Book Review: The Immortal Crown by Richelle Mead

What!? Book Reviews two weeks in a row? I’d like to say it’s because I’ve suddenly found some free time, but the real reason is any book by Richelle Mead inevitably takes over my life until it’s finished. The Immortal Crown was no different.

nerdy side

The Immortal Crown by Richelle Mead is a feminist nightmare. For those unfamiliar with The Age of X series, these books take place in a futuristic society with the primary location being the RUNA or the Republic of United Northern America. In the RUNA religion is on the fringes of society and highly regulated by the state. There are strict rules about practicing religion to avoid any belief system from becoming radical and/or harmful.

While most people in the RUNA don’t believe in a God or hold their beliefs in secret. The system is far different in the theocracy of Arcadia. Warped by a crude religious system that is integrated into the country’s laws, women are treated like second class citizens. That might be too nice, actually. They’re treated more like property.

You have to appreciate this book in a way similar to appreciating a horror movie. The Arcadian attitudes and actions towards women are cringe worthy at the least.

Richelle Mead has done a great job showing the good and bad side of religion. In the first book, Gameboard of the Gods, we saw certain religions that we relatively harmless. Some, you could even argue, did a certain amount of good. In the Immortal Crown, religion is very much an enemy to humanity.

I’m excited to see how religion is further explored by Mae and Justin, who are resistant to the whole idea despite some very compelling evidence. Let’s not forget Tessa, the girl who grew up in a country where money is scarce and religious belief enjoys more acceptance who is now going to school in the RUNA thanks to Justin’s connections. Through her, we are able to explore some of the ridiculousness that comes with advanced technology.

In true Richelle Mead fashion, religious, political and social issues wouldn’t be happy without the accompaniment of a little romance. In this case, romance is really more like great sexual frustration. This is just a fair warning. You might want to throw this book once you get to the end (but please don’t as books are art).

There’s a lot of different religious ideas mixed in this series. So far, there is a lot of hails to Norse mythology, but I think there might be some Egyptian mythology coming in to play soon. Perhaps, like Mead’s Succubus Blues series, the truth of the world is that every god exist. They’re all playing the game and humanity are the pieces on the board.

The immortal CrownDo you think religion could ever become so harmful that it would need to be regulated by the state? In a world with multiple gods, what do you think the point of a game is? What will be the fate of humanity, the pieces on the board?

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5 thoughts on “Book Review: The Immortal Crown by Richelle Mead”

  1. well, that sounds like a book I need to read. I have studied religion rather obsessively for a number of years (I got over it), book religions as well as alternative religion, and to use this in a novel would be interesting to say the least. Thanks for pointing it out!

    1. Richelle Mead has a degree in comparative religions and all her books incorporate some sort of lore, mythology or religion. It’s why she’s become one of my favorite authors.

  2. Your comment about all gods existing, with humanity existing as playing pieces on a board, reminds me of a short story I wrote for writing class in college. It was a story of all deities who have ever been known, existing inside a ship of simulations (effectively elaborate holodecks), competing to see who can most effectively shape humanity.

    With that in mind, any story that presents alternate takes on religion, and poses elaborate “what ifs,” I do find fascinating.

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