By M.G. Velasco
Published on: August 6, 2019
A western with a modern twist! You don’t see too many westerns in the middle-grade category for kids, so when I saw this book I knew I had to give it a try, especially since it fused a modern-day style game to the core of its story.
To best understand the story, it’s probably a good idea to understand how trading card games function. I freely admit that my knowledge on the subject is limited, but when most people think of the trading card games, they will immediately go to Pokemon, but there are others like Yu-Gi-Oh or Hearthstone, In the game you have a set of cards with some type of artwork that will depict a type of creature, being, etc. Each of these cards will provide text explaining the card’s function, perhaps with defensive characteristics or offensive characteristics. Then, you play the cards based on that games specific rules. I have probably butchered all of that, but I hope you get the gist.
After all…”Deputy Bat Masterson Plays Mythic. Do you?”
In Cardslinger, Shuffle’s father created a trading card game called Mythic. However, several years ago he went on an expedition and was never seen again, believed to have been killed. One day Shuffle finds someone selling his father’s Mythic cards and realizes his father isn’t dead after all. He is positive his dad would never abandon him, so something must be keeping him from coming home. No one, of course, believes him so he sets out to find him, along with his trusty black cat Katana. The journey west does not go as planned and soon he finds himself trying to outrun some guns for hire. But he is not completely ill-fortuned because it’s not a western without a side kick and her name is Atalanta, who decides to go along with him on his quest and help him out.
“Of course, the escape couldn’t be too easy. Skylla and her gang had to show up to make a game of it. What a pile of cow patties.”
This book was such a fun read. As I mentioned earlier you don’t see many westerns for middle age so to be able to read about stage coaches, horseback riding, shoot-outs, trains and railroads, not to mention Doc Holliday is going really excite some young readers. The main characters of Shuffle and Atalanta and written really well and it’s just possible that you may find your favorite character is the side-kick Atalanta, who is tough as nails. There’s a lot of activity that keeps the story moving along at a nice pace. The chapters are short, but if they run on the longer-side of short, then there are usually breaks within the chapter to give the reader a nice stopping point, if needed. Although the book has a lot of adventure, it never loses the heart of it’s story line of a boy just trying to find his dad and bring him home.
Rating: 5 stars