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

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

3.8 67
by Richelle Mead
 

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The truth is, when you banish the gods from the world, they eventually come back—with a vengeance.
 
In the near future, Justin March lives in exile from the Republic of United North America. After failing in his job as an investigator of religious groups and supernatural claims, Justin is surprised when he is sent back with a peculiar

Overview

The truth is, when you banish the gods from the world, they eventually come back—with a vengeance.
 
In the near future, Justin March lives in exile from the Republic of United North America. After failing in his job as an investigator of religious groups and supernatural claims, Justin is surprised when he is sent back with a peculiar assignment—to solve a string of ritualistic murders steeped in seemingly unexplainable phenomena.
 
Justin’s return comes with an even bigger shock: His new partner and bodyguard, Mae Koskinen, is a prætorian, one of the Republic’s technologically enhanced supersoldiers. Mae’s inexplicable beauty and aristocratic upbringing attract Justin’s curiosity and desire, but her true nature holds more danger than anyone realizes.
 
As their investigation unfolds, Justin and Mae find themselves in the crosshairs of mysterious enemies. Powers greater than they can imagine have started to assemble in the shadows, preparing to reclaim a world that has renounced religion and where humans are merely gamepieces on their board.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This brilliant book is a miracle. Think American Gods with the romantic heart of Vampire Academy. What's the point of world-building if you aren't building something and someone to love? I'm in love with every character in this book. How do I know? When I got to the last page I turned to the first and started again, thinking this is why I read.”
-Margaret Stohl, New York Times bestselling author Icons

“Vivid world-building, whip-fast pacing, and a layered plot combine to make Gameboard of the Gods a riveting read!”
-Melissa Marr, New York Times bestselling author of The Arrivals

"The book is fast paced and suspenseful...A promising first book in a projected series." - Booklist

“This brilliant book is a miracle. Think American Gods with the romantic heart of Vampire Academy. What’s the point of world-building if you aren’t building something and someone to love? I’m in love with every character in this book. How do I know? When I got to the last page I turned to the first and started again, thinking this is why I read.”—Margaret Stohl, New York Times bestselling author of Icons
 
“A genuinely interesting, well-written, entertaining story…Justin and Mae have real chemistry.”—Tor.com
 
“This book is fast-paced and suspenseful…a promising first book in a projected series.”—Booklist
 
“Provocative and dark—Gameboard of the Gods is epic in scale and impossible to put down.”—Kami Garcia, #1 New York Times bestselling coauthor of the Beautiful Creatures series
 
“It’s dark, it’s fantastical, and the chemistry is just wow!”—USA Today
 
“After years of YA, [Mead] has finally returned to her adult roots with an ambitious (and sexy!) sci-fi outing.”—Entertainment Weekly

The first adult novel by YA author Richelle Mead confirms her talent. At its center is Dr. Justin March, an expert on rampant religious extremists who lost his job because of a botched investigation. After a lonely, dangerous exile from the Republic of United North America, he is offered a reprieve: He is assigned to track down the culprits in a string of ritualistic murders. Joining him in the hunt is the alluring praetorian soldier Mae Koskinen. Together they must not only untangle clues and sort out their own complicated relationship; they must try to stay alive in the midst of unseen powers and enemies. Sexy characters and gathering suspense.

Publishers Weekly
YA writer Mead (the Vampire Academy series) tries her hand at adult paranormal fiction with mixed results in the first Age of X episode. On a future Earth, the rigidly secular Republic of United North America (RUNA) government now rules the continent. As an elite praetorian solider, gorgeous Mae Koskinen is proud to defend RUNA’s citizens from “unchecked religion.” Then Mae sleeps with Dr. Justin March, former expert “priest killer” for the Ministry of Internal Security. RUNA needs March’s help to hunt down the religious group responsible for a series of bloody murders and assigns Mae to be his bodyguard. Hardened soldier Mae predictably hates having showed any vulnerability to her charge. Meanwhile, Justin worries that sleeping with her again will fulfill a secret prophecy, forcing him to swear loyalty to some unknown god. Most of the story seems to be setting the stage for later books, leaving characters and the murder investigation to languish. Mead will have to sharpen her plotting to make this series successful. Agent: Lauren Abramo, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (June)
VOYA - Kristin Fletcher-Spear
The first entry in Mead's new adult series, Age of X, is a supernatural dystopian set in RUNA, the Republic of United North America, the only "civilized" country since a deadly disease decimated the world. Formerly exiled, servitor Justin and super-soldier Mae are paired together to solve a series of ritualistic murders that point towards a religious group. Justin's job as a servitor is to know all of the legal religious groups and their so-called gods. Not only does he need to stop the next murder, but also prove that they occurred mundanely, not supernaturally. There is no doubt that Mead's teenaged fans are going to want to read this series. It has intriguing characters that are slowly fleshed out as their stories are told. Tessa, a secondary teen character, is Justin's prodigy who has some side scenes and helps with the worldbuilding. The murder storyline is interesting and is not too detailed for teen readers. The gods and goddesses subplot, which will be the major storyline of the series, has been seen in other series, but is still engaging here and well worth the investment in the book. Gameboard Of The Gods is written by a young adult author and will have crossover appeal, although it belongs in the adult collection of the library as sex, drinking, and drugs are constant companions in it. Reviewer: Kristin Fletcher-Spear
Library Journal
Mead, author of the best-selling YA “Vampire Academy” and “Bloodlines” paranormal series, makes her adult fiction debut with this first entry in a dystopian, mythological series. In a near-future world, half of the human population is wiped out by a virus. The Republic of United North America (RUNA) has emerged from the devastation, building a well-ordered, high-tech empire that tries to suppress religion and outlaws genetic experiments. Dr. Justin March is a brilliant servitor, a RUNA government employee paid to investigate religious organizations, but his findings on his last assignment got him exiled from the RUNA to lawless Panama City. Now his former bosses and Mae Koskinen, a beautiful and chemically enhanced government supersoldier, have come to retrieve him to help solve a string of serial murders with religious overtones. As Justin investigates, with Mae as his bodyguard, the involvement of supernatural forces increasingly seems likely. Now they just have to prove it.

Verdict Mead melds romance, mystery, urban fantasy, and action into a fascinating dystopian tale, featuring fully realized characters that will captivate her many current fans and attract new ones. [See Prepub Alert, 11/30/12.]—Melissa DeWild, Kent Dist. Lib., Comstock Park, MI
(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Reviews
Mead's latest series centers around a bleak future in which organized religion is controlled by the government following the global incursion of a deadly disease. Dr. Justin March has been exiled to Panama, a lawless territory by comparison to his home country of the Republic of United North America, which is headquartered in Canada. March was booted from his job as a servitor to the government and forced to live mostly by his wits and the protection offered by local thugs. But March has always yearned to return to his homeland and resume his former life, so when a delegation from RUNA Internal Security pops up offering him a chance to return if he can solve a mysterious string of homicides, he jumps at it. March bargains to have his also-banished sister, her young son and the brilliant teenage daughter of a local family who has been kind to him also return to RUNA, but he's not prepared for the constant supervision provided by a gorgeous, but deadly, female soldier, one of the nation's most elite killers. The two share a recent history that gets in the way of their professional relationship. There's also a little bit more to the story, since March has had premonitions that the woman may figure prominently in his immediate future. As March and Mae, his bodyguard, travel in an effort to solve the case, the clock ticks down, and March realizes that if he doesn't succeed, he'll be sent back to Panama. Mead's first book in this series is a huge, messy story that tends to be more confusing than illuminating. The author fails to offer much insight, leaving readers to puzzle it all out; many times, the effort simply isn't worth it. While Mead's many fans may rejoice in the appearance of her new series, this complicated and often unsatisfying tale raises many more questions than it answers.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780451467997
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
06/03/2014
Series:
Age of X Series , #1
Pages:
496
Sales rank:
169,668
Product dimensions:
4.14(w) x 6.77(h) x 1.38(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

SHE USUALLY WEARS BLACK

Mae dealt out death regularly. It really wasn’t a problem.

Death was clean on the battlefield, and there was no reason to dwell on what it meant. The kills were just mission objectives, and the people weren’t really people at all. It was you or them. And when the fight was done, you could just walk away.

But today? There was no walking away. Today, she was walking toward death, and that scared the hell out of her. Not much else did these days.

With a deep breath, she leaned her cheek against the living room mirror, closing her eyes and taking comfort in the way the glass cooled her skin. She repeated the soldier’s creed over and over in her head, using the familiar words to steady herself: I am a soldier of the Republic. I do not serve my own will but that of my country. I am its tool and will gladly lay down my life to further this nation’s glory. I am a soldier of the Republic. I do not serve my own will but that of my country….

A knock at the door startled her out of her mantra, and she straightened up. Another deep breath calmed the shaking of her hands, and she pushed her emotions into a far compartment in her mind. Locked away, those feelings could not touch her. They were powerless, and she was free. She double-checked her face in the mirror, but it gave nothing away. It was blank. Empty. In control.

Dag and Val were at the door, as she’d known they’d be. They greeted her with forced smiles that were a far cry from their usual happy-go-lucky selves. Both wore uniforms identical to hers: a mandarin-collared black jacket over black pants with black boots. Black everywhere. Even the buttons were black. The only color came from a scarlet pip on the collar, standing out like a drop of blood. To the inexperienced eye, these uniforms looked no different from the ones the prætorians usually wore into battle. To Mae, who could see and feel the dressy fabric of their formal attire, the uniform seemed flimsy and brought back her earlier fears of vulnerability. Being weaponless wasn’t helping matters.

“Here to babysit me?” she asked.

“Who said anything about babysitters?” Dag was always quick with a smile, though his eyes betrayed him that morning. “We’re just a bunch of friends going out together.”

“You make it sound like we’re going to a bar,” Mae said. She walked back to the mirror and examined the braided bun she’d so painstakingly worked on. Grimacing, she pulled out the hairpins and began unraveling it all.

Val made herself comfortable on the arm of the couch, lazy and limber as a cat, even under these circumstances. “What are you doing?”

“It’s messy,” Mae said.

“There wasn’t a hair out of place,” protested Val.

Mae didn’t answer. In the mirror, she saw her friends exchange troubled glances behind her. It’s worse than I thought,Val seemed to be saying. Dag’s expression said he was in agreement but didn’t entirely know how to handle it. Snapping a neck, lifting weights, donut-eating contests. Those were in his comfort zone. Therapy? Less so.

It wasn’t part of Val’s skill set either. Neither knew quite what to do with Mae, and she certainly wasn’t going to help them out—because she didn’t want them to do anything. She wanted them to treat her in their usual flippant way. And what she wanted most was for this day to be over, so that life could return to normal.

“How many times have you braided it today?” Val’s voice was uncharacteristically gentle.

“It’s not right,” Mae said, dodging the question. This was actually the eighth time she’d braided her hair. She kept pulling so tightly that her scalp had started to turn red, though the tiny metal implant in her arm dutifully dulled the pain. “You wouldn’t understand.”

Neither Val nor Dag ever had hair problems. Dag always kept his dark hair closely shaved, and Val wore hers in a pixie cut that suited her diminutive frame. I should cut mine, Mae thought. She’d considered it a hundred times but could never bring herself to do it.

“It’s okay, you know. Grief is a normal part of the, um, process.” Dag had apparently been reading self-help books before coming over. “You can even cry.”

“Why would I do that?” Mae pulled so hard on a strand of hair that she winced.

“Because that’s what people do when they lose someone they care about,” said Val. “You’re so tightly wound up that you’ll explode if you don’t relax. And do not undo that. It’s fine.”

Mae had just finished her hair again, neatly wrapping the braid into a perfect knot above the back of her neck. She really was on the verge of pulling it out again when Val grabbed her arm. “Enough, Mae. We’re going to be late.”

It was another bad sign, Val’s using her real name instead of her pet name, Finn. But Mae couldn’t deny her friend’s point. It was time to go. With one last glance in the mirror, she let them lead her outside to the subway entrance across the street. They took the blue line out to the base, earning a number of startled looks from other passengers. Prætorians weren’t that common outside of military and federal centers. A group of them was especially unusual. The passengers kept their distance and glanced around the train uneasily, wondering if they should expect a terrorist attack.

The threesome ended up reaching the base early, but plenty of other prætorians were already entering the ceremonial hall. And here, Mae faltered, stopping just outside the entrance. The spring sunshine was far too bright and cheery for a day like today. Dag touched her arm. “You okay?”

“You don’t have to go,” Val told her.

Mae saluted the flag overhead and continued forward to the hand scanner. “Everything’s fine.”

Neat rows of chairs filled the hall, which was nearly packed with prætorians. The news had come in less than a week ago, and it would have taken a fair amount of scrambling to pull so many of the guard back in from their scattered assignments. Some wouldn’t be here, of course. It was the nature of the job. But the death of a prætorian was so monumental that their superiors would’ve certainly done whatever they could to ensure a good showing.

Although there was no official seating chart, the prætorians were gathering in cohorts. Val waved at someone across the room. The Scarlets had already taken a middle position and were beckoning them over. Val and Dag started to head in that direction, but Mae stopped again, allowing her eyes to focus on the front of the hall.

There’d been no body to recover, but they’d still set out a casket made of a dark, gleaming wood. Prætorian black. A swath of indigo silk covered it, with the RUNA’s flag draped over that. Piles of gardenias sat on either side, their softness contrasting with the clean lines of the casket.

Not caring if Val and Dag followed her or not, Mae turned toward the center aisle that led straight to the shrine. A bubble of emotion—sorrow and panic combined—began to rise within her, and she staunchly pushed it down. Throwing back her shoulders, holding her chin high, she began the impossibly long walk toward the front of the room. People stepped aside for her, and those who hadn’t noticed her before now stopped to stare. She ignored those looks, along with the whispers that soon followed. She kept her gaze fixed firmly ahead, silently repeating the creed: I am a soldier of the Republic. I do not serve my own will but that of my country. Those words were echoed by her mother’s, spoken so many years ago: You can ignore the rest because you’re better than them. Empty yourself of all feeling, because if they can’t see it, then they can’t use it against you.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
“This brilliant book is a miracle. Think American Gods with the romantic heart of Vampire Academy. What’s the point of world-building if you aren’t building something and someone to love? I’m in love with every character in this book. How do I know? When I got to the last page I turned to the first and started again, thinking this is why I read.”—Margaret Stohl, New York Times bestselling author of Icons
 
“A genuinely interesting, well-written, entertaining story…Justin and Mae have real chemistry.”—Tor.com
 
“This book is fast-paced and suspenseful…a promising first book in a projected series.”—Booklist
 
“Provocative and dark—Gameboard of the Gods is epic in scale and impossible to put down.”—Kami Garcia, #1 New York Times bestselling coauthor of the Beautiful Creatures series
 
“It’s dark, it’s fantastical, and the chemistry is just wow!”—USA Today
 
“After years of YA, [Mead] has finally returned to her adult roots with an ambitious (and sexy!) sci-fi outing.”—Entertainment Weekly

Meet the Author

Richelle Mead is the author of the international #1 bestselling Vampire Academy series. Her love of fantasy and science fiction began at an early age when her father read her Greek mythology and her brothers made her watch Flash Gordon. She went on to study folklore and religion in college, and when not writing, Richelle spends her time drinking lots of coffee, watching reality TV, and shopping for dresses. She works in her pajamas and has a passion for wacky humor—especially if the 1980s are involved. Originally from Michigan, Richelle now lives with her family in Seattle, Washington.

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Gameboard of the Gods 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 67 reviews.
Always-Intrigued More than 1 year ago
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. 
kopsahl More than 1 year ago
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)
momluvs_allparanormal More than 1 year ago
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!! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Reminded me a bit of Gaiman's American Gods, but not quite so dark
Disquietus More than 1 year ago
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.
Sailon More than 1 year ago
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.
LovinLosLibros More than 1 year ago
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.*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Samercans More than 1 year ago
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. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a fabulous book for people that love myths, scifi and mystery... Some people posted reviews claiming that the world was confusing but it all gets cleared up by the end. Some of the characters are jerks who think they are smarter than everyone else... then again, i know plenty of people in real life who are jerks that think they are smarter than everyone else! A great story about myth, gods and the difference between being smart and being wise. Reminded me of a scfi version of Gainan's American Gods... Can't wait to read the next one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Under_The_Covers_BookBlog More than 1 year ago
~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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Richelle Mead is one of my favorite authors and this new series didn't disappoint me at all. I greatly enjoyed everything about it, but perhaps I'm just not as picky as other readers after reading some of the reviews others have left. I would definitely give this series a shot and if you don't like it try any of her other series cause I think they are all amazing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After reading Vampire Academy at 14 and Bloodlines just recently, I craved more of Richelle Mead's amazing and refreshing storytelling. Most teen fiction is a dissapointment as you get older, but I've never been let down by books from Richelle Mead. With a story that keeps you on edge, a dynamic romance, and unforgettable characters I would recomend this book (and many of her other books) to anybody!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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,
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Started a little slow, but as i got into the book it became a page turner.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a long book with many confusing twists and turns but i absolutely loved it.
Jazzie More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was hard to get into at first but i kept reading bc i love richelle mead! Once i got a few chapters in i was hooked. I love Mae! She's strong and beautiful, smart and loyal. Most reviews ihave read are hard on Justi but I canthelp but fsll in live w him too. Yes he is an addict , a womanizer, and a manipulator, but i also think hes brilliant. I love the new world storyline but i admit it was very confusing at times and i had to go back and reread. I think a lead-in prologue wld help clarify the new terminolgy and themes. I look forward to the second book!
Asand More than 1 year ago
My Thoughts: This was a hard book to read and I found it was even harder to review.  Now, please throw your torches away; I didn't say it was bad.  I just said it was a hard book to follow.   It felt all over the place, even though you do get some world building in it, the story kinda tells it as you go and personally, I felt lost a little bit.  I found myself going back, checking on what certain terms meant, and so on.  You know how some fantasy books have terms and definitions in the beginning so you have a little heads up.  I think this book should definitely invest in one of those nifty little things. So for the world building it was a love hate relationship for me.  I would have liked more world building but what we did get was descriptive and definitely painted a strange new alternate world.   The character development made up for the lack of world building for me though.  I fell in love with Mae.  She is a complex woman that doesn't follow any set rules for how she needs to be.  I love that she is a fighter.  I really have this amazing respect for strong women who can defend their own and just about everyone else too.  Mae is that woman!  For me, it seemed like I really was drawn to Mae, while the rest of the world feared her.  Maybe that is what did it for me too; the vulnerability that she keeps deep inside.   Justin March, on the other hand, was such a douche.  Yes, he has this bad boy attitude, yes he is very smart, yes he has other promising qualities but......I just could not like him.   He had his moments, though, that I did say "maybe" for him but in the end I wasn't really impressed with him as the main male lead.  But I think that wasn't  because he was badly written; he was actually written really well to incite such intense distaste that I had for him.   This is of course a romance story and it is front and center.  There is also a murder mystery but it doesn't really seem to be the full focus of the novel.  It seems like they glaze over it and then boom they solve it.  There are details but I really felt lost in it all.   I did like the interesting concept of a rule over religions.  That definitely captured my attention and was original.   Overall, Gameboard of the Gods has a Greek feel to it with terms like plebians, patricians, and the strictness of it all.  But that isn't the only gods that are possible in this book.   That is what saved it for me for this book. The mythology and power of the different gods.  Also the beliefs of the Runa that they could control and destroy these entities makes for a great read.  I love mythology and this was an interesting take on it for an adult read.   I give it 3 out of 5 hearts!
AVoraciousReadr 7 months ago
*Book source ~ NetGalley What happens when, in a dystopian world where religion is strictly regulated, the old gods begin to return? I had a hard time with some of the terminology and plot in this story. That’s not to say it isn’t interesting because it is. Religious extremists brought about The Decline, a dark time in the world’s history, so now all religion is strictly regulated by servitors. If they show any sign of gaining ground then the servitors find a way to revoke their license and shut them down. There is also policy in place to make people as genetically diverse as possible since having ethnic groups banding together against other ethnic groups also contributed to The Decline. The people are truly a melting pot. Except for the rich who were exempt from the mandates. Of course. Typical. The story revolves around Mae Koskinen, a praetorian (elite military force), and Dr. Justin March, a servitor of some renown, who was exiled for mentioning the supernatural in one of his reports. But they want him back to solve a series of ritualistic murders and it’s during this investigation that things of a supernatural nature are brought to light, something the New World Order doesn’t want to believe. But the old gods don’t care what the government believes. They’re coming back and they’re pissed about being banished. An enjoyable and interesting read, but I’m not chomping at the bit to continue the series. If that makes sense at all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very interesting and well- written. Looking forward to more!
Gryblin More than 1 year ago
Richelle Mead writes very well. Her worlds are very well visualized and explained. I did have trouble with the multiple terms for the different groups of people - caste, castal, plebian, praetorian, etc. This book also includes some light porn, which I would prefer not to have in my house (with young children). The real reason that I will not purchase any more of her books is because I went to her website and discovered that I am part of a group the author labels "misinformed" and "ignorant". So I'll take my money elsewhere.