Friday, May 23, 2014

Review: The Immortal Crown by Richelle Mead

Title: The Immortal Crown (Age of X #2)
Author: Richelle Mead
Genre: Adult, Dystopian, Paranormal Fantasy
Release Date: 28 May, 2014
Source: Penguin via NetGalley
Goodreads | The Reading Room

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.
Review by Nara

Note: this review was written just after reading The Immortal Crown. As in, straight after reading the book. This was probably a bad idea. Why? Well, you'll see.

Oh my god. Oh my freaking god. I am in complete shock. COMPLETE SHOCK. Richelle Mead, I knew you had it in you to pull off terrible cliffhangers, but HOLY SHIT THIS ONE IS UNBEARABLE. The twist...the twist at the end...oh my god I can't even form proper sentences. OH MY GOD. WHAT THE HELL. WHAT THE FREAKING HELL?! Oh my god, I need to take a break before writing the rest of the review to regain the ability to write coherently. OH MY FREAKING GOD.

Okay, let's stay calm. Let's stay calm, Nara. Let's talk about the other aspects of the book.

The Immortal Crown is flipping fantastic. The characters, the world building, the writing, the predictability, the ending, holy crap the ending- everything is practically flawless. GAHH I can't even write in proper paragraphs. Let's just do dot points. MY GOD DAT ENDING.

- The world building. It's just beautiful. The ideas Mead comes up with are just so incredibly creative. I love the role that "the gods" play and how that influences the relationship between Justin and Mae. I love the development of Justin's powers. I don't so much love Arcadia, where most of the book is set. Because it's a freaking horrible place where women are treated like slaves and MY GOD SO MUCH ABOUT THAT PLACE MADE ME ANGRY. But at the same time I did love it, because it was so nicely built.

- The characters. Again, fabulously well developed. We have three main POV characters, much like in Gameboard of the Gods- Justin, Mae and Tessa. All three of them have their own tales to tell, and each have a distinct narrative voice. Which is pretty impressive considering the book is written in third person. I think Mead did a nice job balancing the perspectives, and I ended up being equally invested in all of them, especially since they began to neatly weave together.

- The writing? Come, on. It's Richelle Mead. Clearly it's going to be of a high standard. And indeed it is- the pacing is done impeccably, with no particular sections of the book which feel slow and no sections which feel overly rushed. The action is great, the threads of mystery are suitably hidden and the romance is exactly where it should be- a relatively dominant part of the story, but still pushed into the background when necessary.

- Basically, the entire book is made of awesome.

All I can say is READ IT FOR THE ENDING. If for nothing else, read it for the goddamned ending.

Panacea Candidate

Overall: 10/10
Plot: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
World Building: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Cover: 4/5 (would have been 4.5, but need to dock points for the cover redesign, because now my books FREAKING DO NOT MATCH. #nerdrage)