Friday, August 8, 2014

Audiobook review: The Immortal Crown

The Immortal Crown (Age of X, #2)Author: Richelle Mead
Narrator: Emily Shaffer
Published: May 29th 2014
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Lenght: 13 hrs and 54 mins
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Audible

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Vampire Academy and Bloodline series returns with the second installment in her acclaimed Age of X series. 
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.

For years now, Richelle Mead has been one of the most reliable authors on my list. Whether we’re talking about her Young Adult books or her adult fiction, we can always count on her to give us exactly what we need. And yet, with this series, she managed to surpass even such a stellar reputation. Her Age of X series is more than just what we need, it’s what we secretly wished for and a few things we never even knew we wanted. This combination of genres is a dream come true for fans of speculative fiction and I dare say it’s only going to get better. 

Gameboard of the Gods was a huge step in the right direction for Mead, and she continues on this new, more mature path with The Immortal Crown. Somewhere along the line, she has become a very admirable writer who has perfect control over her work. Her experience is clear from the structure of this novel and its flawless pacing. Her crisis moments and moments of quiet introspection are timed perfectly.

This time, Justin and Mae take us to Arcadia, a North American country that separated from the RUNA because it refused to denounce its religion. To Gemman citizens who live a more technologically and culturally advanced lives, Arcadia is the epitome of primitivism and backwardness. RUNA’s neighboring country and especially its culture were portrayed in rich detail and Mead was able to include a strong and clever feminist commentary without turning her book into a pamphlet.

Even the romance, the will-they-won’t-they dance that I found frustrating in the previous book didn’t bother me as much here. There was simply no time to focus on such matters, and while Justin and Mae’s chemistry is off the charts, I found I didn’t mind being patient about it at all.

Emily Shaffer narrates both this and Mead’s Bloodlines series. She is very confident in her work, and it clearly shows. Her voice characterization is excellent, Tessa’s accent is done beautifully without being exaggerated, and she has a great sensibility for the story, a clear understanding of where Mead wanted to take it and how. Sometimes narrators don’t read the story before they start working on it, and it’s always pretty obvious to me. Shaffer is familiar with Mead’s writing which makes her own work far better than average.

As someone who’s been following Mead’s work from the start, I can say I am thrilled to have witnessed her growth as an author and will happily continue to do so in the future. There is no doubt in my mind that things will only get better from here, despite there being very little room for improvement left.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.


  1. I really should try this series of hers

  2. Oh yes I also really enjoyed this one! So many things to discover and the end... I really can't wait to know more.

  3. I'm a HUGE Richelle Mead fan as well which reminds me... I really need to get caught up on this series! Her writing is so consistent, every time I pick-up one of her books I just know that it's going to be amazing, so I'm glad that The Immortal Crown is another prime example of that. Happy Friday, Maja!

  4. Justin and Mae with wind up together and, yeah, the little dance they did in this one didn't bother me quite as much. I really enjoyed the time in this world and getting to know it a bit more. Still not sure where we're going with the whole "game" though.

  5. I have the first book in this series, but I have yet to read it. I seriously need to though, especially after reading this lovely review from you, Maja. It sounds like it's a very well written series, as expected from Mead.
    I'm actually glad to hear that the romance is almost non-existent and is mostly just subtle. I think I would really like this.
    Lovely review, Maja!

  6. Wow. A 5? Clearly I need to read this series! I've been a fan of everything of hers I've read, so I don't see how this series would be any different. Glad to know the will they/wont' they dance between Justin and Mae wasn't as much of an issue in this book as it was in the first one:) Gorgeous review Maja!

  7. Wow, I'm so glad you enjoyed this as much as you did, Maja! 5 stars - Woo Hoo. I have book one on my shelf- I need to get on that now, because this sounds amazing. Once again, wonderful review :)

  8. I am taking this book on vacation! I love Emily Shaffer's narration in Bloodlines. I didn't realize she read this book, as well.

    Kate @ Ex Libris

  9. I didn't really enjoy Mead's Vampire Academy series, but I have been hearing great things about this series and the more I read about it the more it seems like this would definitely be something that I would enjoy! And sometimes I'm not too bothered if the romance doesn't take center stage. Fab review!

  10. I agree! Richelle just gets better and better. I devoured Silver Shadows audiobook last week! I enjoyed this one better than the first. My only hesitationg is I am still not drawn to Tessa's story, but everything else is top

  11. I still need to read the first book in the series but I am loving that you love this so much Maja, What a great review!

    I hope you have a fabulous weekend!!

  12. I remember the first book! I knew I was behind. :( Oh this sounds so good and I do think I may have to see if I can get it on audio. It's been a good way to get me caught up with series. :) I love the sound of their romance. Can't wait to get back into the world.

  13. I still haven't read anything by Mead, but that's great you love her novels and this new series so much.

  14. I so need to get into her other series because I loved VA and BL (well those released yet)

  15. So many different opinions on this series. I must admit I am very thorned. Hmmm. if I ever read the book though, it would be reading not listening because audio books are not working for me. :P Glad you liked this book.

  16. I'm loving this series as well, Maja! The trip to Arcadia was like stepping into a male dominated past and their treatment of women sickened me! I'll have to listen to the audio version before the next installment to refresh my memory. It sounds like a treat and I really appreciate a well done audio. I'm wondering how things will play out in the next book. I hope Justin didn't get cozy with that shifty reporter there at the end. So many disturbing things happened right at the end and I was completely unsettled. Wonderful review! :)

  17. I absolutely agree. I've been reading Mead for years as well, and while I haven't gotten to her Bloodlines series (but I have all the books, and I hope to get to them soon), I've read all but the last book of VA, and Georgina, and Eugenie, but I think Age of X is my favorite yet. At least it has the potential to be. And are you not absolutely DYING after that ending?? GAH. And there's not even a release date for the next book!

  18. Yes!! I absolutely looooved this one too and I cannot wait to read the next book!! I want it know damn it!! What an ending and what a shock!!
    Great review, Maja!


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