13 June 2013

DNF: Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead

Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead
Age of X #1
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Dutton Adult
Source: Bought
Goodreads Stars: DNF
Rating: DNF

Pages Read: ~84 (18%)

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. - Goodreads

In the past, I never used to post reviews of books that I didn't finish. I didn't feel like I could write enough about them for the post to be considered a review. But I have changed my mind, and decided to give this a try. Please don't class this as an "official" review, more of my jumbled thoughts on the book and why I wasn't able to finish it.

My heart is broken, guys. I can't believe I just put down a Richelle Mead book. What has my life become? Anyway, I do have a few reasons for not being able to finish this one, and you'll find those below. To put it briefly, I didn't like it. To elaborate a bit more, I wasn't a fan of the characters. Which is awful because normally I am in love with at least a couple of Mead's characters in her books. I had two favourites in the Dark Swan series, and Vampire Academy was packed full of awesome characters. Agh, what happened with this one?

So the main character, Mae... Sure, she was strong and pretty badass when it came to fighting, but I felt like that was the only thing making her character interesting. She had nothing else going for her, because I didn't feel as though she was introduced properly before we skipped over to Justin's POV.

Justin had voices inside his head, which could have been great but instead it was just confusing. In addition to that, he was arrogant, a womaniser, and he enjoyed getting his own way, all of which are traits I wouldn't necessarily expect of someone who's been exiled for many years.

Together the pair had no chemistry whatsoever. This was very disappointing for me since I love Mead's other pairings (i.e. Rose and Dimitri, and Eugenie and Dorian) and they all had bucket loads of chemistry. Mae and Justin, on the other hand, had none. They have sex very early on in the book, and I would have thought I would at least feel something from them. The scene just proved to me that there was no hope for them. And yes, I judged early on, but chemistry is an important factor when you're searching for OTPs, okay?

I think that one of the reasons I wasn't able to connect to the characters more is the fact that this book is written in first person, and it switches POVs. I felt very disconnected, which wasn't helped by the fact that the characters didn't pull me in to start with. I think Mead works best with first person. In my educated opinion, that is.

There was also a lot of confusion over the references and terms that are used in this book. It was extremely difficult to know what the characters were talking about half the time, since they used terms like "Gemmen" and "RUNA", which hadn't been explained properly by the time I stopped reading. I was able to get the general gist of it, though. There is also a glossary available on Richelle Mead's website, but I don't think a reader should have to use a glossary so early on, much like how I don't think a reader should have to read an author's blog post in order to remind themselves of who characters are because the sequel is so bloody confusing.

It breaks my heart to DNF a Richelle Mead book. I've been a fan of hers for a few years now, and I have either loved or deeply enjoyed all her other books (the ones that I have read, anyway). But it had to be done. I have seen others who have run into similar problems with you, Gameboard of the Gods, so I take comfort in the fact that it's not me, it's you.


  1. I had been struggling to finish this book too. So glad I'm not the only one.

  2. :( sorry this one didn't work for you - not that I've read it myself, but if there's no spark with the characters I'd probably feel the same.

    Totally not down with the glossary thing - it's great to have that as a reference if you forget, but not so you have to check it to make the book readable.

  3. I didn't like this one either, but I made it to the end. I have to say, I still don't understand most of the world, which is upsetting. And I don't like any of the characters. You're absolutely right in saying that Mae and Justin have no chemistry. All of their interactions seem stiff and forced.

    Angie @ Pinkindle Reads & Reviews

  4. I’ve seen so many low reviews for this one and it’s making me kind of sad, lol. I had high hopes because it had a cool premise but everyone has the same complaints so far. I wish it could have been a better read for.

    Hyacinth Marius (Everett Bankruptcy Attorney)

  5. I'm sorry this book didn't work out for you, Amber! I've only read two of Mead's books, the first in the VA series and I really enjoyed them. I'll finish those books up and then read the spin-off, but I flipped through Gameboard of the Gods at the bookstore and it just didn't look like something I'd be interested in, and your review supports my thinking, lol. Thank you for the hones review.

  6. I've read more negative reviews about this book. It's such a shame when an author you adore writes a book that just doesn't work for you. I can see why you didn't like it. Justin sounds like a character I'd like to avoid and I hate it when there is no chemistry.

  7. I haven't started this book yet, but I usually have a tough time getting into a dystopia world. I really liked Richelle Mead other series, so will give this one a try.

  8. I DNF'd this too for the exact same reasons! I really love her YA books haven't read her other adult series. But I was highly disappointed with this one.


  9. I got this one on audio because I was having a hard time with the galley version. I plan on delving into it next week :) You kinda confirmed what I thought---decent beginning but knowing Richelle the next one will be out of the park!

    Hyacinth Marius (Everett Bankruptcy Attorneys)

  10. I finished this one, but I could only give it 2.5 stars, and I was just as heartbroken as you were! I didn't connect with Mae or Justin either, and even I got the mythology stuff, I thought it wasn't that well done. I have read all of RM's other books, and enjoyed them, both the YA and the adult ones, so I don't think that's it. I still think I might try the 2nd book in Age of X series, though, because I kind of want to see where she plans to go with all of it.

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

  11. This is very different from Richelle Mead's other work so if you go in thinking it will be similar you'll be sadly disappointed. I really enjoyed this one, but I knew going in I'd have to have patience and be in it for the long haul. I didn't mind because I knew this was the first in a series and it takes some time to set these things up, especially with urban fantasy reads. Sorry this didn't work out for you, Amber. :(

  12. I reviewed this one today & despite enjoying the world-building I found the characters lackluster.

    Like you, I'm a big Richelle Mead fan so its a shame this one was a let down.

    A wonderful, honest review.

  13. The chemistry is one of the main reasons why I love VA so much and it's so important, ESPECIALLY when the characters have sex in the first 80 pages. (I mean, COME ON.) From everything I've heard I'll probably won't read this book. I'll try the recap XD


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