‘Fury of the Dragon Goddess’ by Sarwat Chadda: Destiny is on the line for Sikander Aziz

Look no further than this Fury of the Dragon Goddess book review to learn why exactly you should pick up Sarwat Chadda’s sequel to Sikander Aziz’s first adventure, City of the Plague God.

I remember when City of the Plague God was released under the Rick Riordan Presents imprint, but as so often happens, life got in the way, and I didn’t get to read it until recently. If you’d like to hear my thoughts on it, you can check out Prophecy Radio episode #93.

You’ll quickly learn that I adored the first book in this series, and Fury of the Dragon Goddess continued that tradition. Sarwat has mentioned multiple times that there was no guarantee Plague God would get a sequel, but thanks to interest from fans, Disney made it happen! It was nice to revisit these wonderful characters again, as well as meet some new ones—on both sides of the aisle.

Related: Listen to our interview with Sarwat Chadda in Prophecy Radio episode #94

Though not required reading, as her backstory is explained in Dragon Goddess, I highly recommend checking out Sarwat’s story “The Loneliest Demon,” which can be found in the Cursed Carnivals and Other Calamities anthology, for an introduction to Rabisu, who plays a major role in this novel. I read it after I read the book, and while it didn’t take away my enjoyment, I know it would’ve heightened it had I read it beforehand.

Though New York City was a perfect backdrop for Sikander’s first adventure, I loved seeing him travel to London for his second—in part because Mo had always wanted to travel there, but also because that’s Sarwat’s hometown and there’s a lot of wonderful (and tragic) history to explore there.

It was good seeing Sik get out of his comfort zone, even if half his mind is back with his parents at the deli. His relationships with Belet and Daoud grew and evened out substantially over the course of the last book, and it was nice to see them all come back together to solve a new problem. Daoud, especially, has come into his own, and it seems as though Belet is the one who’s struggling to find her place in this world without her mother.

A mysterious tablet comes into play that alters the course of Sik’s life (as well as everyone else’s). Like all my other articles, this Fury of the Dragon Goddess book review will be spoiler-free, so I can’t tell you much without giving away the plot. That said, this book allows for Sik to further explore a relationship we got to see a glimpse of in the last one, and it’s at once exciting and alarming for several different reasons.

Nergal was such a fantastic antagonist in Plague God that I wondered how Sarwat could possibly top him—or, at the very least, give us another deity to rival him. Instead of shying away from that task, we were gifted with not one but two gods to reckon with.

fury of the dragon goddess book review

The first (and only one I’ll mention here) was Lugal, the god of insanity. Without a doubt, this particular character surprised me both with his brutality as well as with his logic. Sik must endure several hardships throughout this book, and though they weren’t overtly gruesome, I found myself wondering how the intended audience would react to one scene in particular. Not because I didn’t think they could handle it—kids are resilient, after all—but because it was so intense and spoke so honestly about the tragedies of the world.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that is a hallmark of Sarwat Chadda’s writing. In both these books following Sikander Aziz, I noticed he was unapologetically honest about the topics at hand. Whether he mentioned the Iraq war, America’s history of racism, or Britain’s tendency to pilfer ancient history and refuse to send it back to where it came from, Sarwat didn’t bother pulling punches. It was so incredibly refreshing to see someone refuse to dance around a subject, both calling out the kinds of issues that plague society today while not letting them hold back any of his characters.

This is particularly true of Sik, who has endured so much already in such a short life. Above all, however, he has remained true to himself, which is to say that he still proudly wears his heart (and his compassion) on his sleeve. While capable, Sik is no warrior, and this turns out to be his greatest asset in the end.

Belet, on the other hand, is a warrior, and I’d be remiss not to mention her badassery at least once in this Fury of the Dragon Goddess book review. Throughout this novel, she struggles with her rage, both in controlling it and using it constructively. While Sik’s otherworldly troubles started a year ago or so, Belet has been living this life for a long time, and she has a lot of trauma to work through.

Luckily, she has Sik by her side. These two work so well together because they balance each other out. So many female characters are present in stories to soften the edges of a male character, and yet the roles are reversed in Fury of the Dragon Goddess. It’s Belet who wants to fight first and ask questions later. She’s the one who refuses to open up because vulnerability is for the weak. And it’s Sik who teaches her that empathy and compassion are an asset. He is the one who reminds her that there’s another way that doesn’t involve fists and swords.

The last thing I’ll say in this Fury of the Dragon Goddess book review (for fear I’ll let a spoiler slip) is that Sarwat Chadda knows how to write a third act. In each of these two books, I was impressed by the turn of events that eventually concluded both these stories. Though his writing throughout the book was action-packed, full of humor, and heavy with emotional reveals, the final battle always soars above the rest. Both times, I was surprised and impressed with how Sik handled his enemies.

Though another book in the Adventures of Sikander Aziz series is not guaranteed, I see enough of an opening to ensure there is more story to tell. If that ends up being the case, know that I’ll be first in line to find out what (or who) is waiting to challenge Sik and his friends next.

‘Fury of the Dragon Goddess’ by Sarwat Chadda published on August 1, 2023

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