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Reviewed by:
  • The Game of Triumphs
  • Kate Quealy-Gainer
Powell, Laura. The Game of Triumphs. Knopf, 2011. [288p]. Library ed. ISBN 978-0-375-96587-6 $19.99 Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-375-86587-9 $16.99 E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-375-89774-0 $16.99 Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 7–10.

A late-night run for dinner turns into something far more complicated when fifteen-year-old Cat stumbles into a dive bar where four imposing figures appear to be playing a simple card game. Introducing themselves as the Game Masters of Arcanum, they inform Cat that she has now entered play in the Game of Triumphs as a Fool. Initially, sensible, practical Cat thinks this is all a load of role-playing hooey and hightails it out of there, but her curiosity gets the better of her when she later receives an invitation to an Arcanum event. There Cat realizes that the Game is, in fact, very real and offers winners unbelievable prizes from fame to glory to justice—the last one being Cat’s own aim, as she is desperate to uncover and punish [End Page 103] her parents’ killers. The risks are great, but Cat finds herself more than willing to face mortal danger to attain her goal. Tarot comes alive in this cleverly conceived thriller that delivers action, humor, and mystery in spades. With its complex rules and structure, the Game itself will surely please fans of fantasy-based role-playing games, although a few of the more lengthy expositions on the rules do slow the pace a bit; this, however, is an easily forgivable flaw in light of how compelling the Game itself actually is. Prickly and defiant, Cat is the perfect protagonist to challenge the forces behind Arcanum, and her role in the Game Masters’ demise makes for a stunning conclusion. This British import promises a sequel, but until then, have your tarot cards on hand because teens will most certainly be looking for their own chance at triumph after reading Cat’s story.



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pp. 103-104
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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