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4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 17 July 2013
The world building is so extensive and detailed that I can see it vividly in my mind and I feel like I know everything about the RUNA and the provinces. I can't wait for the second book so I can (hopefully?) learn about the EA.

The plot is full of action and excitement, with everything from ritualistic murders to talking ravens. The Gods and religions of Gameboard of The Gods are fascinating without being outlandish. The reasons for The Decline of the world are feasible enough that it reads as a real frightening possibility. Not to mention that I am sure that somewhere today there exists Praetorians! Don't try to convince me that there isn't a geneticist engineering super soldiers, because I'm certain there is.

The characters, Mae and Justin, were strong and unlike any characters I've read before. I'd go so far to say that I love Justin and Mae as much as Mead's other main characters, which is something I didn't expect. Justin was hilarious in parts and heart-breaking in others. Mae was vulnerable, brave, and badass. Tessa was an absolute sweetheart. And Magnus and Horatio are the best characters to ever have been written. I want my own ravens.

I'm not sure what I expected from this book, but I never thought I would love it as much as I did. Richelle's writing is brilliant, with intricate descriptions and emotive dialogue. I fell in love with Gameboard of The Gods within ten percent of reading it, and it is now my favourite Richelle Mead novel - even over the brilliant Bloodlines and Vampire Academy.

I impatiently await the sequel, and recommend that everyone buy this book as soon as possible!
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on 2 January 2014
I saved this book to read when I had a decent amount of time off work and I'm so glad I did. It's easy to forget how well Richelle Mead writes adult novels with so much focus on the Vampire Academy ones and you really have to work to understand what is going on this new world she has created. You aren't handed anything on a plate - you have to wait to find out what gemmans, plebians, castes etc are but it is so worth the wait. Stories with Greek, Roman and Norse gods in are pretty thin on the ground - then make it futuristic sci-fi rather than urban fantasy and you've got a new market altogether. The ravens were the clue for me to where we were heading and I can't wait for the second book.
I was reminded of Jennifer Estep's 'Frost' series, Diana Wynne Jones' 'The Eight Days of Luke' and Tanya Huff's 'Summon the Keeper'. Unlike Kelley Armstrong who tried a move from urban fantasy to crime (Nadia Stafford stories) which failed miserably, Richelle Mead has made the leap to a different genre superbly.
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on 5 June 2013
I had high hopes for this book, the blurb sounds amazing and Richelle Mead is one of my favourite authors of all time. She has a way of writing male characters that I fall in love with and female characters that I want to be like. In many ways this is exactly what I got from Gameboard of the Gods, the idea is amazing and the characters very likeable yet there was just something missing for me and I didn't like this at much as I wanted to.

The world building and storyline is strong which is exactly what I would expect from someone like Mead. This is an awesome idea and there were moments that really came alive for me. Unfortunately there were a few times, especially in the beginning where I wasn't really sure what was going on. There was so much to take in and I found myself a little confused but settled in after a while.

I really loved the characters. Mae is strong, independent and completely kickass. I admired her strength and courage. She was not just muscle she was also caring and at times considerate and I like the journey she is beginning to take. I didn't really want to love Justin because there are aspects of him that I didn't like but I just couldn't help myself. He was completely adorable and I just wanted to smooch him.

I was unsure of the romance and I think that despite loving Justin I don't know if I like him as the love interest. I failed to see the chemistry that Mead is normally so good at and it was a big disappointment.

Another issue was the length, I thought it was just far too long and that there was maybe something's that just were not needed. It started so well but eventually felt like a bit of a chore and I felt like it could have been shorter.

This is still a good book it is just not as good as I thing this author can deliver. I will still wait with bated breath for the next book in the series and I still think there is a lot to like here. This is a strong first book in what looks to be an interesting series.
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on 23 March 2014
First of all let me say that I didn’t finish this book, I only made it to 39%, so my review and rating is on the part that I read.

I had a problem with this book for the get go and that problem was the world building. GotG is set in the future but we are not told anything about this new world. Now I hate it when an author dumps a load of info on you but some background knowledge wouldn’t go a miss, but we aren’t told anything. Now up to the point where I read you get a vague idea of what is going on but not enough and this is a shame because it looks to be an interesting future.

The next thing that didn’t grab me were the characters. Justin, I didn’t particularly like and Mae was just nothing, I didn’t like her but I didn’t dislike her also. Maybe this is to do with where they geographically grew up because one of the other characters in the story, Tessa, grew up in a different region was very likeable. The story is also told from the third person POV which I don’t think helped at all.

The last thing was the actual murder plot. This felt like a back story and was so insignificant that I forgot all about it until it was mentioned again. Then I would be all ‘oh yes they are meant to be solving a murder’.

Whilst reading I felt rather mechanical in turning the pages rather than wanting to know what is going to happen next. I found that my attention drifted and finally I decided life was too short to read books that don’t hook me when there are so many other books out there that will. Maybe this is just a case of it’s me not you because I one of my friends has read GotG and loved it. With that I am giving this book 2 stars.
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I really, really, really wanted to love Gameboard of the Gods. I don't have many authors on auto-buy anymore, Harry Potter is over and Lauren Oliver wrote *that* non-ending but Richelle Mead is always worthy of a fangirl wiggle so when I heard she was publishing a new Adult paranormal/fantasy series I had to have it. I confess my experience with Mead is strictly YA related, I am such a fan of Vampire Academy and Bloodlines but hadn't read her earlier Adult works so I was pretty much going in blind. Straight off one of the most notable absences in this book is Mead's trademark humour that one comes to expect from reading her YA. I think I cracked a smile once throughout the whole book which weighing in at over 450 pages was a bit disappointing. I wasn't expecting jokes a plenty but even Adult stories can have a bit of lightness weaved through it especially when Mead is so good at it.

In the new Age of X series, Mead introduces us to a world where religious extremists have unleashed a genetic virus killing half the population leaving the infrastructure in tatters. After a chaotic several years, the former US and Canada band together in a republic called RUNA. Realising that the genetic effects left behind from the virus are less noticeable in people of mixed ethnicity, a policy of "gene swapping" where people of different racial backgrounds breed is implemented. Certain "castes" resist these attempts and form their own colonies. Years later RUNA considers itself the shining beacon of civilisation with an iron grip on all aspects of its citizens lives. Religion is strictly controlled with licensing to worship needed and those who live outside the boundaries are seen as backward and dangerous to their ordered society.

I found this book at times to be mentally exhausting, there is so many names, places, factions, castes, religions, technology introduced and it was overwhelming at times. An online glossary is provided by Mead which I found vital and hope it is included in the finished book. The world building is teased throughout the book as Mead is clearly reluctant to info-dump simply casually mentioning what later turns out to be vital plot points yet not explaining them until 100 pages later.

The book is told from three perspectives, Mae - a super soldier, Justin - a servitor whose job was to debunk supernatural and religious myths until he was exiled for speculating on their existence and Tessa - a provincial girl "fostered" by Justin who provides us with an outsider's perspective of RUNA. Mae and Justin team up to investigate a series of murders related to religious cults and discover that the world of logic and science so lauded by RUNA may not be free from the supernatural after all.

For me the book's strengths and failings were its characters. When Mead focuses on the back story of Mae and Justin, her writing really shines and it captivated me to know more about two such different people brought together under the most unlikely of circumstances. Unfortunately Mead chooses not to focus on her characters until late in the novel which made it difficult to connect with them and the story overall.

The main story of Science versus Religion was oppressive and sluggish at times. As a major fan of fantasy suspension of disbelief comes naturally however in this book Mead hammers us constantly with anti religious sentiment that by the time the supernatural elements and "Gods" show up I found the story almost laughable. I felt it backfired turning me into a mini Dawkins eye rolling at the conclusion which irked me to be honest.

The 3rd person narrative was a mistake in my opinion as it really alienated the characters from the reader. Mead's strength is in creating amazing, warm, wonderful people who you can't help but love and root for as you live through their eyes and this was noticeably absent.

Despite all the issues I had with the book there was still enough glimpse of the Mead brilliance for story telling to make me want to buy book two. Hopefully with all the initial world building out-of-the-way, the story and characters will take precedence and the Mead magic we all know and love will be back with a bang.
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on 17 August 2013
i am already a fan of richelle mead after reading her vampire academy series and her recent bloodlines one. There were undertones of rose hathatway in mae koskinen and others of adrian ivashkov in justin march, but the world around the characters was definitely new and more adult. i felt drawn into the mystery that is the runa and the mysterious cults popping up. Other reviewers have said that the world is confusing with the mentions of runa, however i felt that this was not so and i can tell you that runa stands for republic of united north america. I enjoyed this novel however i felt that it was not as good as her other series which is why it is a 4 star, however i recommend the novel.
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So I've been trying to do this review for a few weeks now, but I keep putting it off. And I think I know why. Anyone that knows me, knows just how much I love the Vampire Academy and Bloodline series by Richelle Mead, like honestly I'm obsessed. But with this book I just came away feeling confused. Its hard for me to criticise a book by Mrs Mead, but this book had too much going on. The idea behind it was ok, but the religious groups being under investigation just left me scratching my head and at times I felt it was laughable. I'm not religious at all myself, and even though personally I think she had the right idea about 'world nearly being destroyed by religious extremists' it wasn't executed properly in this book.

The characters, well Mae was interesting, I liked her and even though Justin was annoying more than half the time I guess he wasn't a bad character. I was just really confused with the ravens that fallowed him around and seemed to set they're sights on Mae (sorry if you have no idea what I'm talking about, there is only so much I can say without giving this book away). This book had a lot of sub characters too, sometimes way to many to all take in properly specially as the book went from being a duo point of view to some times a trio.

I didn't feel like the book flowed very well. One minuet Justin was onto something to do with the case, next thing you are in school with Tessa. I just think this book wasn't for me. Its hard to say that, but it didn't really hold my interest that much. I will however read the next one to find out what happens, but that might just be more to my inability to leave a series unfinished.
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on 19 July 2015
I used to love her books, but I can't finish this one. I don't care about the characters who have no depth or any redeeming qualities, which in turn makes me not care what happens to them. A very poorly written book about a boring plot that just isn't gripping. I wish I could score it zero stars.
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on 29 August 2013
This book was different from Richelle Meads usual books, I wasn't sure I would like a futuristic story line because I am not a big fan of sci-fi and the two usually go together, but because it is Richelle mead I gave it a shot. And I am so glad I did. I love all things paranormal and this had bucket loads. I am actually salivating at the thought of book 2! If you are a paranormal fan a richelle fan or a fan of myth and legend this book is definitely worth your time!
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on 11 April 2014
I loved this book almost from the get go. The characters are interesting, the world building is well done, and the god plot line was able to draw me in. Justin is a great character, being smart and charming but having enough problems to keep him from becoming dull. Mae's strength and all round kick-assness make her one of my favorite female characters I've read in some time. The one thing I am concerned with though is that Mae and Justin as the main characters seem predestined to be together. While Justin is an amazing character he has made too many mistakes for it to be fair for him to be with Mae. He constantly brakes of there relationship in the most humiliating ways for Mae, and while the reason for it is understandable, it does not change the fact that he could find kinder ways to do it or even tell her the truth. He chooses not to because it would take away from the cool, composed, charming personality that he has envisioned for himself and ever make Mae believe he is crazy or that he actually has a heart. Even at the end of the book Justin could of told Mae why he could not be with her and she would of understood, but instead he choose to act like an ass.
Wow some of that sounds rather like a rant, but in a way that is a good thing because it means that this book has inspired strong opinions in me and it will do the same to you. It was amazing
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