Monthly Archives: June 2013

Gameboard of the Gods

This is a review of “Gameboard of the Gods” by Richelle Mead. It is the first novel in the Age of X Series. This is an adult dystopian series.

The world has been brought to the brink of ruin by religious extremists.

Justin March is an exiled Gemman living in Provincial Panama. Panama is nothing like home. Everything feels dated. He longs to return to his homeland, the Republic of United North America (RUNA). Justin yearns for the life he once had, the technology, the refinement and the civility of society in the RUNA. He’d do anything to return.

Mae Koskinen is a beautiful and extremely dangerous Praetorian; a soldier enhanced with an implant that makes her close to invincible. As punishment for an infringement, Mae is stripped of her Praetorian Guard uniform and sent to Panama on an errand. That errand is to locate Justin March, and pass on a message. A message that contains an offer he can’t afford to refuse.

Justin’s expertise is desperately needed to solve a murder mystery. There have been multiple murders, and they all seemed to be tied to one another. Each one seems to be done at a similar time of the month, in a ritualistic way. Even more baffling, the murders seem to have supernatural involvement, and everyone knows that religion is fanciful, and supernatural happenings are, well… bullshit. Justin has got approximately one month before the killer strikes again, if the pattern of the previous murders are followed.

But just because the RUNA is offering Justin exactly want he wants, it doesn’t mean he won’t ask for more. He bargains with his employers to bring the Panamanian daughter of his close friend, into the RUNA as a student. Tessa is a highly intelligent, if very sheltered, young woman, and Justin knows that she’d blossom in the RUNA, with everything it can offer in terms of education.

Both Justin and Mae have very intriguing pasts, and both are not very forthcoming at all. Justin has to solve the mystery surrounding the murders, or it’s back to Panama for him. Can he pull it off?

I love a lot of Richelle Mead’s other works, so it is not surprising to me that I really enjoyed this novel. I loved the plot intricacies. The subject matter, especially the parts involving religion, really made me think. I love the world Mead has created in this series, and I look forward to the next installment. Mead always creates characters that are interesting, a little flawed and that have oodles of charisma. They’re easy to admire and identify with. Justin is as charismatic as Adrian from her YA Bloodlines Series and Vampire Academy Series and Dorian from her adult Dark Swan Series. He’s got charm, intelligence and sex appeal. But he’s not perfect. Mae reminds me a little of Glynn from Isobelle Carmody’s Legendsong Series. I like how the reader explores Mead’s world through different perspectives. In “Gameboard of the Gods” we get to explore events though the eyes of Mae, Justin and Tessa, which adds depth and understanding to the plot. I am definitely looking forward to a sequel (and hopefully more to follow)!

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Scarlet

This is a review of “Scarlet” by Marissa Meyer. It is book 2 in The Lunar Chronicles. It follows on from “Cinder“.

As this book is a part of a series, the following review may reveal some details of the previous novel. Do not read if you intend to read this series in the future and don’t want to know of any potential plot spoilers.

Scarlet Benoit and her grandmother run a farm in the rural French town of Rieux. They’re both strong, independent women who aren’t afraid to speak their mind, and they know their produce. But not all is well at Benoit Farm. Scarlet’s grandmother has gone missing. The police have been no help, and they’ve even closed her case. Scarlet’s grandmother has a reputation for being a little eccentric and more than a bit headstrong. Everyone seems to think she’ll just turn up. But Scarlet knows her grandmother wouldn’t just leave without so much as an au-revoir. It’s up to Scarlet to find her now.

Cinder is having an interesting time. For one, she’s just found out her true identity (and she’s still got to keep it a secret). For two, she’s gained some awesome abilities along with that discovery. For three, she’s in prison. But hopefully not for long. Dr Erland has left her with some brand new cyborg parts that should really come in handy. (Excuse the pun there).

Prince Kai is in a predicament. As the new Emperor of the Commonwealth, he’s had to grow up fast. And he’s had to make some tough decisions. To avoid war with Luna he’s had to placate Queen Levana. And she very badly wants to punish Cinder. But Kai is not comfortable at all with this. Even though he feels horribly betrayed by Cinder, he still can’t shake the effect she’s had on him.

Scarlet meets a street fighter who goes by the name of Wolf. He’s a strange mix of violence and shyness, strength and softness. She doesn’t know if she can trust him, but he’s the only one in Rieux that wants to help her. Together they set off to find Scarlet’s grandmother. Cinder works on her jailbreak and makes an unlikely friend, and Prince Kai does all he can to prevent war with Levana.

I loved this novel. I enjoyed “Cinder“, but I really really loved this. Like “Cinder“, it is a futuristic retelling of a children’s classic tale. “Scarlet” is a re-imagining of Little Red Riding Hood. I loved the melding of Cinder’s and Scarlet’s stories, and I really enjoyed the new characters in this sequel. I felt that Meyer’s writing was a little stronger, and I really enjoyed the dialogue between characters. I can’t wait to read “Cress” next year.

Favourite lines/quotes:
Thorne: “A captain always knows where his ship is. It’s like a psychic bond.”
Cinder: “If only we had a captain here.”

“We’re having another moment aren’t we?”
Carswell Thorne

“Who knows? Tomorrow you might learn about broccoli. By next week, you could know the difference between summer squash and zucchini.”
Scarlet Benoit

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