Tuesday 7 May 2013

Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead (Age of X #1)

Genres: Adult, Sci-fi, Dystopian, Fantasy/Mythology
Publication Date: June 4th 2013
POV: Alternating
Smut-O-Meter: 5 out of 10
My Rating: Did Not Finish


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.

Gameboard of the Gods, the first installment of Richelle Mead’s Age of Xseries, will have all the elements that have made her YA Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series such megasuccesses: sexy, irresistible characters; romantic and mythological intrigue; and relentless action and suspense.


I don't rate DNF books, but if I did I would probably give this 1 star. It didn't captivate me, but the story was probably the best part of the book. In a futuristic world where religion is closely monitored and almost outlawed, Justin is a servitor, someone who investigates religions and shuts down the dangerous ones. He is sort of a mentalist, and is helping solve serial murders which are believed to have religious connections. But, the strange thing is, that gods are real. And Justin knows it. There is involvement from Greek, Roman, and Norse gods. I don't know if they are good or bad, or involved with the murders since I didn't finish the book, but they are there.

The story moved really slowly, it reads like a detective novel and really didn't keep my interest. I didn't like the writing style either. It was distant, and formal, and reminded me a lot of the one Kathy Reichs book I read. I did not enjoy it so that is not a compliment. The writing really did not feel connected to the characters at all. I felt like I was just watching from a distance. Like I was reading a history book.

I also found it really really difficult to understand the world I was in. I don't know how far in the future this is supposed to be set, but I imagine its pretty far, since the country names are different. But Richelle Mead didn't even seem to bother trying to help us adjust. She threw us into this world and didn't try to explain it. I had no idea what was going on and I could not follow most of the conversations because half the words were new to me. It was really frustrating, and whatever small motivation I had to continue reading disappeared in my confusion. I don't remember the narration ever, even once, stopping to explain a new term to us. I would prefer info-dumping over this. I still have no idea if she was using the word patrician in the traditional way. And even if she was, this is a futuristic America. An explanation of the new context would have been nice. I really couldn't get a grasp of what was happening, or the characters because of this.

But I didn't care for the characters anyway. I am almost seething when I think of them. At first, I thought Mae was the main character, because the first chapter was from her POV, but then it began to alternate with Justin, and more of them were from Justin's POV. The chapter POV ratio was probably 3:1. Justin was smart, but he was disgusting to me. He was a horrible MC. He was a rude, womanizing ass with a drug problem. Seriously! He makes me so angry! He thinks its a good time to end up unconscious on the floor of a seedy bar. And he is so arrogant and full of himself and just blah! Then there is Mae, who is also arrogant but not because of her intelligence, but because of her upbringing, or heritage, or caste. I dont even know which one because this is one of the things about the book that I couldn't understand. She was so stuck up and proud. She thought she was so much better than everyone else. Too good for Justin. Normally I would say everyone is too good for Justin, but when you start acting like a bitch, then you don't really have the right to say that.

There were also occasional chapters from the POV of Tessa. A sixteen year old girl who was Justin's ward and I have no idea what her relevance was. But when I stopped reading, at 42%, she still didn't seem important. She was an ok character, but nothing special. She was smart, like Justin, so maybe she will help them later on in the book or the series. I don't care and I don't intend to find out.

The characters in this were so repulsive, and the storytelling so frustrating, that when I see the cover of the book it nearly makes me nauseous. I am no longer as excited to read Vampire Academy as I was before. The story and characters may be better, but I don't know if that alone will be enough to make me read it, if the writing-style is anything like in this.

“You can put on as many airs as you want, but in the end, that dress is the same as you: an old, cheap design dressed up to look like its worth more than it is.”

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