Hi! Today I have another review, and this is of City of the Plague God, by Sarwat Chadda! The book comes out in less than two weeks, and I’m so glad I was able to read it because it’s a great book! It’s the latest of the Rick Riordan Presents publishing imprint, which publishes diverse books about different mythologies from around the world. City of the Plague God is about mesopotamian mythology, and is an overall fun book. I’m very excited to share my review.
City of the Plague God
Author: Sarwat Chadda
Release Date: January 12th, 2021
Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents
Genre: Middle grade, fantasy
*this review is spoiler-free*
Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents CITY OF THE PLAGUE GOD, an adventure based on ancient Mesopotamian mythology written by Sarwat Chadda, author of the Ash Mistry series. Characters from the Epic of Gilgamesh populate this high-stakes contemporary adventure in which all of Manhattan is threatened by the ancient god of plagues.
Thirteen-year-old Sik wants a simple life going to school and helping at his parents’ deli in the evenings. But all that is blown to smithereens when Nergal comes looking for him, thinking that Sik holds the secret to eternal life. Turns out Sik is immortal but doesn’t know it, and that’s about to get him and the entire city into deep, deep trouble.
Sik’s not in this alone. He’s got Belet, the adopted daughter of Ishtar, the goddess of love and war, on his side, and a former hero named Gilgamesh, who has taken up gardening in Central Park. Now all they have to do is retrieve the Flower of Immortality to save Manhattan from being wiped out by disease. To succeed, they’ll have to conquer sly demons, treacherous gods, and their own darkest nightmares.
I received a digital arc of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
City of the Plague God is a wonderful book.
From the very first page, the story pulled me in, and throughout the book I never ceased to be entertained.
The book follows 13-year-old Sikander who lives in New York City. Sik spends a lot of time in his family’s deli, and is mourning his brother, who died two years before the events of the book.
When the plague god Nergal comes looking for him, thinking that Sik holds a secret that Nergal wants, Sik’s life spirals into a series of adventures involving Mesopotamian mythology.
This book, which comes out in just a few weeks is the latest in the Rick Riordan Presents publishing imprint, and came with everything that I’ve come to expect from the imprint.
The mythology woven into the book was very interesting, but simple enough to understand without any prior knowledge of Mesopotamian mythology. The writing was wonderful and descriptive, and was full of humor and sarcasm.
The way that the mythology was written into the story was very unique. Ishtar, the Mesopotamian goddess of love and war was written really well, and was one of my favorite characters. The depth in her character was amazing, and her entire personality was really fun to read about.
Sik’s character was also well done in my opinion. I thought that his story was fascinating, and he had a background that was written out in a way that really added to the book.
I did want to know more about Belet’s backstory, who she was before she met Sik. Belet is the adopted daughter of Ishtar, and helps Sik on his adventures. I love how her ballet was the base of her fighting, and I overall thought she was a pretty great character. I just wanted more from where she came from, about her roots and everything.
The dialogue between characters helped move the book forward, and in general the writing kept the book entertaining. It was fairly fast-paced, however it did seem like a very long book for middle-grade, at 400 pages.
I think that City of the Plague God could struggle to hold the attention of readers on the younger side of the target audience. However that is not because it can be dull at times, but more because of the length, and the complicated plot.
Those same aspects could, on the other hand, be more enjoyable to older readers, so I think it would really depend. This isn’t to discourage anyone from picking up the book, but to think about the attention span a younger reader might have, and if that would be fitting for a longer novel like this one.
Images of characters are from readriordan.com
Sarwat Chadda has lived and traveled throughout the world, from China to Guatemala. He’s been lost in Mongolia, abandoned at a volcano in Nicaragua and hidden up a tree from a rhino in Nepal. Not to mention being detained by Homeland Security in the US and chased around Tibet by the Chinese police. Maybe he just has that sort of face.
Anyway, now he’s trying to settle in one place and stay out of trouble. Hence his new career as a writer. It’s safe, indoors and avoids any form of physical danger.
Throughout his travels, Sarwat has soaked up the myths, legends and cultures of far away places. Now, with the Ash Mistry series, he aims to bring these unfamiliar tales of ten-headed demons and blue-skinned heroes back home and put them beside the exploits of Achilles and Thor. His heroes are Prince Rama and the demon-slaying Kali. Isn’t it about time you met them too?
City of the Plague God is a wonderful middle grade book. The writing and dialogue is excellent, and the mythology is woven into the story in a unique way. The characters are entertaining and interesting, and the plot is very compelling.
My rating: 4/5 stars