Gameboard of the Gods
by Richelle Mead
Genre: Dystopia, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Excerpt: Yes | Book Trailer: No
Reviewed by: Abigail | Source: NetGalley
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.
Richelle Mead has proven herself to be a fantastically creative author time and again writing impossible love stories, dynamic characters, and sweepingly epic stories. But GAMEBOARD OF THE GODS, which promised to deliver Mead’s trademark excellence, fell so completely flat and tedious that I can hardly believe it’s the same author.
I scarcely know were to begin with defining the genre of GAMEBOARD OF THE GODS. It’s quasi futuristic with different gadgets and holograms as well as scientific advancements including genetic manipulation and enhancing implants. But it’s also semi dystopian with new countries and extreme laws (like no religions allowed, and hyper class-ism). And then there are the gods–sort of. We don’t even learn anything about the notion of gods until more than halfway through the book, and even then it’s so vague and poorly explained as to mean almost nothing until the very end. I guess I’d call it a bloated sci-fi thriller with very slight paranormal elements.
Honestly, the entire worldbuilding was so confusing and complex. There are all sorts of ideas and terminology that are never fully explained so that I ended up reading the book in a state of semi confusion half the time and then just sheer boredom the other half. Even the parts that made some kind of sense seemed to serve little to no purpose in the narrative.
There are three shifting point of views, and I’d be hard pressed to tell you which one I cared about less. The rakish addict who goes around debunking the fringe religions that spring up all while secretly hearing voices telling him he’s some kind of prophet, the enhanced super solder who gets tasked to protect him while nursing her broken heart, or the teen girl who gets plucked from the slum filled Panama to attend school in the elite RUNA. There is very little cohesion between the three characters,in fact the teen served no purpose that I could see apart from forcing the rake to deal with parenting issues.
What a boring, indecipherable mess. At no point while reading GAMEBOARD OF THE GODS was I engaged mentally or emotionally. It was a chore to keep reading and I only finished this one because I have such respect for Mead’s other series. As far as GAMEBOARD OF THE GODS is concerned, game over. I forfeit and don’t ever want to play this ‘game’ again.
- Gameboard of the Gods
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