The Immortal Crown by Richelle MeadSeries: Age of X (Book #2)
Will need to read the first book prior to reading this one
For the beginning of the series, click here
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia
Release Date: 29th May 2014
Read Date: 31st May 2014
Tagged under: 2014 read, adult fiction, fantasy, mythology, 4, review copy
Buy at: Amazon, The Book Depository
The War of the Elect...
In the wake of Gameboard of the Gods, religious investigator Justin March and the beautiful supersoldier assigned to protect him, Mae Koskinen, have become firmly enmeshed in investigating reports of the supernatural and the return of the gods both inside and outside their country's borders. With this highly classified knowledge comes a shocking revelation: not only are the gods vying for control of humans, but the Elect - those special humans marked by the divine - are turning against each other in bloody fashion.
Justin and Mae's mission takes a new twist when they find themselves assigned to a diplomatic delegation headed by Lucian Darling, Justin's old friend and rival, into Arcadia: the Republic of United North America's dangerous neighbouring country. Here, in a society where women are commodities and religion is intertwined with the 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 taken on 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 fortuitous connection with someone close to Justin back home threatens to expose their mission and the divine forces the government is determined to keep secret.
Book Review [Spoiler Free]
The Immortal Crown is the second book in Richelle Mead's new series, Age of X, which began last year with the publication of the Gameboard of the Gods. As far as sequels go, this one is certainly very impressive. Everything stepped up into the next gear. There is more action, more plot development, more secrets and information unveiled and, of course, more supernatural forces at play.
Last warning: please read the first book before continuing on with this review. Although it's spoiler free for this book, it will contain details regarding the first book, possibly spoiling it for you.
In The Immortal Crown, Justin and Mae, along with Lucian and his delegation, heads into Arcadia, the Republic of United North America's (RUNA) neighbouring country. Each of them have their own motives. Lucian wants to win his election. Mae wants to find her missing niece. And Justin has to, however reluctantly, follow the guidance of his deity.
While Gameboard of the Gods is a solid enjoyable read, the sheer volume of information with regards to the world building at times overshadows the overarching plot. Not so in this sequel. Don't get me wrong, The Immortal Crown still contains a heavy dose of world building. While the reader is familiar to the world of RUNA, Arcadia, which is only briefly mentioned in the first book, is very different. Religion is just as powerful as the government. Women are submissive properties of their men. And the country is a mix of rich and poor, modern technology with old-fashioned labour.
The pacing, however, definitely steps up a notch. With the majority of the foundation set in the first book, The Immortal Crown is free to focus on multiple concurrent plot lines that run through this book. As Justin and Mae slowly stumble across more and more revelations, the pieces of the story slowly come together like that of a jigsaw puzzle. While much has been revealed in this book, there is definitely a sense that there is more at play here than what Richelle Mead is willing to show. She definitely has plenty of trump cards up her sleeve, if the ending is anything to go by.
The characters are still as flawed and well-developed as they were in the previous book. Despite their flaws, there is always reason to their decisions and actions, making them highly relatable to the reader. It is no surprise that readers will come to care for both Justin and Mae and in turn, be heavily invested in their relationship.
And the ending! I still have mixed feelings about it. I'm heavily disgruntled at the last major plot development before the end. But the plot twists that followed really steps up the anticipation for the next book. Without revealing much more, all I can say is that I felt the issue was dealt with rather abruptly and I didn't appreciate that. However, the two end reveals - one with regards to a deity and the other with regards to a mortal - those literally made my heart leap when my mind connected the dots.
The Immortal Crown is definitely a step up from Gameboard of Gods and the anticipation is high for the next book. All the Gods have come out to play and the battle might be out in the open sooner than any of the characters think.
Disclaimer: A complimentary copy of the ebook was provided to me by the author and publisher in exchange of an honest review. The views expressed above are entirely my own and are in, no way, affected by the source of this book.