Review of A Game of Noctis

A Game of Noctis A Game of Noctis
by Deva Fagan
Intermediate    Atheneum    320 pp.
4/24    9781665930192    $17.99
e-book ed.  9781665930215    $10.99

Ever since the plague three centuries ago, during which the Prince of Dantessa challenged Lady Death to a game of noctis for the lives of her people, inhabitants of the tiny magical island compete for wealth and standing by taking wagers in the Great Game, the magic system that oversees all games of chance. But when Pia’s Gramps loses a final game and is banished, Pia will do whatever it takes to win the money it would take to recall him to play. Her opportunity comes when she is recruited by the Seafoxes into a tournament that carries a hefty prize. Their chief rival is the Krakens, captained by Renzo, once Pia’s greatest childhood friend but now her enemy. Can the Seafoxes compete in an arena where the wealthy can afford magical boons that give them considerable advantages—and can they find a way to break the Great Game so that wealth doesn’t automatically equal winning? Befitting a society run by games, some of the magic is silly (one game involves dueling with swordfish; some boons involve being given zebra stripes or invulnerability while standing on one foot), but things become very serious when Lady Death herself appears in order to compete in the tournament. Inventive and unexpected, this creative fantasy will entertain readers while striking deeper notes of honor and teamwork in the face of peril.

Pubissue-From the March/April 2024 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Anita L. Burkam

Anita L. Burkam
Horn Book reviewer Anita L. Burkam is former associate editor of The Horn Book Magazine.

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