Series: Age of X #1
Release Date: June 4, 2013
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In a futuristic world nearly destroyed by religious extremists, Justin March lives in exile after failing in his job as an investigator of religious groups and supernatural claims. But Justin is given a second chance when Mae Koskinen comes to bring him back to the Republic of United North America (RUNA). Raised in an aristocratic caste, Mae is now a member of the military’s most elite and terrifying tier, a soldier with enhanced reflexes and skills.
When Justin and Mae are assigned to work together to solve a string of ritualistic murders, they soon realize that their discoveries have exposed them to terrible danger. As their investigation races forward, unknown enemies and powers greater than they can imagine are gathering in the shadows, ready to reclaim the world in which humans are merely game pieces on their board.
My heart is broken, guys. I can’t believe I just put down a Richelle Mead book. What has my life become? Anyway, I do have a few reasons for not being able to finish this one, and you’ll find those below. To put it briefly, I didn’t like it. To elaborate a bit more, I wasn’t a fan of the characters. Which is awful because normally I am in love with at least a couple of Mead’s characters in her books. I had two favourites in the Dark Swan series, and Vampire Academy was packed full of awesome characters. Agh, what happened with this one?
So the main character, Mae… Sure, she was strong and pretty badass when it came to fighting, but I felt like that was the only thing making her character interesting. She had nothing else going for her, because I didn’t feel as though she was introduced properly before we skipped over to Justin’s POV.
Justin had voices inside his head, which could have been great but instead it was just confusing. In addition to that, he was arrogant, a womaniser, and he enjoyed getting his own way, all of which are traits I wouldn’t necessarily expect of someone who’s been exiled for many years.
Together the pair had no chemistry whatsoever. This was very disappointing for me since I love Mead’s other pairings (i.e. Rose and Dimitri, and Eugenie and Dorian) and they all had bucket loads of chemistry. Mae and Justin, on the other hand, had none. They have sex very early on in the book, and I would have thought I would at least feel something from them. The scene just proved to me that there was no hope for them. And yes, I judged early on, but chemistry is an important factor when you’re searching for OTPs, okay?
I think that one of the reasons I wasn’t able to connect to the characters more is the fact that this book is written in first person, and it switches POVs. I felt very disconnected, which wasn’t helped by the fact that the characters didn’t pull me in to start with. I think Mead works best with first person. In my educated opinion, that is.
There was also a lot of confusion over the references and terms that are used in this book. It was extremely difficult to know what the characters were talking about half the time, since they used terms like “Gemmen” and “RUNA”, which hadn’t been explained properly by the time I stopped reading. I was able to get the general gist of it, though. There is also a glossary available on Richelle Mead’s website, but I don’t think a reader should have to use a glossary so early on, much like how I don’t think a reader should have to read an author’s blog post in order to remind themselves of who characters are because the sequel is so bloody confusing.
It breaks my heart to DNF a Richelle Mead book. I’ve been a fan of hers for a few years now, and I have either loved or deeply enjoyed all her other books (the ones that I have read, anyway). But it had to be done. I have seen others who have run into similar problems with you, Gameboard of the Gods, so I take comfort in the fact that it’s not me, it’s you.