Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead
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.
Gameboard of the Gods, the first installment of Richelle Mead’s Age of X series, will have all the elements that have made her YA Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series such megasuccesses: sexy, irresistible characters; romantic and mythological intrigue; and relentless action and suspense. (from goodreads)
There is no secret about the fact that I love Mead's Vampire Academy & Bloodlines series, so when I saw that her new series would be in the Adult genre I jumped two feet first to see if I would love it, and well if there is anything that Mead knows how to do is to create romance, strong female characters who-will-kick-your-arse-literally, kickass scenes and swoon-worthy main characters.
The story is told from three perspectives, Mae Koskinen who is a Praetorian, a soldier, Dr Justin March who is a servitor and Tessa who is brought over from a colony with Justin to become his protege. Mae is sent to retrieve Justin from where he was banished to, to get him to help out with the seemingly religious orientated murders have taken place back in the RUNA. Where it differs from Mead's usual YA situations, it is an Adult book with the influence that drugs, alcohol and sex play a part in.
Mae and Justin start off on the wrong foot, before they even knew who each other were they sleep together, and there relationship goes down hill from there. They are forced to work together, and the secret that Justin keeps from Mae affects there whole relationship, trying to find out who or what is responsible for the ritualistic killings that have been taking place in RUNA.
The influence that the paranormal world is out there and is subtle as no one in the RUNA believes that there are gods out there (expect those who have a house of worshiping), Justin himself believes in it. It plays a major part in who the characters are and why they are like they are even if they themselves do not know it all.
Justin is a drinker, drug addict and sleeps with someone new every other day of the week. He may be brilliant in what he does but he does have some dark issues that come from this whole concept that they are all pieces on the Gods gameboard. Mae being who she is, is genetically advanced and is afraid of any sort of commitment which you see in the first few chapters. She has a dark side which makes her violent and even more aggressive when it comes to fighting. Tessa is a colony girl who is smart and like Justin she can sense that people aren't telling the truth through their voice and body language. She takes a backseat in the main storyline but her influences & abilities help out when needed.
Gameboard of the Gods is a mixture of action, paranormal, dystopian and romance. Once you start you will not be able to stop with Mead's addictive writting style and her way of creating a world which you just sink into.
Thanks Penguin Aus for the e-arc on netaglley!