Title: The Immortal Crown
Author: Richelle Mead
Series: Age of X #2
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Rating: 5/5 stars!
Release Date: May 29, 2014
The Overview: “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.
This book is further evidence why Richelle Mead is my favorite author. Having read (and loved) Gameboard of the Gods over a year ago, I was admittedly a little worried I wouldn’t remember enough of the details to get fully invested in Immortal Crown. This was so not the case! From the first page, I was drawn back into the world as if I’d never left. As much as I enjoyed the first book, I think I liked this one even better!
This is definitely one of the most complex series Mead has ever written. It takes place in a futuristic, urban fantasy setting with a mythological twist (which was one of the coolest aspects of the story). It had immersive world-building, superb character development, a heart-wrenching love story, interesting cultures, and fantastic overall conflicts. In short, this is one of the most unique books I’ve ever read, and has all the elements I look for in a great story!
My favorite elements in this book (and in fact, my favorite elements in all of Mead’s books) were the characters. The story contained three POV’s: Justin, Mae, and Tessa and, although they were very different from one another, they were all incredibly relatable. Mead has this way of infusing her characters with flaws and vices that make them more endearing because it makes them more human. It adds a level of complexity to the characters that gets me invested in them every time. What’s more, you can see how proximity to one another changes their behaviors over the course of the series, and that play off of one another is probably the element of her characters I love the most.
This awesome dynamic leads to some of the best love stories I’ve ever read. I very much appreciate Justin and Mae’s relationship in this series, and am most eager to see where their journey takes them next. They have this electric chemistry that’s just plain addicting to read about. Mead builds relationships so well that wherever their story leads, I know it’s going to be epic. I’d like to point out that I’ve found not only one, but two book boyfriends from Mead’s works in the past (Dimitri and Seth, I’m talking to you) so as much as I love Justin, I’m grudgingly okay letting Mae have him to herself this time… I don’t want to be too greedy.
Another thing that I love this author for is the brilliant momentum she creates within her books. As book 2 in the series, The Immortal Crown is where things start to get tougher for the characters and that culminating energy gets set into motion. I always try to savor Mead’s books but, as with all of her novels, that careening snowball kicked in at about the halfway and I couldn’t put it down – it was fantastic! If the third one was out, I guarantee I be already finished with it and eager for the next one!
Overall, this is a strong sequel to a series that I’m absolutely loving so far. It’s such a cool mix of mythology and urban fantasy – it really feels like a new genre on its own. If you haven’t read Richelle Mead yet, this series is an excellent place to start!
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