Published by Penguin on May 29, 2014
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, General, Paranormal,Science Fiction
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Gameboard of the Gods introduced religious investigator Justin March and Mae Koskinen, the beautiful supersoldier assigned to protect him. Together they have been charged with investigating reports of the supernatural and the return of the gods, both inside the Republic of United North America and out. With this highly classified knowledge comes a shocking revelation: Not only are the gods vying for human control, but the elect—special humans marked by the divine—are turning against one another in bloody fashion.
Their mission takes a new twist when they are assigned to a diplomatic delegation headed by Lucian Darling, Justin’s old friend and rival, going into Arcadia, the RUNA’s dangerous neighboring country. Here, in a society where women are commodities and religion is intertwined with government, Justin discovers powerful forces at work, even as he struggles to come to terms with his own reluctantly acquired deity.
Meanwhile, Mae—grudgingly posing as Justin’s concubine—has a secret mission of her own: finding the illegitimate niece her family smuggled away years ago. But with Justin and Mae resisting the resurgence of the gods in Arcadia, a reporter’s connection with someone close to Justin back home threatens to expose their mission—and with it the divine forces the government is determined to keep secret.
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♦ Full disclosure, I have a bit of a Richelle Mead issue. She is one of my auto buy authors and I am anxiously awaiting her newest Soundless. So when I realized I had somehow missed the publication date of her second Age of X, The Immortal Crown I went right out and picked it up. Now this is not a series you can start with the second book, so if you have not read the first, Gameboard of the Gods, please start with that one. And make sure you read the glossary before the book. The first book was mostly world building so I was able to jump right into the second. The Gods are starting to become more bold and their fight for power and control is bleeding into the human world. Two of the people affected, Justin and Mae, are still trying to come to terms with the manipulation from above and from the God’s messengers on Earth, the Elect. Joining a peace mission they realize that the truths they know are nothing but a façade and that everyone’s motives are suspect. The tension rises when Mae goes rogue in a nation where women are property and seen as a commodity. The interplay of a post-dystopian society rising from the ashes of a lethal virus and the rise of the immortals is a nice twist on the standard end of the world fare. This series is an interesting take on mythology as different pantheons that normally do not interact are vying for control at the same time. The world’s created by Mead are top-notch and I happily await the next installment.
◊ Favorite lines from Chapter 18 – “Yes, he could freely admit that it had been pretty thrilling. but as he’d learned from his lifetime of substance abuse, a high wasn’t always worth what you paid for it. The potential to lose control was too great. He’d discovered that with drugs on more than one occasion and wasn’t sure he could win if he tried it with a god.”
¤ Biggest cliché – “I love you but I must not have you but I love you.”
Δ If an ancient pantheon returned to power, which one would you want it to be?