I generally try to stay away from authors with leagues of screaming fangirls and anticipatory memes covering the Goodreads review page of their not-yet-published titles. I made an exception in this case, mostly because I have a weak spot for fantasy—especially fantasy referencing off-the-beaten-path mythology [this does NOT mean you, Rick Riordan] & with just, you know, a little bit of romance.
Richelle Read, who you may know from the Vampire Academy series (I think there’s a TV series based on the books?) is publishing her twentieth novel (so what have you done so far today?). The title is Gameboard of the Gods, and unlike Vampire Academy, this is a book for grown-up peoples. Scoot, kiddies. Here there be….some not PG-rated parts.
Gameboard of the Gods follows Mae, a “praetorian” (read: super-soldier) with a mysterious past & commitment issues; Justin Marsh, a cult expert/Ph.D./guy with mysterious past & voices in his head; and Tessa, a spunky immigrant. The book’s set in an alternate present/future, where the U.S./Canada has become the Republic of United North America (the southeast spun off and become Arcadia, because apparently the Cajuns won that one?). The capital? Vancouver. Yes. Richelle Mead is that awesome. Also, if you’re paying attention, we have RUNA, and praetorians in uniform, and there are castes, and apparently yes, this is the Roman Empire. Except in Canada/Northern U.S.
Anyway, RUNA is controlled by this crazy super-government that oppresses all religions because of some huge backstory that I’m not going to go into, and Justin Marsh has been called out exile to handle some strange murder case, and Mae is assigned to protect him, but off course there’s sparks, and all the things that you would expect to happen, do. I mean, this is not a plot that’s going to knock you off your feet with its originality, but it’s fast, exciting, and kept me up ‘til midnight [which is wayyyy past my bedtime] because I wanted to see who ended up together, dangit.
It was fun. It reminded me, strangely enough, of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, if you’ve read that, but mostly because of the gods part. & some other things that I can’t really share without spoilers.
Anyway, it was fun. Perfect book to read on the beach or when you’re home sick from work. The characters are lovable even through all the clichés, and the dialogue is clever & witty.
Get this one from the library or an indie bookstore near you when it publishes on June 4th.
Disclaimer: I received this book free from NetGalley in return for a fair review