My rating: 4 of 5 stars
After enjoying Richelle Mead‘s Vampire Academy and Bloodlines novels, I decided to check out her latest novel. Gameboard of the Gods is the first of the Age of X books. It takes place in the future, thought the exact year isn’t given. The world has apparently been changed by a disease that causes physical damage to the bodies of those who survived it, as well as their descendents.
The post-infection world is filled with quite a bit of turmoil. Some governments try to quash religious worship, while others try to force it on their citizens. Bigotry and intolerance based on religion, race, class, and other factors run rampant. Nationalism is encouraged in the non-religious RUNA, as is xenophobia. These mindsets have impacted all of the characters in different ways.
The story is very intriguing, but I would recommend that anyone who starts on it try to finish it as soon as possible. There is a lot to remember, so it is best to focus on the story and not get distracted in any way. (Easier said than done, I know.) The three main characters (Justin, Mae, and Tessa) are entertaining and complex. Each has a history that he or she is, in some way, trying to get away from. Each plays a major part in the actual plot, though it doesn’t really seem that way early on.
Like other novels by Mead, this one contains witty banter, suspense, and a bit of angst. It is a well developed story and there isn’t much of a sense of dragging. It is engaging and I found myself not wanting to put it down once I would start reading. The only thing that I would worry about with other readers is that they might think it is too complicated and they might not enjoy the underlying social tensions.