About My Book Reviews

Monday, December 7, 2020

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

Series: Cassidy Blake Series (Book 1)

Title: City of Ghosts

Author: Victoria Schwab

Published: 2018

Genre: Fantasy

Grade Level: 6th-8th Grade

Blurb (from goodreads):

Cassidy Blake's parents are The Inspecters, 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 Inspecters 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.

My Scores:

Writing Style: Solid

I found the author’s writing style to be simple yet unique. It’s just a hunch, but sometimes it felt like the author was being held back because of the age bracket of the novel.

Characters: Memorable

The MC, Cassidy Blake, is a very likable character. She is intuitive, brave, and curious to a fault. I love the culture shock she experiences when she travels to Scotland. So many of us Americas seem to live in a bubble.

It absolutely breaks my heart that Cassidy’s love interest is a ghost named Jacob. Especially since it’s impossible not to like him. He’s funny, loyal, and mysterious. The dialogue between them is the heart and soul of this book. Watching their relationship is like trying to enjoy a scenic car ride despite knowing it’s going to eventually end up crashing.

I wish the parents were developed a little more. I feel like the cat, Grim, who had no central role in the plot, has more personality than them.

The villain, the Raven in Red, is wonderfully scary. I’m a sucker for a villain with mind control powers, in this case the ability to lure children in with a beautiful song to steal their lives (just like the Salem witches in Hocus Pocus). Absolutely classic!

Plot: Slow Burn

The plot starts off by building the characters and their experiences in the haunted parts of Scotland. It’s always entertaining to have main characters talking to ghosts only they can see. Little hints and clues of Jacob’s past are placed along the way like puzzle pieces to be put together later (hopefully in the second novel).

The second half is where the plot takes off! Evil pounces, truths are disclosed, ethical dilemmas are grappled with, and a whole new undertaking for the MC is revealed.

And boy, this author sure knows how to make every intense moment count.


Overall: Enjoyable

Overall, this book was a lot of fun! It met all of my expectations for a creepy/ghostly middle-grade novel. It would make a great pick during Halloween. I’m interested enough to continue on in the series.

Goodreads Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


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