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Book Review: The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi

I received a free temporary ecopy of this Book from Netgalley and Salaam Reads in exchange for an honest review.

Title: The Gauntlet
Author: Karuna Riazi
Publisher: Salaam Reads
Publication Date: March 28, 2017
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy Adventure
Length: 384 pages
Format: ebook
Source: Netgalley

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

A trio of friends from New York City find themselves trapped inside a Mechanical Board game that they must dismantle in order to save themselves and generations of other children in this action-packed debut that's a steampunk Jumanji with a middle Eastern flair. 

When twelve-year-old Farah and her two best friends get sucked into a mechanical board game called The Gauntlet of Blood and Sand--a puzzle game akin to a large Rubik's cube--they know it's up to them to defeat the game's diabolical architect in order to save themselves and those who are trapped inside, including her baby brother Ahmed. But first they have to figure out how. 

Under the tutelage of a lizard guide named Henrietta Peel and an aeronaut Vijay, the Farah and her friends battle camel spiders, red scorpions, grease monkeys, and sand cats as they prepare to face off with the maniacal Lord Amari, the man behind the machine. Can they defeat Amari at his own game... or will they, like the children who came before them, become cogs in the machine?

My Thoughts: 
Farah Mirza must always invite her little brother to play games with her and worse than that, she must always let him win. Always. When she mistakenly receives a board game called The Gauntlet of Blood and Sand from her reclusive aunt, she and her two best friends, Alex and Essie, attempt to play without Ahmad but he jumps into the game before they can even start. The problem is, this is no ordinary game. The Gauntlet magically sucks you in to another world. Farah and her friends must play the game and complete the challenges presented to them while also searching for Ahmad. The stakes are high in this magical game, for it they lose they'll all be stuck in the game forever. 

If you enjoyed Jumanji, whether as a picture book or as a movie, you'll love this! It has a very similar concept, in that the characters are sucked into a game that is alive in a sense. If you like games in general, you'll love this because it's more than just one 'game', so to speak. The MC grew up playing games and a lot of the challenges in the Gauntlet mimic much-loved games like Mancala, marbles, and more.

I don't always read out of my comfort zone but when I do, I hope to learn new things about different people, places, and cultures and this was a wonderfully fun look into a world that I didn't know much about. Even though this is set in Manhattan, the game itself is representative of the Middle East and the main character's family is originally from Bangledesh. I may have originally been drawn to this book by the Jumanji comparison but I loved it for it's diverse characters and the beautiful family dynamics and friendships portrayed in it.

This was a ton of fun to read and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys magical adventures with a challenge. 

My Rating: 4.5 stars

This post first appeared on Lazy Day Literature, please read the originial post: here

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Book Review: The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi


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