Summary: 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’m not a big ghosts stories person, but in my mind, Victoria Schwab can do no wrong. This book certainly support that claim. The plot is pretty straightforward and very reminiscent of the books I used to read in middle school. The strengths of this book lies in the characters. If I’d read this back in middle school, I think I would have found Cassidy very relatable. She’s kind of awkward, not perfect but doesn’t over-emphasize her flaws either. Her passion for photography would have definitely spurred me into tring photography too, though for how long I don’t know. I really liked Jacob, her ghosty friend, and I liked how the two of them were close friends but I don’t think I ever picked up a feeling of romance between them. Finally, though we didn’t see much of her, I loved how mysterious Lara was and I’m almost certain this won’t be the last time we see her. I may or may not have thought she was a ghost when she was first introduced.
As always, Schwab comes up with fascinating magic systems and supernatural aspects. The idea of a Veil or an in-between is a oft-tread path, but the addition of Life Threads in each person and ghost make for fun additions. In some ways, City of Ghosts is about ghost hunting, but the ghosts aren’t as black and white evil. Often times, they’re really sympathetic and simply lost. I hope in future books we’ll learn more about how the Veil works and also more into Jacob’s backstory.
Overall, I rate this book a 4/5. City of Ghosts is a solid middle-grade ghost story and I can see a whole series of these books in the future.
/r/Fantasy Bingo Squares
- Book published in 2018