Customer Reviews for

Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X Series #1)

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

I¿ve been a loyal fan of Richelle Mead since The Vampire Academy

I’ve been a loyal fan of Richelle Mead since The Vampire Academy series and this new series did not let me down. The setting for this series is in the future after religious extremists nearly wipe out all of humanity. Now all religious factions and supernatural claims a...
I’ve been a loyal fan of Richelle Mead since The Vampire Academy series and this new series did not let me down. The setting for this series is in the future after religious extremists nearly wipe out all of humanity. Now all religious factions and supernatural claims are monitored and investigated by servitors. One such servitor, Justin March, is sent into exile after failing at his job. Now he is being recalled and Mae Koskinen, an enhanced soldier, is sent to bring him back to help solve a string of ritualistic murders which turns into so much more than the two may be able to handle.

In typical Mead fashion we have very fleshed out characters, even the minor ones. Her characters are not perfect and in fact are extremely flawed. Justin is an alcoholic and a druggy and loves to smoke and Mae has severe control issues. The future world that Mead has created isn’t too far out of my comfort zone and I could picture what she wrote. One thing that is obvious is that these Gods need people to worship them and since they aren’t getting it they are going to act out and make sure someone notices.

From page one I was absorbed into this world and I look forward to the next installment. Since The Gameboard of Gods focused more on the development of the characters I do hope the next one has more of a storyline. Well worth the read and definitely different than anything she has written before and is catered towards adults and for people with an open mind (and don’t compare this to her Vampire Academy series).

(ARC was provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review)

posted by kopsahl on September 1, 2013

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Most Helpful Critical Review

11 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

Are people forgetting that Mead has written adult novels before?

Are people forgetting that Mead has written adult novels before? She has an entire adult series that's built around a Succubus and those
books are several years old. They are also excellently written and have a depth of character to them that's missing in lots of books ...
Are people forgetting that Mead has written adult novels before? She has an entire adult series that's built around a Succubus and those
books are several years old. They are also excellently written and have a depth of character to them that's missing in lots of books now-a-days.
So could everyone please stop calling this book her "debut" into adult novels, her debut came long ago and it was excellent. 

posted by Always-Intrigued on August 27, 2013

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  • Posted August 27, 2013

    Are people forgetting that Mead has written adult novels before?

    Are people forgetting that Mead has written adult novels before? She has an entire adult series that's built around a Succubus and those
    books are several years old. They are also excellently written and have a depth of character to them that's missing in lots of books now-a-days.
    So could everyone please stop calling this book her "debut" into adult novels, her debut came long ago and it was excellent. 

    11 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 4, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    The world has nearly been destroyed by the religious zealots. Th

    The world has nearly been destroyed by the religious zealots. The RUNA is now the super power of the world, rejecting all forms of religious beliefs. Dr. Justin March was a servitor, a judge on all religious practices for the RUNA, until he made a tragic mistake and was sent into exile.

    Mae Koskinen is beautiful, Nordic and a praetorian, super human military warrior. After an incident involving a fight with her co-worker, Mae is sent to retrieve and exiled doctor in Panama as her “punishment”.

    Justin jumps at the chance to return to civilization bringing a provincial 16 year old, Tessa, with him.

    Assigned to Justin as his body guard, Mae and Justin traverse a web of lies to slowly uncover the truth behind the heinous killings of superbly bread aristocrats in the caste. Dead ends and unusual twists plague their pursuit. If they fail another caste will die at the full moon. If they fail Justin, Tessa and even his sister and son Quetin’s future are all at a risk. 

    I have to admit I spent a large portion of this book confused. I was trying to work out the story and back reading, seeing if I missed something. The truth was, I didn’t miss anything. Lots of things are talked about but never explained till much later. The complete explanation of what’s happening is actually explained in the last 10% of the story. Don’t get me wrong, I was riveted to the pages, all the while searching for something to give me a clue so that it would all click...and when it did it was mind blowing.

    Richelle Mead masterfully creates a totally original dystopian world for us to explore. Although I had some problems with the plot building, the continuation of Age of X series exhibits enormous POTENTIAL. I will definitely be following this series to see where it leads. This is a world where the myths of gods and goddesses collide with futuristic technology and belief systems that destroy worship. Knowledge is key but wisdom will win the battle.

    I enjoyed Gameboard of the Gods and can’t wait to see where Richelle Mead takes us next. There is a lot of action, some romance but lots of romantic tension, and a wonderful mystery to explore. Gameboard of the Gods will have you coming back for more. I give this story 3 1/2 stars.

    This ARC copy of Gameboard of the Gods was given to me by Penguin Group USA - Dutton Adultin exchange for a honest review. Publication Date June 4, 2013.

    7 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 1, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I¿ve been a loyal fan of Richelle Mead since The Vampire Academy

    I’ve been a loyal fan of Richelle Mead since The Vampire Academy series and this new series did not let me down. The setting for this series is in the future after religious extremists nearly wipe out all of humanity. Now all religious factions and supernatural claims are monitored and investigated by servitors. One such servitor, Justin March, is sent into exile after failing at his job. Now he is being recalled and Mae Koskinen, an enhanced soldier, is sent to bring him back to help solve a string of ritualistic murders which turns into so much more than the two may be able to handle.

    In typical Mead fashion we have very fleshed out characters, even the minor ones. Her characters are not perfect and in fact are extremely flawed. Justin is an alcoholic and a druggy and loves to smoke and Mae has severe control issues. The future world that Mead has created isn’t too far out of my comfort zone and I could picture what she wrote. One thing that is obvious is that these Gods need people to worship them and since they aren’t getting it they are going to act out and make sure someone notices.

    From page one I was absorbed into this world and I look forward to the next installment. Since The Gameboard of Gods focused more on the development of the characters I do hope the next one has more of a storyline. Well worth the read and definitely different than anything she has written before and is catered towards adults and for people with an open mind (and don’t compare this to her Vampire Academy series).

    (ARC was provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review)

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 20, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    WOW!! This book is SO GOOD. I do have to say that the first half

    WOW!! This book is SO GOOD. I do have to say that the first half of this book had taken the longest to read through. Just because there was a lot of back history of the characters. Which is really important for this story. Then after that I could not put this book down. I love the whole idea that Richelle Mead came up with for this book. And Richelle is such an awesome story teller and this book shows that. 
    I love the Mythological Gods and this was so worth the wait to read. Now I just cannot wait to read book 2!! Please Richelle please hurry with book 2!! I can't wait to long for the next book. I HAVE to find out what will happen in the next story. Will Mae and Justin finally get to be with each other?? Will Mae finally know why Justin is the way he is with her??? I have to know these questions!! 
    I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book to anyone that loves Mythology and who loves Richelle Mead's work. Thank you so much Richelle for writing such an amazing story. I totally loved it and cannot wait to read more and more of your books!! 

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 8, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This is truly an outstanding novel. The writing was exactly what

    This is truly an outstanding novel. The writing was exactly what I’ve come to expect from this author: beautifully crafted, intricately detailed and character-driven.

    My favorite part of the book was the world building. Rather than explain the dynamics of this post-apocalyptic world all in the first chapter like many do, Mead reveals it gradually, spread across the whole of the novel in a wonderfully organic way. I particularly liked the fact that the RUNA government isn’t necessarily an inherently evil one, as many of them are in dystopian novels. There are definitely aspects of it that are shady, but I can also see the benefits of living in such a society and why it inspires such blind nationalism in Mae and Justin. The development of the plot is also incredible. The story starts with a bang and there is no lack of heart-pounding, breathtaking action, but it is the intricate blend of mythology into this technology driven world that is truly gripping. I do have to admit that when Mead finally reveals which god is following Justin around I had to be really angry at myself because it was totally obvious in hindsight. Especially given the fact that I used to obsessively study and compare all the different pantheons of gods when I was flirting with becoming a Wicca in my early twenties.

    The characters? There are so many its hard to keep up sometimes. The novel is told from the viewpoint of three: Mae, Justin and Tessa, and I will focus my discussion on them, although I really loved all of the secondary characters, especially Justin’s connections in the cult sects. Seeing the story unfold from three different perspectives is not as distracting as it could have been. I didn’t love it, especially during the times when it would take a couple of pages for me to be sure who was narrating, but I didn’t hate it. I do have to admit that I don’t really understand why Tessa’s perspective was necessary, other than to perhaps give us a view of RUNA from somebody who does not see it as the greatest country in the world. Otherwise, she seems kind of pointless to me. Mae on the other hand. Oh how I love Mae. She’s so many wonderful things at once, so fierce and brilliant, fragile and strong and just the kind of woman I want to be when I grow up. Justin is the worst though. In a lot of ways he reminded me of Adrian, of Mead’s VA/Bloodlines series’, but where Adrian’s narcissistic, self-destructive personality is balanced by his charm and giant heart…Justin is just a mess. I can understand that he’s damaged and afraid but he does and says some pretty unforgivable things. I kept trying to like him but I just couldn’t do it. Hopefully he’ll redeem himself later but for now I’m just going to put him at the top of my No column. Honestly the best part of his character were the two ravens providing some very entertaining dialogue in his head.

    While I don’t like Justin at all, I did  appreciate the development of his relationship with Mae. While they are physically intimate pretty early on, a sex scene that was very tastefully done,  I can appreciate why he’s torn over his feelings for her, I just hate the way he hurts her rather than just be upfront with her, especially once she begins to accept the idea that there are supernatural godly forces at work in their universe. I’m curious to see how their relationship develops, even if I think she deserves better.

    What I didn’t love about the novel, other than Justin of course, was that no matter how hard I tried I could not lose myself in it. It took me days to read it, even though I started it while I was on vacation with nothing better to do with my time. My favorite thing about reading  is that feeling I get when I lose myself completely into the books world. I forget that I’m reading a story and instead live it with the characters. This was not the case with Gameboard of the Gods. It just couldn’t engage all of my senses in the way I needed to make it a truly enjoyable reading experience. However the story and characters were intriguing enough to keep me going and having me truly looking forward to the next book.

    I also must point out that I really really loved the chapter titles. They were so much fun.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2013

    So so

    I honestly loved vampire academy and this was not like it
    The third person narration is annoying - i wish the characters would have more voice. Tooooo many details.over and over again.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 5, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    ~Reviewed by FRANCESCA & posted at Under the Covers Book Blo

    ~Reviewed by FRANCESCA & posted at Under the Covers Book Blog

    “Well Richelle Mead has done it again! … The world is complex, the characters full of depth and the trademark action and mystery packed storyline that Mead always delivers is what has me looking forward to where this series can go from here.” ~Under the Covers

    What can you expect from GAMEBOARD OF THE GODS? Well Richelle Mead has done it again! She has an amazing ability for creating beautifully complex worlds, usually full of supernatural creatures. GAMEBOARD OF THE GODS is so different! A sort of post-apocalyptic world with a touch of supernatural elements. A game of Gods, religion and politics. All wrapped up in such well crafted writing!

    In this world, churches are not allowed to exist unless they are approved by the state. Churches who pray to “Gods” are to be immediately shut down and the priests put in jail. And that may be because sometimes Gods can be tricky. People have been ravaged by a virus and some are genetically altered. They are all ranked by their ability to reproduce.

    Mae Koskinen is a Praetorian, an elite soldier. She’s tough, she has super speed and strength. She’s also shut down her emotions, her way of battling her inner demons. She is sent to bring out of exile one Justin March. Justin used to be a religious investigator for the state in RUNA but he was getting a bit too close to the truth of the Gods and was quickly sent away. Justin has his own inner demons, which he prefers drowning in alcohol. Now, with Justin back in RUNA and working with Mae, they discover deeper and darker things about their world, the Gods and themselves.

    While coming back to RUNA, Justin negotiates to bring back the daughter of his friend from exile, Tessa. Tessa has never been to RUNA and now has to discover how to adapt in search of a better life. This brings me to the different POVs. You get to read this book from Justin, Mae and Tessa’s POV. I think this was very clever in Mead’s part because Tessa’s perspective is the perfect complement to learn more about the world they are entering. I can’t wait to read more about her!

    Mae and Justin do have good chemistry although I don’t think they are anywhere close to being able to be together. They do grow a lot individually throughout this book. Even though at times I wanted things to work out differently so they could be together, I also understand the point of having them wait and deal with their own issues. They are both damaged characters and they need to heal some of those wounds or they could do more harm than good to each other.

    Ms. Mead gives us a fresh and unique twist to adult urban fantasy focusing on mythology, set in a dystopian-style world and throwing in some genetic manipulation. The world is complex, the characters full of depth and the trademark action and mystery packed storyline that Mead always delivers is what has me looking forward to where this series can go from here.

    What could’ve been better? The pacing of the story. I have to admit that parts of this book read very slow and drag, but after the humps they pick right back up. This is not a simple world and the good thing is there is no info dump, however readers can get a bit lost at times trying to keep up with some of the information. By the end of the story, though, you should be up to speed and hopefully well prepared for the next book!

    *ARC provided by publisher

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2013

    Creative, compelling characters, loved it.

    Reminded me a bit of Gaiman's American Gods, but not quite so dark

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2013

    Better than Harrison and Butcher Debuts!

    I've read all the Rachel Morgan (Kim Harrison) and Harry Dresden (Jim Butcher) novels. This was a better debut novel. The plot was innovative (futuristic with much of our present day technology). Justin and Mae's character development was perfectly suited to a, hopefully, long series. Lastly, the topics explored were relevant and well developed (government, religion, genetics and societal classes). Richelle Mead tells a very good story. Highly recommend.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 28, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I honestly picked up Richelle Mead's Gameboard of the Gods blind

    I honestly picked up Richelle Mead's Gameboard of the Gods blind. But, after meeting her and listening to the Q&A discussion on June 6, 2013, I was intrigued. I have not read any of her adult or YA books, so I had no reference to go by regarding her writings.  I am actually glad that I haven't read any of her books yet, so I could read her new adult novel with fresh eyes. After reading this, Richelle Mead has amazed me with the story of a very vivid futuristic world and the layered details of her characters. It was definitely an ambitious novel intertwining sci-fi, theology, supernatural elements and a mystery all together. 




    I loved it!!! Richelle Mead did an amazing job in world-building and character-building. With every turn of the page, I was pulled in to their world as if I was also following them on their investigation. The relationship between Justin and Mae is often strained, but yet, funny, as they walk the thin line between desire and denial.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 13, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    *shakes head* Gameboard of the Gods.. how disappointing and long

    *shakes head* Gameboard of the Gods.. how disappointing and long and excruciating you turned out to be. I was SO happy when I got a review copy from Penguin Canada and I couldn't wait to dive in. Yes it is a hefty book, but who cares? the synopsis sounded fantastic and it is Richelle Mead for God's sake! The reason why I opted for a mini review instead of a full one is because I have so much to complain about and it isn't really effective for me to whine so I'll just summarize all the problems I had with this book that made it in the end a not so happy reading experience. This is an NA book, however with the graphic and descriptive scenes I felt it is more adult, and I didn't appreciate the careless nature the main characters had in regards to their love life, or more like lust life. Justin was such a womanizing Jerk while Mae was just void of any emotional depth. All Justin thought about was women and drugs while Mae basically felt like a robot to me. Then there was the actual plot which was basically a mind melting one, not the good kind. I just felt that we were left in the dark for too long and I didn't appreciate not knowing what the hell was going on. At times I had to go and read reviews just to understand some aspect of the world building because it was so confusing. Also, the plot promises a murder mystery investigation but so much happened in this book, the deities and religions, the dystopian world, the murder, the supposed romance, and the promise Justin has to fulfill. It was a bit too much to take for a single book and while the plot had a lot going for it, most of the time I was pretty bored. I personally wouldn't recommend it to anyone because this book put me in a reading slump and I managed to read it in around 8 days. If you know me, that is pretty bad since I usually finish a 500 page book in two days maximum. All in all, this book won't shape my opinion of Richelle Mead and I do intend on reading her VA and Bloodline series, but just not this one.
    Note: apparently the back of the book said "new adult series" meaning it is a new ADULT series, like brand new. That completely threw me off! 

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 25, 2013

    I really enjoyed this book. I wouldn't consider it 'light' readi

    I really enjoyed this book. I wouldn't consider it 'light' reading, as you really had to pay attention to what was going on and understand the jargon. This is also not a YA novel. Just because you are a fan of Vampire Academy and Bloodlines does not mean you are going to enjoy this book.

    I think Mead did an excellent job creating a futuristic world that didn't feel overly sci-fi and it was completely believable. Since this was the first book in the series, she had quite a bit of setting up to do to introduce us to this world and its characters. The book is told from multiple POV's and while that can be irritating to some, it didn't bother me. Granted, I enjoyed reading about the main characters, Mae and Justin, more than Tessa, a side character.

    At the start of the novel we are introduced to Mae Koskinen, who is a deadly, fierce, praetorian (military enforcer, if you will). My first thoughts were that she has been trained not to surrender to her emotions and that her duty is first and foremost to her country. She had a very cool exterior, but as we saw in the first chapter, if provoked and prodded hard enough, that cool exterior will crumble and take care of business.

    Justin March, on the other hand, has been exiled to Panama when he meets Mae for the first time. He immediately takes notice of how beautiful she is, and after meeting, the two see a sadness and vulnerability in the other that connects them. Justin, however, has a reputation as a bit of a playboy, and indulges in vices like drinking and drugs.

    However, Justin is a bit more complicated than that. He is at war with himself and unseen forces that are ultimately trying to manipulate him. Therefore, he is forced to expel whatever feelings he may have for Mae. While I understand his reasonings why, he absolutely infuriated me to no end.

    Upon returning to the RUNA to start their investigation, we see the cool exterior Mae carries turn into an icy, standoffish one. I loved the development of Mae throughout the novel. The novel later reveals why she is so obsessed with control and how difficult it is for her to show vulnerability.

    People have said they felt Justin and Mae's relationship feels fake, but I disagree. Mae is a control freak and she is afraid of losing control, which is why in the later half of the book she really struggles with some of Justin's thoughts and beliefs. There is definitely an instant attraction between these two, but there is no insta-love, that's for sure. Despite everything, the two respect each other and learn to trust one another with their lives.

    When I first saw that she was coming out with this novel and it was about the gods, I was so excited. This book however, very subtly introduces the gods into the storyline and it really becomes a subplot to the mystery and investigation taking place. However, she weaves them in just enough to intrigue us and then slams us with the whopper at the end. (Which I loved!)

    Throughout the course of the book, questions are raised, revelations are revealed, and Mead definitely leaves you wanting so much more.

    *Thank you to Dutton for providing me with an advanced copy of this book for review in return for a fair and honest review.*

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2013

    Terrible

    I absolutely love this author. But this book was a complete disappointment and waste of money.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 18, 2013

    Gameboard reminded me a lot of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo -

    Gameboard reminded me a lot of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo - not in their storylines but more in the fact that I felt confused through most of the story and the characters were all damaged to a point. Though with Tattoo I chalked it up to things getting lost in translation, but with Gameboard I don't have that same excuse. There is a lot of terminology thrown at you from the beginning that is only explained through context, and trying to figure out what they mean in conversation.

    Add that in the fact that there are several slang words for the different groups, and I just kind of gave up trying to keep track of it all. By the end I felt like I finally had a decent grasp on the terminology, but boy was it an effort to read and hold on to. By the time the next book rolls around I will have to check my notes to see what the terms men again, or hope that seeing them used in context refreshes my memory.

    My issues with random terminology aside, the story is intriguing, though the characters lacked that "something" that made me connect with them. It has been less than 24 hours since I finished the story and I can't remember their names. I just never felt that angst or danger with them or for them. It really was just reading a story. There were a few obvious twists and turns, and several things that seemed just plain silly to me.

    All that being said, I will still probably read the next book in the series when it comes out, The Immortal Crown, expected May 2014. The story was still unique enough to make me wonder how things are going to play out from here. It was a good, but long, set up for potentially fascinating series. In my humble opinion, Gameboard would have been better served as a prequel novella, with several of the revelations being a bit more spread out in future books.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2013

    Very good!

    I truly enjoyed this! I was worried because i thought it might be a YA book, but it was not. What a great premiss, very original. I liked the characters, even, or maybe, because of their flaws.....It kept my interest to the very end...can't wait for the next one,

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2013

    Good

    Started a little slow, but as i got into the book it became a page turner.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 8, 2013

     I received a copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for

     I received a copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. 
    Honestly, I didn't like this book. It was very close to being a Did Not Finish book. This was the first of Richelle Mead's books that I've ever read, and I was hoping it would be like my experience with Julie Kagawa, where I completely fall in love with her books. Sadly, that didn't happen. I'm sure Richelle Mead fans all over are at their screens right now reading this review in disbelief. 
    I didn't really care for any of the characters. If Horatio and Magnus were supposed to be moral support, or comic relief, they failed utterly in both respects. I wanted to ignore Justin the entire time, and Mae was just plain aggravating. I found all of the characters except perhaps Tessa, to be very 2 dimensional, flat, and boring. The story line dragged on...and on...and on. I kept checking my Kindle to see how much more I had left of the book to finish.
    The only real reason why I finished this book was because I felt compelled to. I made a promise to Net Galley, and I was going to complete it. I was very disappointed, and now I'm not sure if I will even try the author's other series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2013

    Pretty good set up for next books

    I just love Richelle Mead's writing. I love the VA series and the Bloodline series. I am hoping I get hooked into this one too. Can't wait for the next book to see where she goes with it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 14, 2013

    This book has love, mystery, and intrigue. The first book in the

    This book has love, mystery, and intrigue. The first book in the series has a lot of explanations which makes it a longer read but since it is based in a futuristic society it is needed. Richelle hit a home run with this one. This is an adult book and while some teenagers may be ready to read another book by Mrs. Mead. the reading level for this book is much higher than Vampire Academy. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 13, 2013

    I was very excited to read this book seeing an ad for it in Ente

    I was very excited to read this book seeing an ad for it in Entertainment Weekly. However, I am disappointed. The story is quite boring and very drawn out. I feel like I read 300 pages and nothing exciting has happened. I could not even finish it because it just got too boring.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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