Title: Gameboard Of The Gods
Series: Age Of X #1
Author: Richelle Mead
Publisher: Dutton Adult
Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Genre: Adult Dystopian, Science Fiction
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.
Reviewing Gameboard Of The Gods by Richelle Mead is difficult. I liked the book and thought it was mostly good. (Not using star reviews on All The Stacks, it can be hard for me to explain what I mean by good. On goodreads, for example, I gave Gameboard Of The Gods three stars.) The book has a lot of potential but the problems made it a slugfest at times where I kept checking how long my Kindle thought it would take me to finish.
Gameboard Of The Gods has a solid story. Hot shot guy, Justin March, who is given a chance to get his job back after four years of exile. The catch is he has to solve the mystery behind these ritualistic murders. All solid and quite interesting stuff here. Here is my problem, it takes forever. Even with the book being overly long, I never felt I really understood what was happening. The story takes place in a dystopian world that is never fully fleshed out. We never really learn what happened to have society end up like it is. Why is RUNA, which stands for Republic Of North America which is not spelled out until many chapters into the book, one of the only places to prosper. There is talk about the before and hints that religion and genetic mutations caused a lot of it but I would have liked more specific details. I also had a difficult time picturing the world. There are areas, somewhere in North America, where ethnic groups live. They live within the country but separately. This is important because the murders involve these groups and the main characters do quite a lot of travelling. It took me until halfway through the book to get a good explanation about these groups and why they decided to live separately. The length of time it took to reveal many important plot points, like why Justin is sent into exile and what on earth is up with the talking birds that live in his head, is frustrating.
All of these issues aside, the actual story is interesting. I enjoyed the who-done-it-ness of the plot. I enjoyed how many strong female characters the books contains. Waiting so long to reveal really important information about the main characters lives, motivations, and backstory, made it difficult to care about them until the end of the book. I enjoyed the characters and the overarching world enough to read a book two. It will be read with caution and with the hope that it will be more concise.
Overall, I can recommend Gameboard Of Gods by Richelle Mead but would suggest checking it out from the library or borrowing it from a friend rather than purchasing it. See if it is something that you like before making the purchasing plunge. As I said in the beginning of this review, writing about Gameboard Of The Gods by Richelle Mead is difficult because it has lot of potential but quite a few problems.
I did receive an eARC in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts are my own.
Summary and cover image from goodreads.