Review: Gameboard of the Gods
Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A fascinating new urban fantasy. I couldn't put this book down. Ms. Mead captured my attention with her Georgina Kincaid succubus series. Both her Vampire Academy and Dark Swan series also kept my attention on her. Of the series I've read, this is the best one for me. Let me explain why.
I love stories where there are higher power beings moving humans as gameboard pieces. I enjoy reading a person's interpretation of gods and goddesses. When they can take an age old concept and twist into their own and make it fresh, I'm impressed. It reminds me of [a:Sharon Shinn|28544|Sharon Shinn|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1218995575p2/28544.jpg]'s Samaria series which is a different and fantastical look at God and angels. I'm sure for those of us who are of Christian religion, Ms. Shinn's series is blasphemous. Ms. Mead doesn't go quite as far yet. Currently she's using a mythology which I immediately assimilate due to my own knowledge of different mythologies. It is surprising one of the main characters took so long to figure it out. Honestly, with his background, I would have thought he'd have figured it out within a couple of days. Instead, over four years later, he finally gets it.
From the start of this story, I'm enthralled because I liked Mae. I understood her rage and fear. While the world building is not explained in a fast manner, the rate it is revealed worked well for me. I like the order of this world and I can see how it happens. It is kind of speculative fiction mixed with a dystopic world. Both of these types of genre appeal to me.
Justin is the other main character in this story. His plight is interesting. He's an exile who has been cast out of "Eden". From a character perspective, I like both Mae and Justin. They are not perfect. They are multidimensional with their own past. This past is what makes them what they are today in the book. Learning about their experiences and now it defines them and how they behave is well done. When an author can do this well, I'm always thrilled.
There are so many religious undertones and parallels which makes me really happy. It's because it is familiar yet new to me and also makes me think. I want to discuss this book with others because there are so many little nuances to explode out into more detailed analysis. The layers it took to build this world is quite mind blowing. Ms. Mead will either soar to the stars or crash and burn.
I say this because she is ambitiously blending several pantheons into one world. The only other author whom I've ever read do to this so successfully is [a:Jacqueline Carey|9237|Jacqueline Carey|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1205262579p2/9237.jpg] with her Kushiel series. Not only must Ms. Mead be able to explain how all of these different gods and goddesses can exist at the same time, she must also keep them close enough to their lore and reinterpret into a fresh look. This requires thorough research to satisfy those who are experts in the mentioned pantheon. It also requires creativity to make it her own. So far, she's done an excellent job and I eagerly look forward to the next book in the series.
I highly recommend to book to urban fantasy lovers who want a book which makes one think about "what if".
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