The Immortal Crown by Richelle Mead
Series: Gameboard of the Gods #2
Release: 29th May 2014
Gameboard of the Gods introduced religious investigator Justin March and Mae Koskinen, the beautiful supersoldier assigned to protect him. Together they have been charged with investigating reports of the supernatural and the return of the gods, both inside the Republic of United North America and out. With this highly classified knowledge comes a shocking revelation: Not only are the gods vying for human control, but the elect—special humans marked by the divine—are turning against one another in bloody fashion.
Their mission takes a new twist when they are assigned to a diplomatic delegation headed by Lucian Darling, Justin’s old friend and rival, going into Arcadia, the RUNA’s dangerous neighboring country. Here, in a society where women are commodities and religion is intertwined with government, Justin discovers powerful forces at work, even as he struggles to come to terms with his own reluctantly acquired deity.
Meanwhile, Mae—grudgingly posing as Justin’s concubine—has a secret mission of her own: finding the illegitimate niece her family smuggled away years ago. But with Justin and Mae resisting the resurgence of the gods in Arcadia, a reporter’s connection with someone close to Justin back home threatens to expose their mission—and with it the divine forces the government is determined to keep secret.
After I finished reading Gameboard of the Gods, I literally rushed down to my local bookstore to pick up a copy of The Immortal Crown because I had to know what happened next. The first book left us with some many unanswered questions that I was salivating to know more.
There are so many things about this book I want to talk about I don’t know where to start. Okay, first off, lets talk about the world building. So in the review I wrote about the first book, I talked about how Mead had created this crazy, futuristic world with a whole new set of rules, religions, countries etc. and just thrown us in head first without much of an explanation. It was a little jarring BUT that does not take away from the fact that Mead has created a strange, unique, enthralling world where she has somehow managed to combine essentially a science fiction-esk futuristic world and mixed it with Gods and mythology and done it without it seeming odd. It works. Which just proves once again how great Mead is. Show off.
This time around, we also get to meet some new people. Yay! Meet Lucian Darling. A college and friend of Justin’s and a candidate for consul, Lucian invites Justin on a goodwill delegation to Arcadia which Justin wants no part of. Now Arcadia is a fun place – not. A country in direct opposition to the RUNA, it is a country that stepped out of the dark ages. Women are property to be bought and sold and are treated worse than animals and men can have as many wives as they like. Sound great huh? No wonder Justin wants no part in the trip. But then Mae asks if they can go. Why does Mae want to go you ask? Because the niece that her sister abandoned and gave up is in Arcadia and she is determined to find her and bring her home. Arcadia is a part of the US in the South-East which has become its own country, seperate from the RUNA. With Justin, Lucian, Mae, along with several others, making a trip to Arcadia for a ‘political tour’ we get an in-depth look at the backwards neighbours of the RUNA.
Arcadia is about as different from the RUNA as you can get. For one, they believe in God and their God pretty much rules every part of their lives. Arcadia was like stepping back in time where women are seen as inferior and men have many wives. It was basically the most horrible place ever which will make it even more interesting when Mae rocks up. How do you think she’ll take to seeing women being treated so badly? And how do you think the men of Arcadia will take to a woman like Mae? (Hint: IT WAS VERY INTENSE) The views, lifestyles and morals of these two very different groups of people keep the tension running. The setting of this book is such a huge departure from the last one and gives you an even more in-depth look at this crazy, segregated world Mead has created and the differences between the RUNA and everyone else. It also helps develop the story and in a way, highlights why some people chose to renounce religion and why Mae might be a little reluctant to believe.
Mae and Justin have grown a lot since the first book. Instead of bickering constantly and trying to one up the other, they have each others backs. I love how these characters aren’t perfect and they don’t try to be and I think thats what I like the most about them. They’re flawed. They’re real. They make me want to shake them sometimes and scream, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!? But that’s what keeps me reading.
Another character I loved following along her journey is Tessa. She is learning more and more about the new world around her and I loved getting to learn it with her. She might be naive having come from the provinces and been thrust into this crazy new world but she is learning and she’s a genuinely good person who is growing and coming into her own.
I really don’t want to say much else because I don’t want to give too much away before you guys read it, but if you loved the first book, I guarantee that you will love this one as well. This remarkable, sci-fi/fantasy filled world has grown and the story is only the better for it. We meet new Gods, discover more secrets about what the ones we’ve already met are after and we watch some people get their asses kicked by some Praetorians. And then there’s that ending. Oh, that ending. Richelle Mead you are a cruel, cruel lady to leave us with that.
What I think I love about this book series the most however, is the fact that it is so different from everything else out there today. Its something new and surprising and you should definitely get your hands on it.