03 June 2013

ARC Review: Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead

Expected Publication: June 4th, 2013
464 pages
Publisher: Dutton Adult

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.

Despite having a plot that's all over the place, Gameboard of the Gods will keep you completely hooked. I just couldn't put it down, even though I didn't enjoy the story so much. That's saying something about Mead's writing. Gameboard of the Gods was entertaining and interesting enough, however I had expected so much more from this writer that I've heard so much about and maybe that was the problem.

I'm so conflicted about the plot! I liked it but I know there were some huge problems with it. Foremost the world-building was a bit weird, too many unexplainable things. I get that religion was banned but I didn't understand why (how did it come to that?). And I thought the reason that the Decline happened in the first place was a virus, but then religion illogically takes the blame. Then, there were the castes that were also highly illogical and against the RUNA's own rules. Nevertheless I enjoyed the premise about Justin and Mae working together to catch this murderous cult and how this was executed was also really captivating. But for me, the other plot lines weren't necessary to make this novel more interesting, it only succeeded in making it the more complicated and unlikable.

The characters were mostly interesting enough. Justin was a really charismatic character, he was just full of himself and that was entertaining to read. His relationship with Mae was also a nice addition to the series, since it's more mature and yet still full of complications and ups and downs, yet I would have liked for it to be less downs and more ups. Mae was a difficult character for me. At times, I really enjoyed her presence but in others (most of the time), I just wanted her to disappear. Tessa was a worthless character, she was nice and all but I still don't understand her role in the story. At least, I don't think that her story was worthy of its own POV in the novel.

Gameboard of the Gods is a more mature read, I would rather put it in the New Adult section than in the YA genre. The plot was a bit over the place, as mentioned; I would have enjoyed it more if the author had just concentrated the story on just one story line. There were too many details that could have been left out, in my opinion the whole caste thing could have been left unmentioned. The most interesting aspect of the novel was the religious problems and how they tried to uncover the cults and I guess that the Gods trying to possess people was also an interesting premise. Nonetheless Mead succeeded in captivating me throughout it and that's the reason this novel will be receiving a three stars rating. I was eager to get to the end of the novel and now I am certainly expecting the sequel to know how things will play out.

Huge thanks to Dutton Adult for providing me with a copy in exchange of an honest review!


  1. after Vampire Academy i think i am prepared the hear something more more Mead.... i'm pretty excited about this book....

    Aparajita @Le' Grande Codex

  2. Writing this book tempts me to believe in angels...or deals with the devil. Succubus Blues is original, exciting, seductive stuff, filled with characters I'd sell my soul to meet.

    Hyacinth Marius (Everett Bankruptcy Attorneys)