Saturday, April 1, 2017

Crown Review #36 - The Gauntlet

The Gauntlet - Karuna Riazi

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Series: Standalone
Length: 304 Pages
Purchase: [Amazon] | [Barnes & Noble]

Thank You Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing and NetGalley for giving an eARC for an honest review. 

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?

When I first saw this book, I was not sure if I was going to like it or not, but my inner kid was telling me to do so because I was reminded of something I loved back then. I grew up watching the movie Jumanji over and over again to the point that I do not have an exact count of how many times I watched it. While it did remind me of Jumanji, The Gauntlet still had its own originality to it.

The game had a Middle Eastern flair to it as well as many differences. The characters were different, the settings were different, and the entire game was completely different. In this story, the game takes place in the world where that it is mostly sand and gears, not inside a jungle or the real world. It can be told that a lot of people have been transported into this game and failed, therefore leaving them stuck in this game. When Farah and her two friends get sucked into it, they see all the other former players and they all want the same thing: Farah to win and to finally get out of the game. The game is a bit odd for the fact that it only targets children when they are 12 years old. This fact will be shown to be a crucial fact to the story overall. 

Inside the game, there was shops and many things that Farah and her friends explored. Overall, the shops and the restaurants have been established to help the new players advance in the game. After all, if you lost and got stuck, you would want to help the new players for you escape as well. Everyone was especially helpful towards the trio except for one person, The Architect. This person controls the game and makes up the challenges and rules to everything. He can be a force and will be a force. 

There is a part I have to talk about. In the entire book, I kept questioning the use of ADHD through Farah's brother Ahmed. I've grown up in a house with ADD and ADHD through family members, and I just couldn't make the connection. Maybe our cases were different, but how I saw the character, I had to question it. Although I must admit, it did do the job for the story. I would have just hoped for the ADHD to be more real or backed up.

Overall, this is a fun adventure perfected for the targeted audience and probably for all ages. This could be the Jumanji of the younger generations. 


  1. I really want to pick up this book now, it definitely seems like something I'd enjoy! Thanks for the great review ^_^