Audiobook Review: “Gameboard of the Gods” By Richelle Mead


Audiobook Review: “Gameboard of the Gods”

By Richelle Mead

Read by Emily Shaffer

Published by Penguin Audio

Total Playing Time: Approx 16 hours



When I became aware of this book as a potential read, the first thing I noticed was that it hit me with a triple whammy of my interests, thus making it a must read to find out what it was about.  The first thing that grabbed me was that the book is a sci-fi and I love sci-fi.  Next is that the book is a dystopian story, and I have always enjoyed a good dystopian to find out what different authors see as a possible bleak future.  The third aspect that grabbed me was that the book is the first in a series, “The Age of X” series from Richelle Mead.  If the characters are strong enough I enjoy a good fictional series because I know that I will have more stories to continue my reading enjoyment.


Those were the three aspects that grabbed me enough to start listening to the book but were they good enough to keep me listening?  The fact that I’m writing this review is a sure sign that they were, If a book is not good enough to keep my attention then I just don’t finish the book and don’t write a review.  (This explains why sometimes there are long gaps of time between my reviews,  I get through parts of books only to put them down and try another.)  Richelle Mead did create a very interesting tri-fecta of features that kept me interested in this book and eager to hear/read any future books in this series.


In the sci-fi aspect of this story Mead has created a future for planet Earth where we all have Egos.  In this case the Ego is really more of a smart phone that’s even smarter.
The Ego controls communications and is synced to the media stream (internet), as well as the owner’s identity chip. Everyone is chipped in the future.  The chip is keyed to the person’s DNA and an entry in the National Registry, which contains all of their basic information. Chip readers scattered throughout the country regulate who enters secure areas and also help locate criminals and outsiders.


The Dystopian aspect sneaks it’s way into the story as the characters work through the solving of a series of murders.  There is first the disease called Mephistopheles which killed off billions on the planet.  The survival of humans from this diseases is helped by genetic blending.  In other words different races are forced to interbreed.  Those that stay pure are part of the elite but they also bear the scars of the disease, which leads to the elite having to rely on plastic surgery.


On top of this there is only one religion; The Secular Church of Humanity, which is basically just a voice for the government.  All other religions must be registered and prove on a regular basis that they have a purpose and admit they worship a fictional entity.


Justin March is a servitor, an investigator of sorts employed by the government to investigate religious groups and supernatural claims.  Something happened to Justin that caused him to be exiled to the provinces away from the civilized RUNA (Republic of United North America).  He is called back to the RUNA to investigate a series of religious based murders.  His escort, Mae Koskinen is a Praetorian guard (the elite of the elite in world military).  After a one night stand with each other they find out their true identities and their mission together, which makes matters uncomfortable.


The two find out that there is a fine line between mythology and reality and that line is encroaching on reality threatening Justin’s and Mae’s careers and lives.  Mixing space age sci-fi with mythos and fantasy, Mead has started a series that will keep you going and helping to solve the murder mystery along with revealing the forgotten gods seeking to reclaim the planet.


Emily Shaffer does a superb job of performing the book.  She is able to differentiate between voices during dialog and perform the various emotions through here vocal talents, making this audiobook a very easy listen.