Friday, March 24, 2023

Book Review - City of the Dead by James Ponti



City of the Dead by James Ponti is the fourth book in the City Spies series. The City Spies are a group of young spies that solve mysteries all over the world. In the latest installment, the spies head to Egypt in order to investigate an unknown person hacking into the computers of the British’s government and holding their data ransom.

Each child in the group takes turns acting as the Alpha during a mission. This allows them to test and hone their respective special ability. Kat (codename Kathmandu) is the Alpha for this book/mission. She loves logic and order, and prime numbers hold a special place in her heart. Kat’s special ability is being able to spot patterns in things that look completely random.

Kat and the team were requested by British Intelligence to test the security of the British Museum. The group thought it was a random mission until a string of cyber-attacks threatened to cripple the British government. As the team tries to solve puzzles and hidden messages left behind from the cyberattacks, they find a link between these attacks, Egypt, and the museum.

The team receives a decrypted message that hints that the person behind the hacks is located in Egypt. They follow the leads but something isn’t adding up. There is another layer to the mystery behind the attacks – Will the team be able to figure it out before it’s too late?

I read the first book in the series but not the second and third. I was able to follow along with most of the story, even with this being the fourth in the series. However, I feel that the books should be read in order because there is a larger mystery that is covered between the books and each book gives more clues to it. The book is packed with action, twists, and sprinkled with humor. I liked reading how each character brought their own unique ability and skill set to the table, and how they were open with each other about their own insecurities. I also liked that the author included a dossier on each character giving more details about their background and skill sets.

I liked that each book takes place in a different country and that the author includes tidbits of the culture. It was interesting to read about Egypt’s food, culture, and the pyramids.  The book is great for young readers who are interested in spy stories and love learning about new heritages. It also teaches young readers the importance of family, believing in yourself, and being a team player.


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