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The Gauntlet

(The Gauntlet #1)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  1,611 ratings  ·  437 reviews
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 o
Hardcover, 298 pages
Published March 28th 2017 by Salaam Reads / Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
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T.R. Horne My son is 10 (going on 11) and he's starting this.…moreMy son is 10 (going on 11) and he's starting this.(less)

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Average rating 3.73  · 
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 ·  1,611 ratings  ·  437 reviews

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Adam Silvera
Feb 29, 2016 marked it as to-read
That synopsis tho! I went to go add this to my to-read list but I apparently did that back in February. WELL DONE, PAST ADAM.
Sue (Hollywood News Source)
They say good shoes take you to good places, I believe the same thing could be said to books. The Gauntlet is that book.

It will take you to a place where winning a challenge is a must to survive. It will take you to an unimaginable land where cultures intersect. It will take you to a community where vibrancy and comradery exist between a cluster of people.

It seems so simple, but the lasting effect is there. The Gauntlet easily become my favorite. It has everything I want in a book, there’s the
Mar 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is such an excellent Middle Grade novel. I'm so happy this book exists. It's fast-paced, beautiful, and intriguing, and perfect for all ages - not just middle grade readers. The stunning description will leave you hungry (for the described food) and wishing you could see what Farah and her friends are (for the architecture and more). I would HIGHLY recommend this one.

rachel ☾
The Gauntlet was one of my most highly anticipated releases of the year. The premise of retelling Jumanji, one of my all-time favourite childhood movies, with steampunk + Middle Eastern influences sounded too good to be true… which, in the end, it was. I know that I am definitely a black sheep with this opinion but I just did not enjoy this book as much as everyone else seemed to. I struggled to even make it to the end of the story! It was undeniably enjoyable but I just did not enjoy it that mu ...more
May 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this to be a very fun middle grade, taking a concept I absolutely love and making it such a thrill to read about. Three kids get sucked into a mechanical board game to save Farah's younger brother, only to find out they have the play the game and defeat the evil Architect to get back out. Stakes are high throughout and there are a lot of interesting parts of the book, such as the levels. Nicely written and an absolute thrill to read. ...more
♛ may
Book 7 completed for #RamadanReadathon

this was such a cute, fun read.

honestly it felt akin to a rick riordan book to me. you have three kids who find themselves stuck in another, crazy interesting world where they are tasked to complete 3 challenges in order to save themselves and return home

it's like a steampunk jumanji (i never watched jumanji tho hehe) set in an south asian inspired world. the writing is absolutely gorgeous, the detailing of the world and the descriptions of food and setting
Lauren Stoolfire
Apr 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Gauntlet, a reverse steampunk-esque Jumanji and meets The Wizard of Oz inspired MG adventure with a Middle Eastern flair is exactly my cup of tea! I don't know about you, but the moment I heard about this novel I immediately knew I had to get my hands on a copy. I don't read middle grade that often, but this one sounded like it would be well worth my time. Sure enough, it absolutely paid off. There is so much to love about Riazi's diverse fantasy debut - it has something for everyone and it ...more
CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨
Jumanji + steampunk + Middle-Eastern influences + tons of awesome = The Gauntlet. 👌

- When I was a kid, I watched Jumanji and cried my eyes out because I was terrified. Haha! But THIS is awesome; perfect if you want an exciting adventure with unexpected twists and turns.
- This is a middle-grade book, but honestly? EVERYONE can enjoy this book! It's so much fun!
- I adored the characters! They showed strength through adversity and weakness, and showed that, by working together, we can accomplish am
Laura (bbliophile)
This was SO GOOD! I loved the characters and the world and the food descriptions and just EVERYTHING Review to come
Apr 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a ride.I don’t quite know how to begin this review.

So that’s how I will begin it. Ha. When I feel too much for a book, I generally don’t like talking about it because I want to keep these feelings close to me. I have known Karuna for a while now and have been anticipating this book ever since I knew it existed. Not just because she is my friend and a wonderful writer but also because how important this book is and what its existence means.

First though, the synopsis of The Gauntlet:

A trio o
sil ♡ the book voyagers
The Gauntlet is for sure one of my most anticipated 2017 books. Karuna Riazi is my hero and I look up to her so much.

I saw a bit of Jumanji and a bit of Wizard of Oz to be honest too. I loved loved this book and how it was written. The chapters are short so it has that easy flow that middle grade novels have. It is 1000% adventures and action and games and all of these wonderful things everyone will love. It has a lot of puzzle games and board games, which I adore in real life and to see them i
✨    jami   ✨
More of a 3.5 star really. It was really fast paced which I liked, and the representation was great. The setting was okay, but I found the characters a bit boring. Rtc
Kara Babcock
Apr 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I won a copy of The Gauntlet in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

Farah Mirza is a gamer from a family of gamers. The Mirzas love all sorts of tabletop games, card games, and puzzles. On her twelfth birthday, she mistakenly receives the Gauntlet, a malevolent and self-aware board game. When her younger brother, Ahmad, gets trapped inside the game, Farah and her two friends have no choice but to enter the game themselves and beat it in order to retrieve Ahmad and exit. But the Gauntlet has not pla
Aug 27, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf, 1-star
1* dnf: 124/294 (I was wondering why I was reading this so fast when I realized I was trying to get it over with.)

I keep waiting for the game to actually start and the first game was really lame. I don't really care about the characters which is a problem. I feel like I kept waiting for the story to get to the point. Also it unnaturally throws in a lot of Farah's culture constantly at unnecessary moments. Wow CHAI TEA!!! So awkward and unnecessary what the hell. For example some of the foods and
Shira Glassman
In this book, a Bangladeshi-American tween named Farah, And Her Two Friends, have to battle a sadistic, hidden game-master in order to rescue her brother from a board game. They have to play by his rules -- showing up on time for each game, not making it too obvious they're trying to bust out, and only looking for poor Ahmad during their few moments of free time. The games include, for example, life-size Mancala with holes big enough to fall into that are also full of bones, so the whole thing i ...more
Jamie (Books and Ladders)
I read a sample of this one courtesy of Simon Teen Canada. And OMG. It is SO GOOD. I can't wait until the full title releases so I can read the rest. ...more
Aug 29, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a debut novel. And like many debut novels, it's not up to par quite yet. The Gauntlet was just so: It had a lot of potential, but did not meet them.

There were a lot of interesting, individual components:

*Hijabi protagonist who has roots in Pakistan
*Transported into a game with puzzles as challenges
*The only way to escape from game is to win three challenges if not they get trapped forever
*Protag's brother has ADHD, majority side characters are persons of color (only one was white)
Jan 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Barely adjusting to her new home in the Upper East Side, Bangladeshi-American kid Farah finds herself sucked into the game of The Gauntlet of Blood and Sand after her younger brother, Ahmad, vanishes into the game. Alongside her friends, she must complete three challenges and failure to win will trap them- and Ahmad- forever. 

I've been anticipating this book since Salaam Reads was first announced. And I can definitely confirm that this book was so worth the wait. 

I really, really enjoyed the wor
Book Riot Community
This was my most anticipated book of the year and it did not disappoint! In fact, I loved it even more than I expected to. Farah and her friends, brother, family members, and all the people she encounters in The Gauntlet of Blood and Sand are real people who absolutely leapt off the page, and their adventures read in glorious 3D. So magical and lovely.

— Annika Barranti Klein

from The Best Books We Read In April 2017:
Gabe Novoa
This was so fun! I really enjoyed Farah's fascinating (and delicious-sounding) journey through The Gauntlet. Don't read this while you're hungry; those food descriptions are to die for.

Can't wait to see more from Karuna! :D
Marianne (Boricuan Bookworms)
Um... maybe 3.5 stars?

I can't quite put my finger on it, but I found it very hard to get into the story. A lot of things went over my head, like the challenges the kids were playing... I just couldn't conceptualize them at all. It may be a me problem, because the book itself is pretty enjoyable.
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Aug 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
This was quite fun, and all the food sounded delicious. I need to make samosas now.
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I adored this book! A great adventure story of friendship and sibling love set in a Jumanji type game. (Imagine getting sucked into the game than the game invading your world.) If you enjoy fun, action packed middle reader books you MUST check this one out! As a bonus you get all of the amazing food descriptions that make you want to order Indian food ASAP.
This book is all over the place so pardon this review as it jumps around too. First off, my thanks and awards go to:
1.) Google! You were there for me throughout the entirety of this book; for ALL of the many, many, did I mention MANY (?) Bangladeshi cultural references that I had no clue about, you had my back, Google. Apu; chenna murki; samosas; pakoras; salwar kameez; Masi; chutku; jalis; masala; dupatta....all these words and more (and that's just by p. 51--the book is 294 pages in case you w
Polenth Blake
Mar 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Farah and her friends get caught in a magical game. They'll have to win challenges if they want to escape.

Farah is a quiet and analytical sort of person, who comes from a family that play a lot of games. I liked that she is Bangladeshi and a practising Muslim, who wears a hijab. This is treated in a positive way. Her friends have known her for a long time, so there's no hostility or questioning from them (there's some from the children from Farah's new school, but this isn't shown in detail).

A Canadian Girl
May 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 3-stars, salaam-reads
With the launch of Salaam Reads – an imprint of Simon and Schuster focused on bringing Muslim voices into publishing – and an author known for being passionate about diversity, Karuna Riazi’s The Gauntlet was a novel that I know many people were excited about. After reading The Gauntlet, I find that my thoughts on it are quite scattered, and so the best way for me to write a cohesive review was to create a pros and cons list.

- As a South Asian, I was really looking forward to having a prota
Rashika (is tired)
Actual rating 3.5

***This review has also been posted on Xpresso Reads

Things You Need To Know About The Gauntlet

1. It is a great book for kids who love games and kids who love RP games. Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you were made a character in your fav game? WELL THIS BOOK ANSWERS all those questions and more.

2. Friendships are a huge deal in this book. Farah and her friends grew apart when she moved and as they are forced into The Gauntlet, they reconnect and work tog
Thank the lawd for middle grade fantasy that isn't Eurocentric or tired and derivative. This has all the things you want from a portal fantasy quest, from physical to mental challenges, but the architecture, the characters, the games (mancala! I put this book down every two sentences in that chapter and had to go find a mancala app until I can retrieve my gameboard from my mother; I probably could have spent half the time I did on this book had I not kept stopping for that), and the food make it ...more
Stacie (Shy Book Nerd)
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Actual rating: 4.5 stars

This was such a delightful read! I loved the Middle Eastern folklore, and the games they played. I wanted to jump in and play too. It really felt like I was in the game with such beautiful descriptions. And the food! All the different foods that were mention made me hungry. I want to try everything, especially the sweets!! I really liked the three friends Farah, Essie, and Alex. They were a trio that no matter what, stuck together through thick an thin. Even when they got
Katherine Locke
Apr 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ahhh I never marked this as read! I LOVED this book. It was really fun from start to finish, and the voice felt really authentic. I loved the sibling relationship and the friendships in the book, and I can really see kids reading this book and talking about it together. My copy's heading to my mom's classroom for her upper level readers! Definitely high on my rec pile for middle grade!

Also, I know people are always looking for books to rec to all genders for this age group: I think any kid read
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Karuna Riazi is a born and raised New Yorker, with a loving, large extended family and the rather trying experience of being the eldest sibling in her particular clan. Besides pursuing a BA in English literature from Hofstra University, she is an online diversity advocate, blogger, and publishing intern. Karuna is fond of tea, Korean dramas, writing about tough girls forging their own paths toward ...more

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The Gauntlet (2 books)
  • The Battle (The Gauntlet #2)

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