Gameboard of the Gods; Richelle Mead

Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead

From Goodreads: 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.

You may know Mead from her other series, both Adult and Young Adult. I haven’t read her YA stuff, and to be honest, I don’t want to. However, I enjoyed her Georgia Kinkaid and Dark Swan books. They are both well developed for being urban paranormal romances. And I’ll tell you what, Mead is not afraid to piss off a reader. I have not always agreed with the choices her characters made or the way problems were resolved, but in a way, that’s a good thing. More often than not, Romances tend to be terribly predictable. Mead rarely falls into that trap. And because her characters often do things that make me mad or with which I vehemently disagree, I have to admit that’s the sign of a well-drawn, realistic character. So, Gameboard is no different. The characters are going to be annoying at times. They are going to do things to make you say, “What the hell?”

Gameboard also comes across as a lot more sophisticated and complex than Mead’s other series. The romance is there, but it’s not the story’s sole purpose. In fact, this book should appeal to men just as much as women. Maybe because while the story is told in third person perspective, it mainly comes from the point of view of the main character, Justin. Justin may be one of the best characters I’ve read in a while. He’s extremely self-destructive and self-serving. But he also has a solid core of loyalty and honor that redeems him from being despicable. His counterpart, Mae contrasts Justin with her self-discipline and cool demeanor. I loved how their opposite personalities got under each other’s skins.

There is another “sub-mystery” in the story line. I’m about to admit just what a huge geek I am, so don’t be too hard on me, but I am abnormally well versed in the particular mythology that played a small role in this story (but will play a much bigger role in the next book). Therefore I figured out the sub-mystery right away. I think the average reader won’t guess, but then I have to wonder if the answer to that little mystery will mean as much to them as it does to me.

Elements of Gameboard reminded me a bit of American Gods by Neil Gaiman, but the writing styles and ultimate purpose of the two books are extremely different so any comparison between them would be short lived. Still, if you like your mythology, you’ll probably get a kick out of Gameboard. This one was obviously the foundational setting for a more in-depth series. I can’t wait for the next book.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. MistressCinder
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 20:30:40

    Putting it in my reading list!


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