Gameboard of the Gods
Out today is Gameboard of the Gods is the first in a new non-vamp series, the Age of X from Richelle Mead. Mead is probably best known for her bestselling YA series, Vampire Academy and Bloodlines, and having read them (well at least the Bloodines series) I can say that Gameboard of the Gods is more enjoyable.
Set in a futuristic world where two governments hold the power and the wealth, the Republic of North America (RUNA), and the Eastern Alliance (EA) we meet our ‘hero’, Justin in a bar in one of the out outlying provinces (aka the other countries that are considered and culturally and technologically inferior). He’s living a life of exile and making his living as a carnival show piece for a wealthy businessman. A life that he, surprisingly, doesn’t find fulfilling. So, when the chance to head back to RUNA on a temporary citizen visa he takes it.
Mae is a member of the military elite, the physical representation of everything RUNA stands for – control and strength – and following an incident Mae is seconded (or punished) and finds herself working with Justin.
In RUNA all religions, including the main religion of godlessness (think morals and general good principles to live by like safe sex) are heavily controlled and licenced and a series of possibly religiously based murders are the reason for Justin’s return to investigative duties as a servitor. Justin along with Mae and a cast of supporting characters look into the shadows at the fringes of society to solve the murders, and end up finding more than anticipated (the supernatural / paranormal stuff) – things that bring to light new questions that threaten the order of RUNA.
The fact that neither Mae or Justin really want to work together brings in a nice element of sexual tension (guys don’t worry it’s not gushy romance) and what I liked about Gameboard of the Gods is that Mae is the powerhouse of strength and Justin the intelligent but sassy sidekick – a combination that is so often reversed in futuristic fantasy.
Overall Gameboard of the Gods has the right mix of mystery, futuristic fantasy, detective and romance to make it a solid start to a series that is worth the read and one I’ll be keeping an eye out for book 2 of.
If you want my thoughts on other Richelle Mead titles you’ll find my review of Bloodlines here (The Indigo Spell and The Golden Lily don’t seem to have made it to the blog, so I’ll find those and post them up soon!)