Summary: The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Vampire Academy and Bloodline series returns with the second installment in her acclaimed Age of X series.
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.
Source: I received a copy from NetGalley
The Immortal Crown began much better than Gameboard of the Gods. It did a good job summarizing the events of the first book instead of just throwing me into the story. This time, Mae and Justin ended up working well as a team, despite their remaining tension. Justin was able to convince Mae of the truth, which made her much more open minded. I liked the direction of The Immortal Crown and the fact that both of the main characters were accepting of the new direction instead of fighting the existence of the gods working in the world.
The story took place mostly in Arcadia, where Justin and Mae were sent with senator Lucian. Arcadia was a different and backwards place, which created difficult situations, especially for Mae, since she was a woman. I liked the conflict and difficulty the situation created. I felt like some of the things that didn’t add up so much in the first book made more sense and the plot in The Immortal Crown was much more linear and focused.
Still, The Immortal Crown was a bit boring to read. Lots of things were happening, but I was tired of Arcadia and the situation there. For a book with a bunch of gods vying for attention and followers, showing their powers through the elect, it wasn’t really full of real action. And when it was, I thought too many things ended up being convenient for the characters, especially towards the end. I was quite sure I was not invested in continuing the series for most of the book.
With that being said, I really enjoyed the ending. Finally, some things were uncovered and added twists and turns to the plot. I sense the future installments will have far more god interaction than the early books. I still have issues with the world building, but I think the series, like Mead’s other series, will get better with time.