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A Game of Noctis

About The Book

An “exciting, fast-moving” (School Library Journal) middle grade fantasy about a girl who must participate in a deadly game with a ragtag team of players to save her grandfather from a terrible fate—perfect for fans of James Riley and Shannon Messenger!

In the opulent, sinking city of Dantessa, the Great Game rules all. Pia Paro believes that so long as you follow the rules, you always have a chance at winning. But after her beloved Gramps is sentenced to a life of servitude, Pia accepts a dangerous offer and joins a team of players seeking to win the most perilous game of all: Noctis.

The Seafoxes—Pia’s new teammates—are unlike anyone she’s ever met. There’s brash, bold Carlo; macabre Serafina; kindhearted Pasquale; and their dashing ringleader, Vittoria. Each has their own reason for playing, and soon, Pia begins to question all her long-held beliefs. Maybe the rules Pia once trusted to lift her up have only been keeping her—and thousands of others like her—down.

As she struggles with these revelations, Pia must survive a gauntlet of clockwork soldiers, perilous underwater adventures, and even a game against Death herself. But with Pia’s grandfather’s life at stake, Pia must finally decide whether she’s brave enough to not just break the rules, but to change the very nature of the Game.

About The Author

Photograph (c) Paul Van Der Werf

Deva Fagan writes fantasy and science fiction for all ages. When she’s not writing, she spends her time reading, doing geometry, playing video games, hiking, and drinking copious amounts of tea. She is the author of several books, including Rival MagicNightingaleThe Mirrorwood, and A Game of Noctis. She lives in Maine with her husband and their dog. You can find her online at

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (April 9, 2024)
  • Length: 320 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781665930215
  • Ages: 10 - 99

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Raves and Reviews

* “Dantessa’s Venetian-inspired world of canals and palazzos is intricately built, lush with sensory detail, and a vividly imagined magical gaming culture. Pia is a resilient, brave, and empathetic character. . . . Both the lead and supporting characters are distinct and intriguing, and the action is expertly paced. Diversity in skin tone and sexuality is casually woven into the story. A richly creative magical adventure about challenging an unfair status quo.”

– Kirkus Reviews, starred review, 2/15/24

* “The transporting novel instantly enthralls, casting readers headlong into a world of impressively well-developed games and mythology. Pia shines as a phenomenal protagonist willing to examine long-held convictions as truths come to light, and the diverse supporting cast is equally as enjoyable, including a delightfully disarming Lady Death. A captivating consideration of what it means to be ‘good’ in an unjust world.”

– Booklist, starred review, 2/15/24

* "Fagan skillfully blends adventure and team-based competitions, set against a memorable, Mediterranean-leaning environment and populated by eclectic characters described as having varying skin tones. Clever, warmhearted, fast-paced, and energetic, this tale has much to offer."

– Publishers Weekly, starred review, 1/15/24

"An exciting, fast-moving story for fans who like clever, strong-willed heroines battling enormous odds."

– School Library Journal, March 2024 Issue

"Inventive and unexpected, this creative fantasy will entertain readers while striking deeper notes of honor and teamwork in the face of peril."

– Horn Book, March/April 2024 Issue

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More books from this author: Deva Fagan