Gameboard of the Gods (book one) introduced religious investigator Justin March and Mae Koshkinen, the beautiful super soldier assigned to protect him. Together they have been charged with the investigating reports of the supernatural and returns of the gods, both inside the Republic of United North America (RUNA) and out. With this investigation come a shocking revelation: not only are the God vying for human control, but the Elect – the humans marked by the divine – are turning against one another in a bloody fashion.
Then Justin and Mae are assigned to a diplomatic delegation headed by Lucian Darling, Justin’s old friend rival, got to Arcadia, the RUNA’s dangerous neighbouring country. Here, in a society where woman 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: find 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 threatens to expose their mission – and with it the divine forces the government is determined to keep secret.
First off, let me start out by confessing my ultimate love for all things Richelle Mead. That woman and her storytelling are amazing. Unfortunately, I didn’t love Gameboard of the Gods as much as I would have liked to and while it was an enjoyable read, it didn’t have the usual grip of her other books.
The Age of X series is an adult read, mostly because of some of the content covered, but also because it is not an ‘easy read’. There is a lot of new terminology and often multiple new words used for the same things which to start off with was hell-a confusing. I mean, the book comes with it’s own glossary at the end.
The Immortal Crown, like Gameboard of the Gods is told from the three perspectives of Justin, Mae, and Justin’s ward Tessa, which was one of the aspects I really enjoyed. Mead knows just when to end one of their perspectives in order to keep you super interested in getting back to their story. It also warmed me up to Tessa, who I wasn’t a huge fan of in book one.
It’s a bit hard to go into the plot because, as you can tell from the blurb, there are so many aspects and intricacies that this review would be twenty pages long. Let’s just say, Arcadia is a really repressive, dangerous (interesting) society where Justin skilfully talks his way out of trouble (as always) and Mae goes off on a nuts endeavour that has you gagging for her next chapter (as always). Meanwhile, Tessa is back in RUNA uncovering the details that sew the book together.
While I actually enjoyed this book a whole lot more than book one, there were some similarities that I wasn’t fond of. Both books take a while to get into the main plot, the plot is focused almost solely on politics and religion which aren’t the two most interesting topics for me, and the action at the beginning has just about nothing to do with the remainder of the book. Also, on a total side note, there were a LOT of names that started with ‘D’ – especially toward the end of the book. Kind of ticked me off a little.
That said, my friend who enjoys both politics and religion absolutely LOVES this series.
With strong characters, intricate plots, and a strange new world, I’d definitely recommend this series. It takes patience (especially if you’re like me) but it is worth it. Especially as the book ends with the appearance of my favourite mischief-maker god (who one of my cats is actually named after because he’s awesome).