Sunday, June 2, 2013

Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead

Publisher: Dutton
Age: Adult
Series: Age of X #1
Interest: Richelle Mead/ Mythology
Source: NetGalley

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. (Summary from Goodreads.com)

I received a digital e-galley of Gameboard of the Gods for review from NetGalley. This has in no way swayed my review or opinion of the book.

Gameboard of the Gods
isn't like the average Richelle Mead book. There are kick butt ladies, different social classes and heavy mythology (staples in a normal Mead series), yet Gameboard feels like nothing Mead has written before. In some ways I feel this expansion into new territory was a good gamble, in other ways, not so much. 

It's no secret that the pacing of adult books are often slower than YA. Most adult books tend to be more cerebral than based in action. Adult books tend to want to get inside your head, make you think, make you understand where the character is coming from and why they're making certain decisions. Young Adult books usually want to entertain. *These are not hard and fast rules by any means, simply things I've observed.* In Gameboard of the Gods, the tension is set up to build over a long period of time. The entire book was tortuously slow. Mead's unfolding plot was very interesting. However, everything taking so incredibly long to get to the point was frustrating. 

Each character revealed in Gameboard was compelling in their own way, even if they weren't central to the plot. Yet because there were so many characters and points of view to balance, many of them became unnecessary to me. It didn't help that each person usually had a difficult name to spell or pronounce so it was easy to lose track of characters within the pages. 

One definite way Gameboard excelled was in world-building. The RUNA, the EA, the provinces and land grants are all extremely vivid in my mind. It was wonderfully crafted.While I didn't understand much of how the RUNA worked, I was still enthralled with their society and superiority. I'd love to take an anthropology class on how the world developed. 

The mythology used in Gameboard was interesting. It's always fun for me to guess a "which deity did it?" type of problem. Because so many religions were used, or at least referenced, it was hard to narrow down the pantheon most likely responsible, let alone a god. I was well over half way into the novel before I could even guess at the religion causing trouble. 

I will say Gameboard of the Gods is a great book. However it was by no means the right book for me. There were certain pieces I enjoyed, yet overall I wasn't giddy over reading it. Gameboard felt obviously like a set up for a much larger plot, story line, etc. and so much information was crammed into such a long and slow book, there was no way to address everything I wanted it to. I'd really only recommend this book for a specialized audience. They would need to be interested in mythology, like a steady but slow pacing and enjoy a puzzle to figure out. Those readers would enjoy Gameboard the best. 

*I'm not sure how exactly I feel about this book. I'm so on the fence about what I enjoyed and didn't that I wasn't able to give it a star-rating.*

Teaser Lines: "You will know her by a crown of flowers and stars, and then when you take her to your bed and claim her, you will swear your loyalty to me."

Happy Reading, 

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