Age of X Series, Book 1
Expected publication date: June 4, 2013
Description (taken from Richelle Mead's website):
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.
Wow, what a bizarre world. I'm still undecided as to whether or not I absolutely loved it or not. So, let me give the basics using the language I know and not the futuristic terms given in the book. To start, this book is told from three people's point of views: Justin, Mae, and Tessa. It's set sometime in the future where a disease has destroyed most of the population. And to avoid conflict and prevent more diseases, religion has kind of been monitored and slightly stripped from the world. But when humans deny the Gods, they do tend to come back with a vengeance. (Okay, so that last sentence came from my grasp of the theme of this series, not what happens in this book.)
Justin, a guy who's probably in his early thirties (or late twenties) returns to the RUNA to investigate a murder mystery. He's kind of like a detective who helps regulate religious activity. Oh, and there's a God keeping his eye on him.
Mae, a 28-year-old girl who has enlisted in the military and is one of the most lethal kind of soldiers in the RUNA. She basically has an implant that gives her body a boost in adrenaline when needed. Basically, don't bet against her when trying to determine who will win in a fight.
Tessa, a 16-year-old immigrant who has been given the chance to make something of herself in the RUNA. Trying to mesh where she was raised and where she is now into who she will become is interesting to see.
I enjoyed this book. Richelle Mead is very good at asking all of the right questions and giving you just enough answers to want to keep going. I did have a big "aha" moment in the middle of the book and figured out the plot. But the bigger plot (what the series is about) was only beginning to form. And we do get one major question answered, but you want to keep going at that point.
Overall, this was a really good introduction to a new series. It is definitely not a standalone novel, and I wouldn't recommend people expect it to be. This book introduces its readers to a new world, new characters, and a new kind of mythology. All I can say is: it's going to get addictive...