City of the Plague God, by Sarwat Chadda

Review copy provided by the publisher.

I am worried about this book.

It’s a romp through Mesopotamian mythology, transported into the present day in a story about a Sikander, an Iraqi-American kid who works at his parents’ New York deli. Gilgamesh makes cookies, there are some truly excellent cats and demons and fashionistas–generally it’s a really fun middle grade fantasy.

I am concerned that people might not find that out for themselves, because of the title and the year in which it’s coming out.

And I can’t even say, oh no, that’s just a marketing convention…because actually it’s not, it definitely is a book about a plague god ravaging New York, all sorts of people get horrifically ill in this book, including the protagonist’s parents. There is a section where the protag can’t visit his unconscious parents in their hospital rooms but can only observe them through the windows, and…yep, that’s a very real thing right now. If you’re not up for dealing with that in your fun kids’ fantasy, you’re going to want to steer clear of this quite well-done book, because that’s the book it is. With writing and publishing being what they are, I expect it was written before any of this, and yet…well. You can see why I’d be concerned. It’s sort of an “enjoy at your peril” situation.

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