June 4, 2024

REVIEW City Spies: City of the Dead (City Spies #4) by James Ponti

City Spies: City of the Dead (City Spies #4) 
by James Ponti
Rating: 4 Stars
Release Date: February 7, 2023
Format: Audiobook (Borrowed from Library) + ARC (Courtesy of Publisher and Rockstar Book Tours)
Publisher: Aladdin 

James Ponti delivered another amazing addition to the City Spies series with one of his latest releases, City of the Dead. It’s an inventive and fun take on the spy genre, with a rag-tag group of child spies taking up yet another mission to save the world. This was a great read (and listen), as narrator Lisa Flanagan once again did a great job with her performance in the audiobook. I always appreciate the ability to tell which character is narrating (without having to look at the print version). 

Since the first book’s addition of Brooklyn to the team, the team hasn’t really changed all that much. Each of them have their own special talents, and Kat’s ability to perform math and see patterns where others don’t take center stage in this book. I really appreciated the opportunity to see Kat own her uniqueness, and find a way to make her talents help the team (even when under the pressure of chaos and overstimulation). The team has a good routine going on, however, when a new surprise addition to the team joins the FARM in this book it disrupts all their plans and their current dynamic. It’s really going to change the interactions of the group/family going forward, and I’m curious to see how that plays out in the next book. Especially with the cliffhanger the author leaves readers on prior to going into the usual dossiers included at the end of the book (this time written by teammates).  

While it’s not an overly complex mystery, I was very engaged by the mission that the City Spies get sent on in this book. There’s a very large cast of characters, but they all had a purpose in the story (and I hope to see some of them making a cameo in future installments). As you might guess from the title and the cover, this book takes the kids on a mission to Egypt. I loved getting to learn bits and pieces about the culture there, as well as how many of their artifacts sadly ended up the property of other museums around the world. It was also a reminder that despite the way various travel companies stage their pictures, the pyramids are actually in the middle of urban sprawl in the modern day.

City of the Dead was an excellent read and I look forward to checking out more of the books in the series (though I’m sad I only have one more book before I have to wait for the next release). In the past, I’ve compared the series to a kid-friendly Mission Impossible meets James Bond, but I think it's equally suitable for more mature readers as well. If you or a young reader in your life enjoys mysteries and thrillers with spies, this book is worth a listen. 

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