Book Review: City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

City of GhostsBook: City of Ghosts

Author: Victoria Schwab

Publisher:  Scholastic

Release date: August 28th 2018

Pages: 272

Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy

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.

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I want to start by saying that I don’t read that much middle grade so I was a bit hesitant to read this, but I’m gald to report that I ended up loving this spooky little story.

I really liked the main character, Cassidy, with her love for Harry Potter and photography. She is independent, loyal and a little bit reckless. She is a pretty cool main character. The one thing I found odd about her is that Cassidy is able to go into the Veil, so she goes in and sees the ghosts, she has been doing it for a year, but she has never tried to find out anything about her ability, why she has it or what is she supposed to do with it. That doesn’t make much sense to me, but I liked so many things about this book that this one thing didn’t make me enjoy the story less.

Now, going back to the things I liked about this book, Cassidy’s ghost best friend, Jacob, is adorable and I’m a bit worried about where his storyline because I feel like is gonna make me sad. But we’ll have to wait and see. I loved the focus Cass and Jacob’s friendship, they tease each other but at the same time are fiercely protective and loyal. Also, I liked the secondary characters including the very serious Lara, Cassidy’s quirky parents and the friendly Findley.

The setting is another great thing about his book, the descriptions of Edinburgh make it sound like a magical and spooky city that’s the perfect stage for this ghost story. This is one of those books where the setting becomes like another character of the story and in this case it’s a completely captivating character.

The plot in this book is very straight forward, but the worldbuilding is really interesting.  The whole concept of the Veil, how each person has a different Veil depending of how they died, how there’s people called the in- betweeners that can go to the Veil without being dead and the role they have to play there,  is all pretty fascinating.

But my favorite part of the book without a doubt is that there are a lot of ghosts in this story.  Some are friendly, others evil or lonely or scared or suffering and the thing that made this story so compelling is that we get a glimps of the moment in history when these people died and how that affected what kind of ghost they were. All the history of plagues, wars and execusions helped understand the ghosts Cassidy encounters, it grounds the story in reality and it gives it a haunting, spooky feeling. It obviously doesn’t go into full details because this is a story for younger readers, but it still mentions things like people being buried alive or children being murdered.

Overall, I had so much fun reading this spooky story full of lovable characters, ghost, history and a captivating setting.

Rating: 4 stars 
Have you read this book or is it on your tbr? Do you have recommendations for spooky middle grade books? Let me know in the comments! 

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3 thoughts on “Book Review: City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

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