Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead (Antonia’s review)

Goodreads Summary: 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.

I don’t even know where to start. Every single part of this book intrigued me. Every time I got used to a new concept, another was thrown at me. Every time a question was answered it gave me five more. The first couple chapters were a little slow, but as soon as I got past that (around where Justin and Mae met) I could not put it down.
The main reason I read this book was because of Richelle Mead. I adore her books and was so happy when I learned she started a new series. However I think I might have picked this book up regardless. I love books about mythology. I love books about magic. And although they’re not autobuy subjects of mine, I really enjoy futuristic and dystopian books too. This book has all of it. Mead managed to throw so many different subjects and concepts into this book; and managed to make them work really well together. Quite often so many topics are overwhelming and confusing. This book was overwhelming in a “I wish I could read this faster I just want to know what happens!” kind of way. And the only confusion I had was when Mead deliberately made me want to know more and more and more.
As for the characters, I loved all of them. Mae is my favorite. She’s so strong and independent which I completely respect. But she still has vulnerabilities that she hides because she’s too proud to show anyone that side of her. I think that’s what annoyed Amanda a little bit, but that side of Mae was what made it easy for me to relate to her.
Now I’ll talk about Justin. Oh, Justin… I could never keep track of how I felt about him. Half the time I was just so aggravated with him and the other half I was violently in love with him. He was an asshole; he was arrogant; he was caring; he had a strong sense of self preservation; he was funny. He was such a well-rounded character that I couldn’t help but be invested in his story even when I didn’t like him all that much.
There were quite a few secondary characters. Tessa was the young girl that Justin brought back to the RUNA with him on a student visa. She was cute and sweet for most of the book. Then before I noticed it happening, she became confident and grew into herself. I can’t wait to see her grow more. Mae’s friends Val and Dag were a great addition to add humor into different sections. Every time I read about them I was laughing. I also really enjoyed what Justin’s friend Leo added to the story as a technical genius, though his boyfriend Dominic was rather annoying.
There were only one or two things I wish had been different. I think I would have liked it better if there was slightly less religion. I’m not one of those people that hate to see religion in books. I actually like it because you don’t see it too often. And it worked as such an amazing contrast to the mythology and magic. However, there were some parts where it was a bit too much for me and I would have rather had more of the myth or magic.
The other is that I really wish I had more answers to my questions. It’s just so goddamn hard to wait. I need to know everything right now!
Overall, I would recommend this book to pretty much everyone. Since it has a little bit of everything in it, I think anyone who likes dystopian or paranormal or romance or scifi would enjoy this book.
As always, let me know what you think and if you’ve read it I’d love to hear your opinion.
-Antonia

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