Book: City of Ghosts
Author: Victoria Schwab
Genre: Middle grade, paranormal, fantasy
Publication Date: August 28, 2018
My rating: ★★★★
Cassidy Blake’s parents are The Inspectres, a (somewhat inept) ghost-hunting team. But Cass herself can REALLY see ghosts. In fact, her best friend, Jacob, just happens to be one.
When The Inspectres head to ultra-haunted Edinburgh, Scotland, for their new TV show, Cass—and Jacob—come along. In Scotland, Cass is surrounded by ghosts, not all of them friendly. Then she meets Lara, a girl who can also see the dead. But Lara tells Cassidy that as an In-betweener, their job is to send ghosts permanently beyond the Veil. Cass isn’t sure about her new mission, but she does know the sinister Red Raven haunting the city doesn’t belong in her world. Cassidy’s powers will draw her into an epic fight that stretches through the worlds of the living and the dead, in order to save herself.
It’s safe to say I am a huge fan of Victoria Schwab. She can write adult, YA, and middle grade fiction and I’d be the first in line to buy them all.
I’m also a huge paranormal fan. I grew up in a “haunted” college town. I’ve loved ghost stories as a kid and I still have a fascination with old legends and local haunts. City of Ghosts is being marketed as Stranger Things meets Ghost Hunters. I agree with the Ghost Hunters part. But, did you ever watch Are You Afraid of the Dark? on Nickelodeon? Because I legit feel like City of Ghosts could be an episode from that show.
Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society, I call this story…
Ahem. I digress.
I’ll skip writing a summary since the synopsis above already does a wonderful job explaining the key points (which I think is a bit of a shame because it really could benefit from a more vague description.) However, since this is middle grade, the synopsis is probably overly descriptive for parents to judge whether this book is right for their child/age group. So please keep in mind that this is a middle grade book. If you only prefer Schwab’s adult books then this might not be the perfect match for you.
There were so many things I loved about City of Ghosts: The unshakable friendship between Cassidy and Jacob, the adventures they ensue in Edinburgh, their quirky ghost-hunting parents, and all the creepy spirits. The story is very fast paced and flows beautifully. I especially loved how the Veil was used as a means for Cassidy to use her “gift” and discover her “purpose”. My only qualm is I wish we got a little more info on Jacob, but I think there’s a possibility this is setting up for a sequel.
“Embrace your strange, dear daughter. Where’s the fun in being normal?”
Overall this was such a treat from Schwab. I really hope we get more Cass and Jacob. This would be perfect for Halloween and for anyone who wants a quick, haunting read. If you want some spooky lore set in Scotland, amazing friendships, and that dash of nostalgia à la Are You Afraid of the Dark?, then I highly recommend City of Ghosts!
Thank you so much to my friend Mary for letting me borrow her ARC copy of City of Ghosts!
All quotes were taken from an ARC and is subject to change upon publication.