June 16, 2014

Review - The Immortal Crown (Age of X #2) by Richelle Mead

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.

Title: The Immortal Crown
Author: Richelle Mead
Series: Age of X #2
Length: 389 pages
Publisher: Penguin
Original Publication Date: May 26th 2014 

I'll be honest again. Although I am a big fan of Richelle Mead, the first book of this series was a great disappointment to me. I wasn't impressed at all, but one of the main characters, Mae, is such a good one I couldn't just let her go.

In Gameboard of the Gods we got to know the characters, the world and we got a short, action-packed plot, a little taste of what we can expect from the series. In The Immortal Crown things get further complicated. The Gods chosen their “players” and ready to face them off. The “chosen ones” not only have to suit their gods’s book, but are forced to fight against each other. Justin and Mae are thrown into this rough and bloody battleground and they, of course, still have to comply with their daily life.

The plot is still running on three different threads and, again, there are three POVs - Mae’s, Justin’s and Tessa’s.

For me, the most exciting part remains to be Mae. Most of the surprising, weird and exciting things happen to her. She has to face as well as accept things she has completely rejected in the past and does not even notice she’s in the center of the very game she tried her best to stay away from.

Justin - finally - is on the good path to my heart and I’m starting to like him. Of course he is still far away from being a favorite, but with Richelle stopping telling us - after every flippin’ 10th page - how INCREDIBLE he is, and rather lets HIM showing what he’s worth, lets US get to know him, I’m really starting to like this man. Keep this on, Richelle! He has some very good moments. I love the way he cares for Tessa, his constant arguing with his two ravens an how he’s torn between his desires and common sense.

However, my NEW FAVORITE is LUCIAN! He is so hard to figure out. Is he doing what he’s doing because he really believes in it or does he just playing along with the political frays? Either way, he’s pretty persuasive and completely swept me off my feet, that’s for sure!

In my review of GotG I said that Tessa’s POV somehow sticks out of the book, like a 'must have' YA thread the author trying to push into the novel to endear the series to the younger readers who otherwise would consider this series “too adult-y”. I WAS WRONG! I admit it. I should have known Richelle does everything for a reason. I can see that reason now. Both Tessa and her story is much more interesting now, and I have some clue on why is it so important this little adopted girl to have her own plot.

And of course there are the Gods. We shouldn't forget about them. Although they are working in the background for the time being, but wow! Compared to them everyone else is significantly underpowered. Even Justin, the genius or the cold, professional Mae. I'm very, very curious to see what's in store for them in the upcoming books because what was shown in The Immortal Crown… HOLY COW! It got me so freaking excited (especially the last lines) and I want to know more! I have so, SO many questions about them, either give me the next books or let me chat with Richelle a bit, because I NEED answers! I understand they’re fighting each other from the very beginning of time, but why involve humans? What do they want?

The missing romance from the first book slowly begins to make an appearance. I'm starting to feel the chemistry between the two main characters and while I would be happy with a Lucian + Mae pairing, I can see something between Justin and Mae now, too. Of course, we just can’t get enough of the misconceptions and unspoken secrets - seriously, is there even a series where the protagonists are able to sit down and talk to each other?? Yeah, yeah, I get it, there wouldn't be any complication then -, we can see the same thing here. Only if they’d share the important stuff with each other from the beginning, they’d be much further ahead now…

Favorite character(s): Mae
Favorite scene(s): Everything with THE GODS! They're incredible!

Overall: The Immortal Crown compensated for the bumpy start of the series. Finally I can see a true Richelle Mead book I always love. It’s exciting, sometimes shocking and that ending! I can literally feel a lot of people falling in love with the series right at the end of TIC. Without giving away too much here’s a hint: there’s a new character introduced at the end whom many of us adore.

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*ARC provided by publisher in exchange for honest review.

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