book reviews, spoiler free

City Of Ghosts

40512862City Of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

Rating: XXXX

Published September 6th by Scholastic

“People think that ghosts only come out at night, or on Halloween, when the world is dark and the walls are thin. But the truth is, ghosts are everywhere.”

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.

I’ve heard great things about Victoria Schwab’s books. I own A Darker Shade of Magic, This Savage song, A Dark Duet and Vicious but have never managed to read them yet which is crazy because they sound like books I’d absolutely love and I’m gutted I’ve not gotten around to them yet. When I heard about City of Ghosts, I wasn’t sure about it as I don’t really read a lot of Middle Grade genre books but as time went on and I heard more about it I became intrigued. One of my local Waterstones had copies out much earlier than the cited release date in the UK of 6th September and after seeing the cover in the flesh I couldn’t resist.

I was freaked out by this book quite early on, I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily inherently scary but is certainly very spooky and quite chilling in (quite a few) places. Being one of the first “Middle Grade” books I’ve read since I was part of the target audience I wasn’t sure what to expect but really enjoyed it and I will certainly be picking up the next book! Cassidy is 12 years old and I thought I would find that a little jarring to read as an almost 30-year-old but honestly she felt like she could have been almost any age to me and I hope that will make this book easier to read for older readers as well as still relatable to the younger, intended readers.

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City of Ghosts is, like many MG books, a little on the short side but to me personally it felt a good length for the story it needed to tell. Information was presented very well and felt natural without having to have a ton of flashbacks or explaining which sometimes I wish we could experience more in other genres because I feel like it left more room for the thoughts and reactions of the characters without getting too bogged down by loads of details.

The narrative and story itself were interesting, filled with intrigue and spooky goings on but also some revelations and tense moments, City of Ghosts is a very well-rounded book and although I think I would have enjoyed it more if it were a genre I read more regularly it is still a very good book and one I think younger readers, especially those who are interested in ghostly paranormal tales will highly enjoy. I’m already very much looking forward to the sequel!