After reading Gameboard of the Gods you could say I was looking for a way off an Age of X series ship. But before jumping overboard I decided to give it another chance and read the sequel The Immortal Crown.
Religious sect inspector Dr. Justin March and his bodyguard super-soldier Mae Koskinen are now working well as a team. But RUNA has new challenges for them - an assignment to be part of diplomatic mission to Arcadia, super-religious neighboring country, which is described with words: “Sit back, get comfortable, and forget everything you know about civility.”
Meanwhile, back home in RUNA, Tessa is trying to adapt to school and find an internship in some newspaper…
First question that anyone will ask you when you read a sequel to a series, maybe even before did you like it, is: Was it better? Worse? I’ll divide my comments into section similar to those in my review of Gameboard of the Gods.
The Characters: The situation is the same. There are “surprising streaks of nobility in Justin that popped out in what was otherwise a sea of selfishness”, but despite the facts that he was sober and surprisingly chaste I still didn’t like him. Good new is that ravens Horatio and Magnus are still there and full of ‘helpful’ statements.Mae and I still do not click. And chapters from Tessa‘s POV, as always, just add to the chunk-ability of this book. I guess it’s all going to tie together in the end but for now events that happen to Tessa do not influence Justin or Mae. Hey, at least this time it was interesting and I was intrigued to find out how her internship is going to pan out.
The Romance: Going two steps backward and one step forward. There was little progress. And big plus is that finally Justin and Mae stopped sleeping with other people and are really trying to understand their feelings.
The World Building: While some facts about history of RUNA are still unclear to me, new elements of the future Earth Richelle Mead imagined are introduced to us much better in The Immortal Crown. Maybe I didn’t like nothing about Arcadia, but I understood what happened there and how the society turned up that way.
Mythology: Something is cooking, but there are no more obvious paranormal events here than inGameboard of the Gods. But I didn’t expect much, so I was not disappointed (it’s easier for a book to satisfy us when our expectations are low lol).
So, in the end, I definitely enjoyed The Immortal Crown more than Gameboard of the Gods. Imagine my surprise.
What did I like?
- Mae and Justin working as a team.
They were few and far between, but in moments like these, there was no animosity. A fierce solidarity burned between them, one that united them in a single purpose and understanding.
- The suspense. You know that great feeling when book keeps you on the edge of your seat because you don’t know what will happen next? The Immortal Crown is full of tension. Even chapters about Tessa, which were boring in Gameboard of the Gods, now were full of anxiety - I kept waiting for her mentor Daphne to do something heinous.
- Justins’ banter with ravens. Comments made by Horatio and Magnus always make me smile:
Lucian gave him a long, scrutinizing look. “How do you do that? How can you talk people into anything? Do you think of this stuff in advance, or does it happen on the spot?”
“Are you impressed?” asked Justin.
“Kind of terrified, actually. But glad you’re not in politics.”
Perhaps now would be a good time to ask if he’d like to learn about Odin, said Horatio. You’re on a roll.
What rubbed me the wrong way?
- Why RUNA denounced religion is still not obvious to me. I need good explanation!
- There is a rumor going around about war not only between gods but between elects (“humans marked as special who had the potential to be strong servants for the gods”) also. The Immortal Crown might be about this, but it’s hidden deep down in the core of all events. On the first glance it’s only political fight for power. So my hopes about action and epic god battles were let down.
- Similarity of Arcadian society to many Islamic countries (oppressed role of women, women covered with cloth in public, religion as big influence, blind worship of leaders). So I had a feeling that this book was big political propaganda – USA good, Muslims bad. I’m not saying that’s even remotely true, but nevertheless.
In The End..
Gameboard of the Gods was cybersome start to a new series by Richelle Mead. There was hope that it will be better but… Should you waste your precious time and read The Immortal Crown? My answer is yes. If you were on a fence like me, there is a big chance that you will join Age of X team. The Immortal Crown is full of suspense & human drama and with shocking ending – it will leave you yearning for a sequel.