Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead was nothing like what I was expecting. For full disclosure, I should state that I have not read anything by Mead yet. I selected this arc through the YA list; however, about 8% in I realized this is not exactly YA. Trying to categorize this book as MYA or Adult FIC is difficult, because of the writing style. You receive both MC’s point of view, but also Tessa who is about 16 years old. In this dystopian world religion has been wiped out in this dystopian world, which leads to the perfect environment for gods to try to reclaim their existence.
The book opens up with Mae, who is a Praetorian guard, an elite force for this dystopian society. Praetorians are pumped with chemicals throughout the day for their entire career to make sure they maintain the lethal weapon status. Mae’s ex-beau has been killed in action and she now has to attend his funeral. During the funeral Mae get into a fight (where she breaks someone’s leg, no biggie) and has to report to her higher up. Upon reporting she is told that she will be given an assignment (she thinks it is her punishment for the fight), so Mae gets ready for her new assignment.
Enter Dr. Justin March. He used work for the government researching religious groups to maintain a balance. People are still allowed to worship; however, the government controls how far they can go with their churches and meetings. During one of his routine rounds something occurred that had him exiled to Panama. Now he spends all his time drinking, getting high and going home with lovely ladies, including Mae (this is how I realized it was a little too descriptive and quick to be just YA). March is being brought back to the folds of the society that exiled him, because there is murderer on the loose and March might be the right guy to solve this case.
What ensues is a crazy love/hate relationship between Justin and Mae, digging up past secrets, delving into the occult, oh and dealing with the supernatural. You see Justin and Mae have been signaled out by gods to become the elite, but in a world that no longer believes in gods how can you convince either one of the importance of their roles? The story was faced paced, and I loved Justin’s sister and Tessa, a girl from Panama who is the daughter of one of Justin’s friends. He brought Tessa with him to give her a chance to become something in life, a chance she would not have gotten in Panama. Definitely an engrossing read meant for mature YA and adults.
Thanks Net Galley and Edelweiss.