Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead takes place in a distant, technological future, where the world was nearly devastated by religious extremists; exiled protagonist Justin March is offered a chance of redemption when he and Mae Koskinen, fearless soldier of the nation’s military, cross paths and together attempt to solve a string of religious and ritualistic murders.
For those of you that have read Mead’s Vampire Academy series, Gameboard of the Gods is more mature, more complex and offers a perspective and style of narrative that is much different to that of Rose and Sydney’s in VA and Bloodlines. Gameboard of the Gods is different to her other books, and pleasantly so. Mead shows her talent as a writer with well-executed world-building that involves nuanced layers of systems, ideology and history. The exploration of the incongruence of religion/spirituality and science is explored, as well as undertones of prejudice, as explored through Tessa’s experiences as a foreigner.
I particularly enjoyed the inclusion of mythology (two ravens!), and how this becomes a significant plot point as you progress through the novel. Though this may feel like a book that inclines towards a technological-rational perspective at first, worldviews and ideologies are confronted and challenged, with brings an interesting and compelling shift of mood in the book.
Though Gameboard of the Gods undeniably conveys itself as the first of a series, rather than a standalone, I enjoyed this book – unexpectedly too – as an entertaining, fun but compelling read. Gameboard of the Gods may not be a book to take seriously – because there is room for critique – but it’s a fun read. Perfect for satisfying that jouissance.
Book Name: Gameboard of the Gods
Book Series: Age of X #1
Author: Richelle Mead
Publisher: Dutton Adult