Originally posted at Alive or Undead.Rating: 5/5My opinion: I'm dumbfounded. I will admit I started this book with no expectations, trying to forget who was responsible for the ink. Richelle Mead is, indeed, my favorite author. But I didn't want this to be a The Casual Vacancy case I, thank God, hadn't experienced with Rowling. I didn't want to fall there, become an angsty reader whose whole anger had surged because new meant different. So I went through the pages, expecting nothing, open to everything. And what a journey it was. Magnificent, I must say. While I could see Richelle's mark there, with her humor and strong characters, it was a whole, indeed, new, different thing. I believe that where I saw her old, known writing the most was in the way Mae controlled her sexuality, very alike Rose Hathaway even if her personality wasn't the same at all. And some, just some, of Justin's comments remembered me of the Adrian Ivashkov who had yet to meet his sexy alchemist. Other than that, it was completely refreshing. The perfect mixture of science fiction and fantasy, dystopy and mythology. The gods, the guns, the magic, the despair. Everything melted in a way I didn't believe possible. Maybe it is that I didn't expect it, maybe Mead is simply a genius, but this was certainly one of my best reads of the year. We're allowed into the heads of three characters. Yes, you heard me—read?—right. Why is it that before I begun the book I thought I was only going to experience the thoughts of two people? Why was the third character not even in one of the reviews I had read? Well, I'm going to change that. The first character we're introduced to, and my favorite one, is Mae. She was certainly something to behold. Preatorian Koskinen is cold, strong, lethal, hot, and, ugh, very patriotic. She's the kind of person who follows rules. But, surprisingly, she's also the kind of person who enjoys drawing blood. This is something I saw in all the characters. Unlike in previous books, Mead doesn't depend on stereotypes. She crosses all kinds of boundaries, and this is one of them. Mae loves the action as much as Justin loves a good high. Which takes us to the next protagonist, Dr. March. And doesn't he have one hell of a sexy body? With his dark features and great charisma, he's without a doubt a charmer. One to fear. Pretty looks and words aside, Justin has brain many would envy, and wiser ones would pity. He reminded me a bit of Sherlock Holmes, in a more realistic level and more infected by the city he worships. I was amazed by the way his mind worked, and how fast it did. While I may have identified a bit more with Mae, Justin was one truly interesting lunatic. I was gladly surprised that the author chose an anti-hero as her male lead. The character was beyond limits, in all ways. With his poison and lies, I guess it'd be hard to get to love the clever Justin March. But I did, almost instantly. There's something to be attracted in a man who can guess your whole story and pretend he gets nothing more than your questionable looks. The way he sees beyond all your layers is both terrifying and intriguing. However, there are different ways of observing beyond the propaganda. And, yes, Tessa is the third mind I was more than excited to explore. With her fear for crowds and apparent allowance to be tamed, you'd think this girl would be boring. Not a chance. Her curiosity made me curious, and her terrors understanding. And, most importantly, she's fresh air in the RUNA, the apparently "perfect" country that's supposed to be devoid of all religious beliefs. But what Tessa discovers, what's obvious if you just look in the right places and ask the right questions, is that the thing the citizens put their faith in is the city itself. It is an excellent analysis, one that shadows the whole story in it's own way. Some said you needed patience to read this clearly long book. However, I'd like to differ. I am, for sure, not known as a patient person, and I never had the need to become one here. Gameboard of the Gods took me a few days to finish, but it was never a burden! From the very beginning, I was hooked. The beautiful words invited me to follow them, to do so with care. And I loved every single minute of it. I loved the pace, the plays in this gameboard. I can say that I enjoyed the sex just as much as I did the strategies to catch religious cults. To achieve that in me is quite a thing, in case you don't know me. I applaud the author for such an incredible world-building and every single entity in it. Even when I wanted to scream, even when I wanted to cry. I salute you, Richelle Mead, for making me proud of calling you my favorite author."We're pieces on a gameboard, Dr. March, and some of us are more powerful than others. You. Me. Her. We're the ones the gods want. We're the ones they're fighting over."