2.5 stars. I swear, I am not pulling one of those out-of-touch fan moments like when a person would want to know why The Casual Vacancy didn't read like Harry Potter part deux. I swear it. If there's one thing I've always admired about Richelle Mead, it's that she doesn't sit on her success and write the same formulaic characters and worlds over and over like so many other popular authors today tend to do when they find something that works for them. It's admirable to see any author pushing themselves in order to make sure that their "new" series doesn't read just like their "old" series. That said, I'm going to give fair warning : if you are expecting a book which will read similar to any previous Mead series, you will be in for a rude awakening. It was easy to pick out some Mead-isms because I knew what to look for, but if I hadn't known ahead of time that I was reading a RM book, I never would have guessed. The writing style and world building was completely alien from anything I've read of hers in the past.Positive to this new style : It's more polished. The info dumps are spread out (possibly even sparse in a couple of areas). You can see more of a confidence in writing this time around and less shakiness as the ideas are sketched out.Negative to this new style : It's very sterile. There was a big disconnect when it came to emotion. I honestly don't think it's the switch to third person perspective either. There's definitely something about this world which screams impersonal from the start.However...Richelle Mead did not lose me as a fan here, even though I wasn't completely sold on this particular book. Her title of my favorite author is still secure. I have faith that she will take me someplace good, even though I'm not sure where we're headed right now. If anyone is a master at building a good story arc, it's this woman.My biggest issue with Gameboard of the Gods was that it focused more on government, military, power plays, information finding, etc. which is pretty much everything I don't like to read about in books. My complaints are similar to how I felt while reading Mind Fuck. I want more of the alternate genre goodness, not the tedious politics and protocol. I desired that more of the sci-fi and fantasy sides of the story would shine through. We didn't hear much about the gods and true/false worship of the gods until past the halfway point of the book. The "crows" that were with Justin (the male lead) were not explained fully until after the halfway point as well.I was sooooooooooo damn confused about these two voices speaking to Justin in his head. It bugged me and BUGGED ME that this character was having a conversation with two other beings and I didn't know what was really going on until late in the game because the earliest explanation was so shoddy!Mae (the female lead) comes across as cold from the start, so it was hard to warm up to her. I think I sort of get her now after seeing some of her back story.Funny enough, my favorite character was Justin's younger protege. She was a cute kid and I loved every scene she was in.I don't know...there was so much about this book which felt like a chore to read and it PAINS me to have to give the super-talented Ms. Mead a rating this low because I've never done it before, and that's after having read around 20 works of hers up to this point. But I won't coddle an author just because I've loved everything they've written in the past.While I wait to find out if book 2 is going to be pass or fail, I'll just go back to my faith in Mead's ability to pull off a sensational story arc that grows better with each book. Given the way Gameboard ended, I'm not giving up hope that the series will become sensational in time. I'm definitely going to stick around and give the series another chance before throwing in the towel.Even though I'm going to tell all Richelle Mead virgins to try a different series instead of this one if they're new to the author (unless you're into edgier sci-fi and corporate/military games, then this might actually be the right jumping off point for you), I'm *still waving the fangirl banner unashamedly*This book provided from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.