Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure
“High schooler Clara Marsters was on summer break when she found a magical tarot card that would change her destiny. The card teleported her onto the dying world, Gaia, as its new master. There she met Alex, the mysterious yet familiar talking tiger, who came to assist her on her quest to collect the remaining cards.
In order to save the world and get back home, they must travel through the kingdom of Burkhart, solving puzzles and braving the trials of the cards. Unfortunately, there’s more than trials she has to worry about; others want the magical power of the cards, and they’ll stop at nothing to get it.
How far would you go to save a world that isn’t your own?”
As someone who has read Tarot on a personal basis for years and who has several friends who read Tarot more professionally, I found the concept to this story very interesting. I feel the author has probably studied Tarot simply for the way she accurately portrays each card both in her art (there are artistic depictions of each card to accompany the chapters) and her writing.
The book starts by delving immediately into the action. The heroine, Clara, awakens in her bedroom to find a Tarot card (The Fool) that strangely resembles herself even though the home is locked and nobody else is there. When she sets forth to find whatever intruder left the card on her pillow, she finds herself transported into an alternate universe on the planet Gaia.
Here she meets a talking tiger named Alex who explains what happened. The Tarot cards are not only magical, but each card of the Major Arcana (the most prominent of the two subsets of Tarot cards) holds a sentient entity, all of whom are reaching out to find their new master: the new keeper of the cards. Without a master to care for them, the cards naturally pull energy from the world they’re on (Gaia) which eventually sucks the life from the planet and therefore leaving its inhabitants to starve.
But the cards won’t simply bow to anyone. Not only must the master be magically inclined, they must prove themselves worthy in the eyes of each card. And so, Clara sets forth on a multitude of tasks in order to show her strength in various fields and collect the cards before they inadvertently destroy all life on Gaia. The last of the planet’s resources to reach other worlds was used to send The Fool card to Earth in order to find a person with enough magic inside them to take on these tasks. That person, of course, was Clara.
Admittedly, I wasn’t sure at first about Clara’s personality. She seemed to rely too much on Alex (and others) to complete her mission while appearing quite average herself. As I kept reading, however, I realized that the way she was written portrayed two important messages: The first was that having to get help from friends is not a weakness and the second was that everyone, even the most unassuming person, can hold great power if they would only set their mind to it.
This book appears to be aimed toward a younger audience with its simple and straight-forward writing style. It’s grammatically proper and clearly took a lot of though to pull together. The plot starts off fairly simple and then gradually increases in complexity as it goes, revealing the history of the characters, tragedy, romance, and even humor. The story is fast-paced and though it is already a series, this book alone could have been several if it had been written in more detail. Nonetheless, it’s great for young adults or anyone looking for an interesting and easy read.
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~Sahreth ‘Baphy’ Bowden