Book Review: Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead

I read Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series and LOVED IT! (But the movie looks like it pales in comparison, from the trailer I watched). Mead has a talent with world building, going past the obvious physical features of her worlds and characters that most authors focus on and creating a culture for the characters to exist in. (An examples from VA is the concept of blood whores.) This was present in her new book, Gameboard of the Gods.

This book was an enjoyable read. Good characters, conflicts, plot. Mead set up a detailed web of backstories and hidden agendas to last her a long series (something she specializes in). It was a good book, plain and simple.

But some things about it bothered me. From the cover, synopsis, and knowledge of Mead’s other books (which are all YA),  I was expecting this book to be exaclty that: young adult. Mead’s VA series had some sexy scenes, but it was still YA. This book is not that. The characters are in their late twenties and one of the first scenes is them sleeping together. Very not YA. However, the rest of the plot could be YA, and there is even a sixteen-year-old character. Genre-wise, it is on the border of paranormal, dystopian, and fantasy. This was confusing too–I couldn’t decide what it was. Not that books have to fit into a genre–some of my favorites don’t–but this time it didn’t work as well as I wanted it to.

If I didn’t know that Richelle Mead has written at least a dozen other books, I would say that this book was a debut author’s confused first attempt at writing a story, not yet sure what genre or age range she wants to write for. But she isn’t, which makes this even more confusing. I expected something great, which left me oddly disappointed.

Not to say that this book isn’t great. It really is, especially near the end as some of the set-up turns into actual plot. From any other author I would be giving it a stellar review. But I expected more from Richelle Mead.

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