"The guard led them in, and Arthur was barely able to stifle a gasp of shock -- Baba-death was huge, bloated like a human puffball, massively fat -- boss monster, 500 hit points, grey power (metal magic) … in much better shape on the card."

The most exciting part of Arthur Pyle's day is playing the card game Rune Matrix with his friends. But as he places a card into play one day, he is thrust into the fantasy world of the game, and his life becomes a whole lot more exciting. Guided by Joyful-mercy, the Great White Owl, Arthur must undertake a quest that will test his mettle—and his faith. As he proceeds in his travels, Arthur's knowledge of the game and his courage drive him forward past friends and foes and onward to his destiny. To return home, Arthur only has one option: he must play the game.

This book successfully takes on two tough young adult topics: bullying and religion. The epic quest Arthur undergoes is a clear allegory for overcoming your obstacles and adversaries as well as putting your faith in a higher being. The protagonist is a typical 12-year-old, wet behind the ears and more than a bit whiny, which makes him easy for young adult readers to relate to. He has some troubles at home and is often picked on. The fantasy world of the card game is where the book truly shines, though; it's thriving and colorful, with many curious inhabitants from unicorns to water spirits. As he proceeds on his adventure, Arthur becomes aware of a mysterious Game Master pulling the strings; and to surpass the seemingly impossible, he is told to call on the power of God.

The message is clear to Arthur and to young readers that whenever you need help, God will guide you. This lesson is taught without preaching or coaxing, but rather through a fun and exciting way that makes religion more accessible to tweens. As Arthur grows, so does his confidence and faith. Behind the fantastical adventure is one boy's journey to believe in himself—and in God.

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