X MARKS THE SPOT!
Title: Gameboard of the Gods (Book #1 to the Age of X Series)
Author: Richelle Mead
Genre: Science Fiction / Dystopia / Urban Fantasy
In a futuristic world nearly destroyed by religious extremists, Justin March is a former investigator of religious groups who was sent into exile after a failed job, a fate that has left the brilliant servitor bitter and free to indulge his addictive personality. Suddenly, Justin is sent home to the Republic of United North America (RUNA) with a peculiar assignment – to solve a string of ritualistic murders steeped in seemingly unexplainable phenomena.
Justin’s unexpected return comes with an even bigger shock: his new partner and bodyguard, Mae, is a praetorian, one of the elite and deadly supersoldiers of the RUNA. Her inexplicably perfect beauty and aristocratic upbringing pique Justin’s avid curiosity – and his desire – though her true nature holds more danger than anyone realizes.
As their investigation unfolds, Justin and Mae find themselves in the path of terrible danger. Mysterious enemies and powers greater than they can imagine have begun to assemble in the shadows, preparing to reclaim a world where humans are merely gamepieces on their board.
After I finished Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead, I was left thinking for quite a few days as to how I felt about this book and where I think this series is heading. Now, having processed the complexity of this book and the direction I think this series will lead, I have decided I really like this book and feel the Age of X Series holds a lot of promise.
Gameboard of the Gods is set in the future after Earth experiences a “Decline” mainly due to religious organizations getting out of control. Now all religious organizations are strictly controlled by the state RUNA. Exiled religious sect inspector Dr Justin March is approached by RUNA and offered an opportunity back into the state if he catches a rogue serial killer before he strikes again. Due to the dangers of this assignment he is assigned a Supersolider, Mae Koskinen, for protection. What Justin and Mae discover along the way, both about the case and themselves, is that change is coming and together they might be the key that will make the difference.
Like any first book of a series, the first half of the book contains a lot of information and world building information I was trying to process, especially since this series is set in future Earth. Just the names they called certain groups of people and what they call certain places and items took a while for me to absorb and understand. The complexity of the overall plot and the personal history of the main characters made for a very detailed introduction to the Age of X Series but once I got my head around the details I really quite enjoyed the read.
The book follows three main characters, Dr Justin March, Mae Koskinen and Tessa. I really liked the characters of Dr Justin March and Mae Koskinen and I think their future character development will be very interesting. I am also interested in seeing the chemistry build up between these two characters grow and I only hope Mead doesn’t drag that out for too long. I found the character of Tessa difficult to warm up to since her purpose in the series has not come to light at this point. No doubt she has an important role in the future of the series since she was introduced in the first place, but her purpose isn’t very evident at this point.
Richelle Meads is without a doubt a brilliant author and I have read all her books to date, but I think this platform may be difficult for her Vampire Academy fans to warm up to. I know I went into the read expecting the genre to be very mythology based but it felt more like a “Dystopian” genre, of which I am not a huge fan. I am hoping the Mythology side of the story will expand greatly in the upcoming books.
Gameboard of the Gods is Mead’s first book/series written in third person and to be honest I don’t prefer this point of view. I felt the brilliant emotional connection and chemistry Mead has created between her main characters in Vampire Academy and Bloodlines is lacking in this book so far, I hope this changes in the forthcoming installments in this series.
Now that this complex world has been established, I look forward to the next book in this series. I am hoping it jumps straight into the next challenge Dr Justin March and Mae have yet to face!