Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Review: The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi

by Karuna Riazi
Publisher: Salaam Reads
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: March 28th, 2017
Purchase: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
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?

As my first middle grade read of 2017 I was eager to choose something unique, something that was refreshing and new and would breath new life into the world of children's books. The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi, which also happens to be my first read from Simon & Schusters new Salaam Reads imprint, was an absolute must. It checked off everything I was looking for in a book, and after hearing all the pre-release praise from some of my favourite authors, I couldn't wait to instantly dive into it.

"Before she could get an answer, the grave beneath her feet began to open right up, swallowing her whole."

Karuna Riazi's The Gauntlet was a magical journey I didn't want to end! Featuring a stunning trio of highly relatable characters, Karuna takes us on a sci-fi and steampunk adventure that involves a mechanical board game. In a race against time, the trio finds themselves mysteriously trapped in said board game and must find a way to escape. By solving puzzles and encountering some unsavory creatures, they must also find a way to defeat the game's diabolical creator and ultimately destroy the game in it's entirety. The Jumanji-esque debut by Karuna Riazi was an incredible thrill ride, filled with diverse characters, settings, and proved to be exceptionally addicting. I highly recommend The Gauntlet for younger readers looking for a new read to obsess over. I can only hope someone will option this for a film or tv series - it would be incredible!

5 / 5 Cupcakes

This title was provided to the blogger by the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review. No payment was received/accept in exchange for this review/post. The blogger requests that this review not be reposted or edited without the blogger's permission. The thoughts and words expressed in this review/post are explicitly the blogger's.

1 comment

  1. Oh, I love middle grade adventure and fantasy! And I love the diversity in the book you chose!! So awesome! Sounds like the kind of puzzles and adventures in early Harry Potter books when they were younger, which is so cool and fun and it also sounds like it would become a wonderful movie as well!

    Lovely review!