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Gameboard of the Gods  - Richelle Mead This is the first ARC I've gotten that I was honestly really excited about. And I'm very pleased to report that it was just as awesome as I was hoping that it would be. I've read several of Richelle Mead's books now. I think if I were to count them up it would be something around 13 of them, with this being numero 14. Alright lets do this.

Gameboard of the Gods takes place in a future world where a new regime as taken over called the RUNA where religion is banned in any form. The story centers around our main characters Justin March and Mae Koshinen who have been brought together by forces that neither of them are fully aware of.

The setting and world of the book is very well established without feeling like I was reading endless pages of background. I think Richelle took advantage of what we already know and picture about dystopian militaristic futures and used these images to help further build on her own take on this world. While this is a dystopian world in a way, I'm not sure I felt as fake so many others. Or perhaps her take is just more tolerable. This story hinges on religion and/or lack there of in this society. And I really don't like the dystopia genre because I think they fail to account for pivotal things like religion in a world suffering from a very recent collapse. When all else fails, religion remains. This story embraces religion and how it effects people's lives. Whatever you believe in or don't believe in, I would dare anyone to say there isn't some mention or effect of religion on their everyday life. I applaud Richelle for tackling this topic.

As characters go, I enjoyed them all immensely. Mae is very much a strong beautiful warrior (harkening back to Mead's other characters like Rose from [b:Vampire Academy|345627|Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1)|Richelle Mead|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1361098973s/345627.jpg|335933] and Eugenie from [b:Storm Born|2754510|Storm Born (Dark Swan, #1)|Richelle Mead|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1327900947s/2754510.jpg|3159815]). I think my main issue with Mae is that I feel like she's combinations of other character traits Read's used before. I would love to see some more range for her female lead characters. Justin is a brilliant thinker with an addiction to gambling, women, drinking, and most any other vice you could think of. I enjoyed him as well, he reminded me very much of Adrian (more around the [b:Bloodlines|8709527|Bloodlines (Bloodlines, #1)|Richelle Mead|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1297199431s/8709527.jpg|13582374] part of that storyline) which wins him points in my book. I find their interactions complex, interesting, and believable. I do quite like the tension built there. Side characters were awesome as always, Leo, Dominic, Tessa, and Horatio and Magnus were ones that I particularly liked.

I thought the story was well paced, and it kept my attention. The story built to several very dramatic scenes and by the time it ended, I felt both satisfied as well as intrigued to know more. I'm looking forward to reading more of this series.