City of Ghosts

City of Ghosts

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...

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Title:City of Ghosts
Author:Victoria Schwab
Rating:
Edition Language:English

City of Ghosts Reviews

  • Korrina  (OwlCrate)

    Yup. Loved this. Doesn’t matter what genre or age demographic Victoria writes for, her stories are always so amazing. They speak to something deep within my soul.

  • destiny ♎ [howling libraries]

    As someone who loves ghost stories, stories set in Scotland, middle grade horror,

    Victoria Schwab,

    is like some sort of literary perfect storm for me. It was one of my most anticipated releases of the year, to the point at which, when I received the eARC approval notification, I literally s

    As someone who loves ghost stories, stories set in Scotland, middle grade horror,

    Victoria Schwab,

    is like some sort of literary perfect storm for me. It was one of my most anticipated releases of the year, to the point at which, when I received the eARC approval notification, I literally stopped

    I was doing to start reading this. All I can say is that it did

    disappoint.

    Cassidy is able to see ghosts, and to travel beyond the Veil, thanks to an accident that left her somewhere in between the living and the dead. Despite the bizarre nature of her everyday life, Cassidy is such a level-headed, calm child, and I

    that about her character. Even as a kid, I could never relate to MG protagonists who were particularly reactive or prone to outburst, because that wasn’t my personality, and I would have lived for a main character to see myself in like Cassidy. She has this “old soul” quality to her that’s so charming and sweet.

    I absolutely adored the world Victoria created here, and thought the Veil itself was a delightful touch. I loved the idea of this semi-tangible thing that Cassidy could cast aside to enter the world of spirits, and you can tell that the entire dynamic of the Veil is one that Victoria has thought out in complexity, from the consistent rules it has. I was delighted to see that, even in a children’s story, Victoria cut no corners.

    While I do consider

    spooky enough to be considered horror, I think it’s going to be important for readers to keep in mind that this book is

    —it’s written for children, not adults. I’m seeing a lot of negative reviews from long-time Schwab readers who feel that it isn’t scary enough or is too predictable, and obviously everyone has the entire right to their own opinion, but to offer another perspective: as someone who is a long-time middle grade horror fan, I feel that this story absolutely excels at accomplishing its goals. That said, it is on the lighter end of the MG horror spectrum, so if you’re looking to hand a copy of this to a kid in your life, I’d say it’s suitable as long as they aren’t

    easily frightened.

    The last thing I want to touch on is Cassidy’s best friend, Jacob—a little ghost boy who saved her life, and in the process, became tangled up in her everyday world. He stays in her home with her, and her parents have more or less accepted his presence, even. He’s supportive and protective, an absolute delight of a character. He’s a perfect best friend to Cassidy, and he’s so precious that I just wanted to squeeze and protect him.

    Of course, this book is by Victoria Schwab, and I don’t know if the woman is altogether comfortable with writing a story without

    sadness. Without spoiling anything, there’s a conversation that occurs at the end of

    that has me simultaneously eager and incredibly nervous to continue the series, because, well… let’s just say that it feels like some very uncomfortable foreshadowing, and I don’t think even the kiddos are safe in Victoria’s worlds.

    Honestly,

    was literally a

    read for me. It held all of the charms and whimsy that I love so much in MG horror, with the added bonus of Victoria Schwab’s gorgeous storytelling and characters. I am so happy that I pre-ordered a finished copy of this ages ago, because I know I will reread it time and time again, and I cannot wait for the announcement of the second book!

    You can find this review and more on my

    , or you can follow me on

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  • Em (RunawayWithDreamthieves)

    Don't get me wrong—I loved this book, but how come ghost books are always about ghosts from the 1800’s or something? Why aren’t there stories about ghosts from 2015 who scream “DEEZ NUTS!” at 3 in the morning and scare the ever loving shit out of you?

    This is very relevant to my interests.

  • Kai

    If my life were as aesthetic as Victoria's covers, I would have had an editorial in VOGUE years ago. BUT - and that's the only criticism I have - how is the cat on the cover not a main character? Honestly, though, for some weird reason, I thought this was a story about a girl that can see ghosts (true) and her best friend, a ghost cat (totally not true). Turns out her best friend IS a ghost, but a human one. Well, post-human. You know

    If my life were as aesthetic as Victoria's covers, I would have had an editorial in VOGUE years ago. BUT - and that's the only criticism I have - how is the cat on the cover not a main character? Honestly, though, for some weird reason, I thought this was a story about a girl that can see ghosts (true) and her best friend, a ghost cat (totally not true). Turns out her best friend IS a ghost, but a human one. Well, post-human. You know what I mean. Not sure where this misconception came from, but I definitely would have liked that version, too.

    Overall I enjoyed this book a lot. Since it is a middle-grade novel and tuned for a younger audience than ADSOM and

    it comes without saying that it is less suspenseful and intricate than her YA or adult novels. I loved seeing how the level of writing and plotting changes when the target audience is another. I have read so many of Schwab's novels, but never a middle-grade one and it's amazing how the author adjusts her writing but still keeps her voice.

    I would have been fairly spooked if I had read this book as an 8-year-old kid if I'm being honest. It was a fun, slightly creepy and superbly nuanced novel for kids and teenagers. It talks about friendship, trust and death in a child-friendly way without giving kids the feeling that you don't trust them they couldn't stomach such heavy topics. Oh, and if you are a Potterhead, this is a perfect book for you, too.

    I rate this book with 4 stars because I was not as involved in the story, and did not get as warm with the main character as I would have liked it to be. Nevertheless, I can highly recommend this book for anyone who loves a good ghost story or two.

  • Emma Giordano

    This was a super cute and fun read! I would absolutely recommend to paranormal lovers.

    CW: drowning

    I have read fantastic young adult and adult fiction works from Victoria Schwab and I have to say, she’s done it again with this new excursion in her writing! Her vivid story telling translates well to middle grade. It retains the same whimsicality and darkness of her other novels (I particularly feel

    is perfect for Victoria Schwab fans who are missing

    !!) I saw someone c

    This was a super cute and fun read! I would absolutely recommend to paranormal lovers.

    CW: drowning

    I have read fantastic young adult and adult fiction works from Victoria Schwab and I have to say, she’s done it again with this new excursion in her writing! Her vivid story telling translates well to middle grade. It retains the same whimsicality and darkness of her other novels (I particularly feel

    is perfect for Victoria Schwab fans who are missing

    !!) I saw someone compare this novel to “Strangers Things meets Ghost Hunters” and I 100% agree with this sentiment. The overall atmosphere of this book is immaculate and I’m so excited to read future installments in this series.

    My one main critique of

    is that it felt fairly simplistic. The characters, though undeniably loveable, are not extraordinarily fleshed out. The plot is straightforward. I did not find myself shocked by plot twists, concerned for the character’s well-beings, etc. It was a great story. Easy to read, entertaining, and engaging. But it did not blow me away and I desired more from the story.

    I would definitely recommend

    and will be anxiously awaiting book two!

  • may ➹

    so am I like not allowed here anymore or what

    I mean, this isn’t a bad 3-star, and I didn’t HATE it. It’s so atmospheric and creepy, in Schwab fashion of course, and I did enjoy it. I think one of Schwab’s best writing talents is

    , and that’s clearly evident in this book. It’s about a girl named Cass who can pass between the worlds of the living and the dead, and can see ghosts. This happened after s

    so am I like not allowed here anymore or what

    I mean, this isn’t a bad 3-star, and I didn’t HATE it. It’s so atmospheric and creepy, in Schwab fashion of course, and I did enjoy it. I think one of Schwab’s best writing talents is

    , and that’s clearly evident in this book. It’s about a girl named Cass who can pass between the worlds of the living and the dead, and can see ghosts. This happened after she almost drowned, which is when her dead best friend Jacob showed up as well.

    When I first read the blurb, I was in love with the concept of the story. A girl who can see ghosts? Traveling to a city full of them? With a ghost best friend? Then meets another person who can see ghosts? HELL YEAH.

    Cass and Jacob were interesting characters to read about, and I loved their friendship dynamic. I found Jacob the most intriguing (he’s a GHOST. he’s DEAD) and I’m sad that we didn’t get to know more of him in the book. I didn’t feel super connected to Cass or Jacob, but I liked them enough.

    She steals the souls of children for herself and that’s like 100% My Thing™. We got the perfect amount of backstory from her and I adored it.

    I also LOVED that this was set in Edinburgh; if I’m correct, each book in the series takes place in a different city, which I think is super cool. I loved getting to know different places around the city and it definitely added to the atmosphere of the book.

    But god, the most disappointing thing about City of Ghosts was the

    . I’m just… so worked up over this for no reason??? Like COME ON. Of all things, I’m so surprised it was THIS that disappointed me.

    I can’t say much without spoiling but it’s just like. the main conflict was kind of introduced in the beginning? And then it got smothered by other things. The issue is that there are kind of two plots here (the Raven in Red one is specifically for this book, while the “figuring out what this whole ghost thing is” plot is an overarching one for the whole series) and

    .

    Basically, the first 2/3 of the story were filled with 1) exploring the city, 2) trying to figure out the full scope of Cass’s abilities (and responsibilities), and 3) buildup. It was relevant to the series as a whole, but it wasn’t relevant to the specific book, and it ended up bothering me a lot,

    .

    Usually, if a plot isn’t good, I’m pretty much fine with it, as long as I like the characters and their development was good. And while I like how Cass and Jacob turned out at the end of the book, and the villain, I was really disappointed by how little we got to know a side character named Lara.

    Lara is an Indian girl who can also move between the worlds of the living and dead, and I really thought we’d see more of her. In reality, she showed up briefly in the first third, came back in the last third, and disappeared. The blurb says that after Cass meets Lara, she starts to question what she can truly do, and

    . WHICH IS ANNOYING.

    Also Lara is pretty much the diverse rep for this whole book so. :) :)))

    Overall, City of Ghosts is an atmospheric, creepy book that will definitely keep you engaged with its fast pace and intriguing characters, but the lack of proper plot development is something that really bothered me and kept me from enjoying it more.

    , so I’m really confident that other people will like it more! It’s got that dark vibe that all Schwab books have, though fortunately, there is no heartbreak. (Besides mine, of course, for having to feel this disappointment.)

  • Melanie

    is a middle grade novel that has such a perfect spooky atmosphere, and it’s set around scary places in Scotland. Like, sounds perfect, true? And, as always, Victoria’s writing is so very beautiful and lyrical. I think this will be such a fun fall read for so many re

    is a middle grade novel that has such a perfect spooky atmosphere, and it’s set around scary places in Scotland. Like, sounds perfect, true? And, as always, Victoria’s writing is so very beautiful and lyrical. I think this will be such a fun fall read for so many readers. Also, this is my 100th book read in 2018!

    Cassidy Blake isn’t the most popular girl in her school, but she has the only friend that she needs; a ghost named Jacob that saved her from death. And after Jacob saved her that frightening day, they have been connected. Jacob lives in the realm of the living with Cassidy, but Cassidy now can open and enter the veil, and see the ghosts that are stuck within it.

    Even though she is always drawn to walk in-between the worlds, she has always managed to stay safe. That is, until her parents, who are ghost hunters, by the way, get a once in a lifetime opportunity to film a show about the most haunted spots in Scotland. And while in Scotland, Cassidy meets a ghost that is more evil than any of the others she’s ever encountered before.

    for death, especially the death of children, murder, loss of a child, and abduction.

    I truly did enjoy this book immensely. In fact, it might be my favorite Victoria Schwab book to date. But, a few things kept me from rating it higher. The biggest being the

    references. At first, I was so happy, and then they became so abundant and so forced. Also, you can really tell that Victoria is banking on her previous fans buying this, because yeah, twenty and thirty year olds are going to love nods to

    , but a new and actual middle grade audience? Probably not so much. And even me, a Gryffindor who fits that demographic, thought the

    references were too much.

    The only other annoying thing, is that this cover really doesn’t make sense. Like, Cassidy does have a cat named Grim, but they aren’t brought up very much, and when they are it is in their carrier. Like, looking at this book cover you’ll get major Mr.Kindly from

    vibes, but that’s totally not the case in the slightest. And I obviously know that authors have no control over their covers, but I wish the cat was replaced with Jacob.

    But overall, I really do think people are going to enjoy this one. Again, Victoria truly is a very talented writer and her prose always really works with me. The atmosphere in this book is completely teleportive, and it was such a fast and enjoyable read. I loved seeing these scary places though the eyes of Cassidy, and I can’t wait to see where the story goes next.

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  • Lola

    Good, but you and I both know Victoria Schwab could have done so, so much better.

    I'll attempt to film a video review (my first one!) later this week. Wish me luck! :)

  • Victoria Schwab

    A girl who almost drowned.

    The ghost boy who pulled her back.

    A very haunted city.

    I am really proud of this book. I hope you guys enjoy it.

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