22 August 2013

Gameboard of the Gods

Author: Richelle Mead
Series: Age of X #1
Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars
Verdict: Bury

I wasn't sure what to think of this book when I got started on it.  It is definitely slow to start, and at first glance you can't tell if it is meant as adult fiction or young adult fiction.  With Mead's history, I expected it to be along the lines of YA.  After all, the only reason I gave this novel a chance was because I enjoyed the Vampire Academy series.  I am not one to read about religion (just as I am not a big fan of vampire novels), and thus even the title of this book was perhaps a bit daunting.  But I figured I would give it ago.  With the writing style and dialogue, you would think it is a YA novel.  After all, at least for the first third to half of the book, the characters are not very dimensional, the dialogue is not very sophisticated, and the writing style in general screams of YA.  Yet, the themes and plots push heavily towards adult fiction.  The main characters are quickly ripping each others' clothes off and enjoying a night of no harnessed passion at first meeting, and then they are brought in to investigate a string of murders.

The writing style did improve as the story went along, as did the pace of the novel and the plot in general.  Yet, but the end, I still find it hard to classify this novel as a solid adult fiction venture for Mead.  I think she would have been better off toning down the elements and themes some and targeting this novel to her YA following that she obtained through VA and the spin off novels.

I don't want to get into a philosophical debate or a religious one.  I classify myself as someone who has faith, but does not buy into what religion as a whole is selling.  The premise of the novel is certainly interesting and unique from what I have read (though again, I try to stay away from religious books), yet for a murder mystery of types it wasn't an edge of your seat ride and even though the pace definitely picked up in the second half of the novel, it was still difficult to continue chugging along at some points.  This novel was not a read under the covers by penlight type of novel by any standards.  Still, the characters at least started to grow on me, and at the end I didn't feel as if the time invested into this hefty novel was a waste.  The world she creates as a type of light dystopian after the Decline is interesting and a bit different; as a whole, I had some fundamental flaws with the politics in her world and beliefs in general, but who knows for certain what the future will bring?  Perhaps a bunch of the smaller southern states really will annex themselves off before the Republic of Texas does.

As for the continuation of the series, if I am going to be leaning more towards adult fiction and away from YA fiction in the future, I am not going to start with this series.  While this novel was interesting enough, I think I will treat is as a stand alone and not continue with the Age of X.  This book was decent, don't misread me, but I don't think it was good enough to warrant further adventure into shadow people and mystical ravens.

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