Book Review: Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead

18812362Gameboard of the Gods is the first book in the Age of X series by Richelle Mead. I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I started reading this book. The blurb on the back doesn’t really give a lot away about where the book is going to go, and I have to say I was not expecting what I got. I like that sometimes though. I like to know very little about a book sometimes and then see everything unfold without expectations. But you’re reading this review, so perhaps you would like to know if this book is worth your time or not?

The book is set in the RUNA (and yes there is a glossary in the back), which is basically North America, and it is set in the near future. The RUNA is pretty anti-religion and pro-technology. Everyone runs around using egos for everything, which are basically smartphones on steroids, and I kind of want one. Which is weird because they haven’t been invented yet. Perhaps someone should send a copy of this book to Apple so they can get on that and charge an astronomically high price for it?

There are three main characters in this book, Justin March, Mae Koskinen, and Tessa Cruz. The point of view is third person and focuses on each of them at different times, with Justin and Mae being focused on the most. Justin is a servitor, someone who investigates religions and their “fictitious entities” and decides if they can keep practicing, or if they have to disband. But Justin was exiled, and now the RUNA suddenly wants him back to solve a string of murders.

I found Justin to be quite arrogant, and not in the good way where he’s a bad boy and the arrogance works for him. Justin is so not a bad boy. His arrogance is more of the: your way too full of yourself, and you need to shut up now, kind of way. Not that that’s bad, I think it works pretty well with the storyline and he did sort of grow on me as the story went on. He also does have quite a few reasons for being arrogant.  

Mae’s a praetorian, basically a super soldier, and she’s assigned to Justin to protect him. And she doesn’t have to sleep, which I think would be pretty awesome. Imagine how many more books you could read. Mae is your typical non-believer and is fiercely loyal to her country. I liked her character as well. She’s a good balance for Justin, and has quite the intriguing past. She also adds a lot of mystery to the novel to keep you hooked into reading it.

Then there is Tessa. I won’t say much about her because I don’t want to ruin anything, but she’s a pretty awesome character too, and definitely has her role to play in the story.

Overall, I liked this book. It creates a future that is vastly relatable to our present, while throwing mystery and the supernatural in the mix. It also keeps you guessing with all the different theories running around. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes the paranormal with religion thrown in the mix (not like the common religions we have today though, this book focuses on different gods and goddesses), and craves suspense and mystery. There’s also a small bit of romance in this book, but it’s not really the focus of the novel, and is kind of secondary.