Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Review: Gameboard of the Gods

Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X, #1)
Title: Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X #1)
Author: Richelle Mead
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | TBD

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.

“Perhaps there are supernatural forces in the world we can’t rule out.” 

Even before I started blogging, I already knew that Richelle Mead was a household name. Known for her Vampire Academy series, I read a lot of praises for her work which sometimes makes me wonder why I didn’t try to read her books as soon as possible. Gameboard of the Gods is my first Mead novel and despite having a different ‘first time’ reading experience compared to others, this book didn’t disappoint. 

Mead’s writing was exceptionally remarkable. The way she told the story felt like I was really experiencing everything. The best part, in my opinion, was the way things were exposed. It wasn’t info dump and it wasn’t the typical way expositions are done, too. Things were revealed slowly and piece by piece that made readers hang on to every word. It felt like the author was slowly opening a box of unknown—in a very, very slow manner. Despite not having a lot of action in every chapter, waiting for the explanation of things still kept me on edge. Waiting for Justin to reveal his secret to Mae also contributed to that. Sometimes I was so sure that he’ll tell her about what he was told, then he’d give Mae (and us) his natural jerk response. 

The characters were flawed at best. Mae, being part of what used to be a high-ranking family, fought hard to be a praetorian to find herself and her purpose. It seems that everything she does in this book has an explanation and I can’t blame her for whatever that happened or what she’s done. She has a back story that supported her character and made it easier for me to connect the new praetorian Mae and the old one. 

Justin, just like what Rachel said, was like Sherlock. He has some vices and part of them was women and alcohol. He’s also super smart who can’t seem to turn his brain off. He might be a strict as a servitor but at the same time compassionate about others despite his work. He also acknowledges the importance of truth despite the consequences that he might receive. For some reason, his womanizing ways was not an issue to me. Even Mae’s, although it was more normal to praetorians but it still should bug me and it didn’t. Justin’s issue was maybe because of his reason why he tries so hard to stay away from Mae. I admire that he has his own stand and principles and wouldn’t let others dictate him. 

One thing that I also loved about it was because it included Greek, Roman and Norse mythology and practices in this novel. It was one of the top reasons why I chose to read this book. It might be a start slow for others but patience is a virtue and I swear, it will reward you. The slow exposition worked with the pace and keeping the readers’ interest about what will happen next. 

I can’t wait for the next book. With what happened in the ending, I am excited to see what lies ahead for Justin and how will it affect his relationship with Mae.

This copy was provided by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.