Jumble Your Genres Reading Challenge – Dystopian: The Immortal Crown by Richelle Mead


The Jumble Your Genres Reading Challenge tackles Dystopian in May! Christal and AH continued on with the Age of X series this month with The Immortal Crown.  Read on to see what we think of this unique and expansive world.

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29 The Immortal CrownThe Immortal Crown by Richelle Mead
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Publication Date: May 29th 2014
ARC Provided by Edelweiss and Dutton Adult

Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.

AH and Christal’s Review

Though we’ve both been burned by Richelle Mead before, we both just can’t get enough of the Age of X series!  Richelle Mead has really outdone herself with these books and we both loved The Immortal Crown!


AH: The world building in this series is fabulous, full of details and back story. The author takes the time to meticulously build a world based on Roman politics complete with plebeians, praetorians, servitors, patricians, and senators. She adds in the mythology of various cultures and has those gods jockeying for power over the people. Then, she adds in all sorts of magic as well. It’s perfect! Juxtaposed with the ancient gods is a technologically advanced population that has embedded chips, data streams, and genetic manipulation. I love that this series is set in one of my favorite cities – Vancouver. My only beef is that it never seems to rain in this world. Who knows? Perhaps in the future it rains less in Vancouver.

Christal: I completely agree; the world building in this series is fantastic!  I loved our introduction to the RUNA and EA in the first book, but The Immortal Crown just added so much more!  Arcadia is not a place that I would ever want to live in, but it made for a fascinating story.  Returning character Lucian, the crafty senator, sure pulled a fast one on Mae and Justin in convincing them to travel to Arcadia.  Mae with her strong, direct military bearing and lovely patrician features certainly stood out and not always in a good way, but Justin was a fish out of water as well with his practical, straightforward, dare I say a little tactless at times, way of thinking.

AH: I like the fact that Justin is a little unconventional and irreverent. He claims that he studies religion so that he can protect his country. He can be an asshole and he is a bit of an arrogant playboy. Justin has two ravens in his head as spirit guides – Horatio and Magnus – who have very astute observations of the world around him. Justin has been chosen by the god Odin to be his priest but he does not wish to be in Odin’s service forever, so he refuses (and refuses to consummate his relationship with Mae).

Christal: The tension between Justin and Mae was oh so tangible in this book.  They are super attracted to each other and I think they’ve come to complement one another very well, but they are also extremely independent.  Justin is actually doing a good thing for himself and Mae by keeping his distance, but he went about establishing that distance in a terrible way.  I enjoy his character; he’s very intelligent and find him quite humorous at times but Mae really makes these books for me.  Though she is still new to the world of the gods and the elect, she won’t let herself be blindly led.  She knows what she wants and she can kick any butt necessary to get it.

AH: I love this Amazon of a woman. Strong, fierce, fearless – there’s something special about Mae. Her role on the mission to Arcadia was amazing, as was her rescue mission of the Gemman girls.  Tessa is another female character coming into her own now and she takes on more importance.

Christal: I agree, Tessa was a much better character in this book.  I actually found her to be a little boring in the first book but it was nice to see her have more of a separate plot line in The Immortal Crown.  She is another smart cookie and it was interesting to see her taking on new roles that will shape her future and the person she is becoming.  Thought Tessa still feels out-of-place some time because of coming from Panama, I feel like the differences between her homeland and the RUNA were almost negated by the differences we saw in this book between Arcadia and the RUNA.

AH: Ok, I know that Arcadia is supposed to be the Bible Belt and places southeast however in my mind I kept thinking Taliban and Afghanistan. Or maybe one of those Mormon compounds that pop up now and then to sensationalize the news.  The women are kept covered up, dressed in drab colors, a group of older men get all the women, there is polygamy and violence towards women, women are bought/sold like property. The younger males are sexually repressed because of the lack of brides available.  The rescue mission and Mae’s return to RUNA reminded me of some of the military checkpoints you see in the news.

Christal: I can completely get on board with the comparisons to some middle eastern countries.  I was also thinking that it seemed like the South back in the old, bad times before slavery was outlawed.  It was an interesting setting for the story, but it did make me uncomfortable from time to time, especially with how the women were treated.  I got flashes of Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaiden’s Tale.  I’m sure that was the point and I was glad to see how Mae’s role and mission in the story turned out.  Her relationship with this new deity is much different from the Morrigan and I think it will be amazing when we see everything played out.

AH: I was fascinated by how Mead incorporated the magic with the various mythologies that she draws upon.  I found that I had to read this book very carefully. I had to pay attention to the small details; something that seems innocuous or obscure may pop into the narrative and shock you as you connect the dots.

Christal: I liked that very much as well.  We know that there is a bigger plot going on in the background of this series and Justin and Mae are dealing with being part of the elect and their different deities, while still continuing on investigations for the IS and RUNA.  Richelle Mead is able to take all of these plots plus the tiny little nuances you don’t think will be important and weave them together to form a bigger picture.  I’m so ready for the next book already and am just hoping that she can keep up the momentum these first two books have established.

AH: I am loving this series and I find that it really is like no other series out there. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book!

Be sure to join us next month for our high fantasy read!

AH’s Rating: ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠ 

Christal’s Rating: ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  + ½

Best of Fantasy

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Jumble Your Genres Reading Challenge Schedule:

January – Young Adult checkmark
February – Contemporary checkmark
March – Urban Fantasy checkmark
April – Middle Grade checkmark
May – Dystopian checkmark
June – High Fantasy
July – Adult
August – Paranormal
September – Romance
October – Sci-Fi
November – Historical Fiction
December – New Adult


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