Monday, June 16, 2014

The Immortal Crown Review

Title: The Immortal Crown (Age of X #2)
Author: Richelle Mead
Rating: 4/5
Age Group: Adult

GoodReads Run-down: 
 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: Mead is a strange writer. She has cool concepts and great characters but there is something about her stuff that chaffs me a little. Don't misunderstand though, I really enjoy her books and can't wait for the next Age of X but there is something I can't really put my finger on that bugs me about her stuff. I always want to give her books 5 stars but something holds me back every time.

This is the second book in what I think will be a trilogy - I'm not totally sure. Either way, Mae and Justin are at it again. They begin on a dangerous mission in the Provences. Danger abounds and it provides the framework for the larger conflict of the series. The gods are not only fighting among themselves now, they are expanding their battle. Really is expected and logical for the storyline.

This story actually gets more political than the last one as Mae and Justin join a delegation to Arcadia. Arcadia is, of course, the South. As a Southern born and raised female I sometimes get annoyed with the numerous stories that portray the South in such a negative manner. This is just a minor annoyance though as I dislike the South and can see Mead's version of it a little too clearly. In her version the South is it's own country (which made me laugh a bit because so many only wish that could happen) and it's run by religious extremest.

I actually found myself putting the book down more than I did the first one and I think the portrayal of the South was a big reason for this. There were some really harsh characters, one in particular, that bothered me and I kept seeing the face of someone I know when that character was in action.

The development of Mae and Justin's relationship was interesting. Of course they don't get together (I don't see this as a spoiler as anyone whose read even just a couple of Mead's books knows her lovers are always star-crossed). I do feel like they will though, that's one thing I like about Mead - I trust her to give ends that are satisfying. If it takes the entire next book for Justin and Mae to together but we get a chapter of them really together at the end I'll be happy. They are obviously meant to be together and I don't think Mead will disappoint. She seems like she's a bit of a romantic and if you can trust romantics in nothing else, you can trust them to bring lovers together in the end.

 Tessa's role in this novel is larger and somewhat interesting yet feels a little forced. While reading it I was nervous that one character was going to to go rouge and ruin everything but, happily, that didn't happen. Tessa is showing some promise to be an interesting character. Sometimes I have to wonder though if Mead has her in the series so there is a YA element and thus the books can be marketed to a larger audience ( an author once told me that if you have a YA perspective in the book it can be considered YA even if the story telling is dominated by adult perspective).

This is a good book, not amazing but good. I enjoyed the first novel a bit more and the cover of this one was...a little lame. It plays into the genre tropes while the first cover had some mystery and was much cooler looking. Anyway, I'm excited to read the next one and I can see these books going on my re-read shelf in the near future. 

A quick note - I'm nervous about the appearance of a certain God in the final chapter. I hope Mead doesn't fall into the easy trappings of representing this God as this God is much more complex than what is currently the fad.


  1. I know what you mean about "something" holding you back with RM. I gave a couple of the VA books 5 stars, but while she's one of my auto-read authors, I sometimes struggle with her, too. I actually didn't have a great experience with the first book in this series at all, but I've heard this sequel is better, so it's good to see you reinforce that with your review.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

    1. Hey Wendy! It's funny, I think there are a good number of us who feel this way about her - yet none of us really able to put our fingers on the issue. So strange. What was your experience with the first Age of X?