"We're pieces on a game board, Dr. March, and some of us are more powerful than others. You. Me. Her. We're the ones the gods want. We're the ones they're fighting over."
When I saw that Richelle Mead was working on a brand new adult series, I jumped for joy. Her Vampire Academy series and its spin-off series, Bloodlines, are two of my favorite series. More recently, I read her Georgina Kincaid series and fell in love with her all over again. Seeing that it was a dystopian novel piqued my interest further because I have not read many books in that genre. So, I dove in and started reading.
I enjoyed Gameboard of the Gods
, but it didn't capture me quite like her other series
did. I appreciated the epic (yes, epic) and beast of world she created. This book takes place at a time after The Decline. The world is broken down into the Republic of the United America and the EU. The government controls almost every part of its citizen's lives from the religion they're allowed to practice to how many children they can have. Every person in RUNA is embedded with an electronic chip that tracks where they go and how they get there. The social hierarchy is broken up into social classes. Castals are at the top with their superior genes, plebians. Each person is scanned and scored, a higher number indicates the quality of your gene pool.
Mae is a praetorian soldier and a castal. Praetorian soldiers are the government's elite line of guards. They are implanted with a chemically charged chip that makes them faster, stronger and very powerful. When Mae is introduced to people as a praetorian soldier, people are terrified and almost want to run away. Mae is very self-contained and in charge of her emotions at all time, but her control slips at her lover's funeral. She attacks fellow praetorian from another troop and gets put on a sort of probation. Her punishment is to travel outside of RUNA to the Panama to the provinces where those who aren't allowed in RUNA stay. In the provinces, the RUNA law does not apply, so people can practice whatever religion they want. Mae's assignment is to the exiled citizen, Dr. Jacob March and bring him back to RUNA.
Jacob March was kicked out of RUNA many years ago, but we don't know why. He is a playboy and heavy partier living in the provinces, but he has a very particular set of skills - he is extremely perceptive and can read anyone like a book. He uses his gifts as a way to manipulate people and win money.
"Too much of his life was spent reading faces and other social cues. He observed too much, deduced too much. Sometimes he just needed a casual throw of the dice to dictate his future."
When he worked as a servitor for RUNA before he was exiled, he made a LOT of money. I enjoyed his interactions with Mae and Teresa.
The government gives Jacob a chance to get his citizenship back. When a series of high-profile people become murdered, the government seeks out Jacob to help solve these murders. His special set of skills come in handy as these murders seem to be connected.
Initially, Mae didn't really like Jacob because of the way in which they first meet. However, as they began to work together in solving the murders that took place in RUNA, they got a long. I enjoyed watching them be annoyed with each other to trusting each other. Their dynamic was interesting and I look forward to going forward with the series, despite the fact that I didn't love this book. Perhaps, their strong friendship will develop into something more as the series progresses. :)
"You know, the first time I saw you—before the alley—my whole world came to a stop. Everything else int hat room faded to nothing, and there was only you, with your beautiful neck and your winter sunlight hair and eyes that commanded the room."
Admittedly, I feel like I need to reread this book in order to fully understanding the mythology and incredibly detailed world-building. This book is a testament to Richelle Mead's brilliant mind and writing talents. Though, for me personally, the complexity of the world building, which lasted throughout the entire novel, was distracting to me. This is most certainly not a book you can skim or read casually, as it takes a lot of concentration.*I received an advanced copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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