Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
When I first saw this on Goodreads, I cheered. A new novel from one of my favourite authors!
Then, I saw I could request an ARC of it. I went crazy.
Then, I got approved to read it.
I cozied up and started reading.
And oh, I wanted to love this. I really, really did. But sadly, this just wasn't for me. But, on the bright side, it did inspire me to create a shelf named 'it's not you, it's me'. Because that's how I feel about this. Because there are going to be lots of people who will devour this, cry because it's over, give it five stars and gush about Mastermind Mead.
I am just not one of those people.
So, Gameboard of the Gods is this sci-fi/urban fantasy/dystopian about Justin March, who was exiled but now called back to the RUNA, a futuristic American country. He's supposed to solve a murder mystery, gets a gorgeous guardian named Mae Koskinen and gets involved with gods. Sounds good, no?
Unfortunately, it was boring. And like, really boring. I only kept reading because I was hoping that it would be less boring, that there would be a major surprise, or a mindblowing ending that would earn the book five stars no matter what. I try to always finish a book, but damn, I was close to DNF'ing this.
That doesn't mean there was no action. Oh no, there were plenty of fighting scenes. But still, it was really hard to keep my attention to it. I'd be reading it and then go...
"... Ooh, nice song on the radio!" *starts humming*
"... God, my dog is so cute."
"... Is there food anywhere? I'm getting hungry."
"... Why did it suddenly start raining?"
... Yeah. I had to say to myself "You ARE going to finish it, and NOW at that!" to finish this. And even then, I read it reluctantly. *sigh* I'm just so disappointed, because this should have been my new favourite book of 2013.
One thing that didn't help was the worldbuilding - or rather the lack thereof. At first, I had no idea what was what, which country did what, etc. Don't get me wrong - I like it when an author has guts and throws you into a world with no hand-holding, but I would have liked more information there. I finished this and I still don't know how everything happened.
This doesn't mean that this was an awful book, though. Like I said, many people are going to love this. One thing I really love is how Mead creates real, flawed characters in every book she writes. Justin and Mae were both very readable and and very flawed. That's good, because really, who isn't flawed?
And while at times Mae reminded me of Rose with her mad fighting skills and battlelust, and Justin reminded me of Adrian, with his drinking and women-addiction, they were also very distinct of the Vampire Academy cast. This shows Mead's skills, because it can be very hard to create a character that is a little like some other character, but is a whole other person (if that makes sense).
Also, Mead's prose is as always steady and very loveable.
Basically, I can some this review up in four words:
Unfortunately, not for me.