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Literature / The Gauntlet (2017)

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The Gauntlet is a Fantasy Adventure book by Karuna Riazi

Farrah Mirzah is a pre-teen girl from a family of board game lovers. On her twelfth birthday, her Aunt Zohra visited, leaving her present in the guest bedroom. When they enter it, they find a brown package containing a board game called "The Gauntlet Of Blood And Sand". Thinking this is the game, Farrah and her friends, Essie and Alex, decide to give it a try. They set it up, pick up the play pieces, and out of nowhere, Farrah's little brother Ahmad grabs one of the pieces and shouts "I am ready for the Gauntlet!", and disappears.

When Aunt Zohra finds out, she's devestated. She tells Farrah and her friends that the game wasn't her intended gift, but is in actuality a trap that she lost a friend to years ago. The game lures in children, and then traps them inside of it. And now the game has Ahmad.

With no other options, Farrah, Essie, and Alex enter the game with the intent of rescuing Ahmad from its clutches. Once inside, they're tasked with taking part in a set of challenges that they must complete to be able to go home.

The book was first published on March 28th, 2017.

The Gauntlet contains examples of:

  • "Arabian Nights" Days: The city of Paheli and its denizens in the Gauntlet have this theme.
  • Big Bad: The Architect, who rules over the Gauntlet and decides the challenges the players face.
  • Big Good: Madame Nasirah.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Farrah wants nothing more than to find Ahmad and get out of the Gauntlet.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Turkish Puzzle rings Madame Nasirah gave Farrah before their challenges began. Farrah is able to beat the Architect with them by challenging him and Lady Amari to a game to see who can fit them all together the quickest. Since the Architect was a kid when he went into the Gauntlet, Farrah figured he never reached the age where he would learn about such a puzzle. She was right.
  • Clockwork Creature: The animals in the Gauntlet are all mechanical creatures full of gears.
  • Darkest Hour: Farrah, Essie, and Alex lose the third and final challenge by running out of time before they could rearrange the final two words, which means that they'll be trapped in the game forever now. Then the clockwork monkey shows up and tells them The Architect liked how they tackled it so much, he's giving them a fourth challenge to undertake.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: As it turns out, the Architect is the boy who was cheering the gang on throughout their challenges, and who they'd been giving money.
  • La RĂ©sistance: Farrah, Essie, and Alex encounter them in the sewers. They're a group of rather large lizards known as "The League of Extraordinary Resistance", let by Henrietta Peel (who's also a lizard). Their aim is to try and dismantle the game from the inside, and free everyone trapped inside it.
  • Lean and Mean: Titus Salt is a very thin man who does NOT like players winning challenges, since it causes portions of the city that he designs to collapse.