Review: City of Ghosts

Posted September 6, 2018

Review: City of Ghosts City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
Series: Cassidy Blake #1
Published by Scholastic on 6th September 2018 (UK)
Genres: Middle Grade, Paranormal
Format: Paperback
Source: Gifted

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.

A Wee (Non-Spoiler) Summary

Cassidy Blake lives in upstate New York with her cat, Grim, and her parents who are authors. She loves photography and carries her retro film camera with her everywhere she goes.

Case isn’t one of the popular kids at school, but she does have a best friend called Jacob who she spends all of her time with. It just so happens that Jacob’s a ghost.

Her parents write a series of books called ‘The Inspecters’ with her Mum’s focus being paranormal activity and her Dad’s being the myths and legends that surround ghost stories. So Cassie has always been around tales of ghosts, but she wasn’t aware of ghosts. However, since she nearly drowned a year ago, Jacob has been her constant companion. What’s more, Cassie now senses ghosts around her and can cross the Veil that separates the living from the dead to actually see the ghosts – something which only Jacob knows about.

When Cassie’s parents are commissioned for a TV documentary series of ‘The Inspectors’, she finds herself (and Jacob) on a trip to Edinburgh, Scotland where the first episode is to be filmed.

While in Edinburgh, Cassie is plagued by the feel of the ghosts around her, the Veil surrounding her – in such an old city, there are a lot of ghosts. When she meets a girl who shares her ‘gift’, Cassie realises just how little she actually knows about the Veil.

My Thoughts

Ok, so, first things first, City of Ghosts is a middle grade book so I am obviously not the intended audience, but I loved it! I’ve rated it as a middle grade as that seems only right.

This book has such a Schwab feel about it. It’s pretty dark – I mean it’s about a girl with one foot in the world of the living and one in the world of the dead! It’s not all serious though, I loved the friendship between Cassie and Jacob.

For those of you who may not be aware, Schwab splits her time between her home in Edinburgh and her home in the US. So, when she writes about Edinburgh, she knows what she’s talking about. Her love for the city leaps off the page, and, in my opinion, she has totally captured the feel of the Old Town.

I grew up with stories of Greyfriars Bobby, and of course we have our own ghost tales here on the island. So I really enjoyed how Schwab weaved the myths, tales and legends of Edinburgh into Cassie’s modern-day visit.

I read this snuggled up under a blanket on a dreich Sunday, and I devoured it. Schwab’s storytelling and scene-setting are every bit as special in this middle grade novel as in her young adult and adult books.

P.S. serve with tea and shortbread.