“Gameboard of the Gods” was a mesh of romance, mystery, thriller, science fiction, dystopia, mythology, fantasy, adult and young adult series. Its also came with a wealth of characters and even close to stream of consciousness in third person narrative although there’s three primary main characters like the stiff upper lip supersoldier; Mae, an exiled hearing voices bad boy superinvestigator; Justin and his young ward Tessa who was also a supergenius. Add to that, there’s multitude of characters and dubious terms and short forms and RUNA/EA culture that was forced into every narration. In fact, I’m not sure whether Richelle even bother about believability or clarity while writing this but apparently having it as a confirmed series does give her a freedom to write everything and clarity is optional.
I know that it was a trend for YA writers to write science fiction and market it as dystopia but this book is clearly unreadable. I could blame the galley’s formatting but I tried it multitude of time to read it for MONTHS and even getting the audiobook. Unfortunately you could dress up a book in many ways and give excuses for it but when you’re halfway through the book and still struggling to read it, the book is undeniably one of the most awful book I ever laid my eyes on.
Try as I might, I am not emotionally invested by all of the characters. Mae and Justin seems to be another reincarnation from Succubus Blues series. Add to the world-building problem, the plot seems barely there too. In fact, I stop trying and I just breeze through the book without even understanding it. Its like trying to read English as a foreign language. I swore I could feel myself being shoved by caste, racism, and reverse feminism all over again. I’m sure there’s a murder case going on but I can’t seem to find it even after wadding through inane futuristic dialogues. Even the action and the sex was meh. Coming from an author who had done good with the whole strigoi and dhampir fight scenes and steamy YA romances, I am surprised when the narrative lack heat and lack consistencies.
I do like Mead’s adult books like Dark Swan but I hated Georgina Kincaid series and this series was catastrophically a disappointment. Shouldn’t someone with several successful book series should at least have a good conscience on not juggling too many things at one time?
“Gameboard of Gods” is a smorgasbord of bad character development, moderate story ideas and bad world-building techniques and with ineffective expositions and was written on the intention that the futuristic society is so unnecessarily complex that no mortals was supposed to understand it. When you know where your strength is, stick to it. Stop trying to fry my brain.
The ARC is provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.