of this book thoroughly confused. Justin has voices in his head and the reader doesn't know who they are (besides their name), what their purpose is nor what the goal is. It eventually comes clear to the reader but you have to work for it.
The world building is superb. Richelle has outdone herself building this futuristic dystopian world and it entranced me seeing how the class systems played out, religion and science. It's captivating in itself but electrifying with the addition of several well-developed characters. I wasn't a big fan of Mae; I didn't connect with her at all. I did enjoy the character of Tessa a lot, simplistic yet personable. Justin is complex, yet does have that humane touch at times, and at others, looking for peace and enlightenment.
There's no crazy cliffhanger, which was a surprise. But to be honest, I was relieved when I finished the book. I understand that usually a first book in a series is long because of the world building, but this book could have been a lot shorter. It played out slow with not a lot of action, in my opinion and I felt that the goal didn't justify the means. I'll pick up the next book in the series, but I won't rush.
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.