City of the Plague God

Sarwat Chadda. Disney/Riordan, $16.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-368-05150-7
Chadda (the Ash Mistry series) crafts an entertaining exploration of New York City through the eyes of an irreverent Iraqi American Muslim teen. Ever since Sikander Aziz’s older brother died in a motorcycle accident two years ago, the now-13-year-old’s responsibilities have been piling up. Forgoing usual games nights with friends, Sik spends his evenings helping out at his parents’ Brooklyn deli, serving delicious Arab and Medi-terranean food to passersby. One night, though, his routine goes badly wrong when a pair of demons from Babylonian mythology launch a vicious attack on him, assisted by disease-ridden rodents. As servants of Nergal, the Mesopotamian god of plagues, their false belief that Sik holds the secret to eternal life puts him in the god’s crosshairs. Together with Belet, daughter of the war goddess Ishtar, and Daoud, a vain would-be actor and friend, Sik must find the ancient flower of immortality and save his city from Nergal’s devastation. Combining fast-paced action and heavy doses of humor, this Gilgamesh-inspired novel benefits from a well-developed secondary cast. The touching exploration of adolescent grief, and the strong connections between Sik and his parents, provide additional nuance and depth. Ages 8–12. Agent: Sarah Davies, Greenhouse Literary. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 12/03/2020
Release date: 01/12/2021
Genre: Children's
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