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Cassidy Blake #1

City of Ghosts

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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.

285 pages, Paperback

First published August 28, 2018

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About the author

Victoria Schwab

27 books103k followers
Victoria is the product of a British mother, a Beverly Hills father, and a southern upbringing. Because of this, she has been known to say "tom-ah-toes," "like," and "y'all."

She also tells stories.

She loves fairy tales, and folklore, and stories that make her wonder if the world is really as it seems.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 10,833 reviews
Profile Image for Jesse (JesseTheReader).
468 reviews168k followers
November 18, 2018
I loved this! I mean... going into it, I knew it'd be something I'd end up enjoying. I'm kind of bias when it comes to Victoria Schwab. OKAY A WHOLE LOT BIAS. I can't help it though! She's a HECKA talented author. From the epic world building, to the luscious writing style, enticing characters, & unique stories! There's a reason I fall for her books so easily.
Profile Image for chai ♡.
321 reviews153k followers
September 23, 2018
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.
Profile Image for Victoria Schwab.
Author 27 books103k followers
October 31, 2018
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.

ETA: OH MY GHOST, we're up for a Goodreads Choice Award!!!
Profile Image for Emma Giordano.
317 reviews116k followers
August 13, 2018
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 City of Ghosts is perfect for Victoria Schwab fans who are missing The Archived!!) 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 City of Ghosts 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 City of Ghosts and will be anxiously awaiting book two!

I received a free copy of this book from Scholastic at Book Expo 2018. I had no obligation to review this book and all opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,169 reviews98.2k followers
August 21, 2019

ARC provided by Scholastic in exchange for an honest review.

“People think that ghosts only come out at night, or on Halloween, when the world is dark and the walls are thin. But the truth is, ghosts are everywhere.”

City of Ghosts 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! *throws confetti everywhere*

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.

“Once there was a woman, a beauty with fair skin and black hair, and a little boy who loved to wander.”

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

“Embrace your strange, dear daughter. Where’s the fun in being normal?”

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.

Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Youtube | Twitch

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Buddy read with May at Forever and Everly & Julianna at Paper Blots! ❤
Profile Image for Kai Spellmeier.
Author 6 books13.6k followers
December 2, 2020
“Stories have power," she says. "So long as you believe them.”

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 Vicious 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.

Find more of my books on Instagram
Profile Image for Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥.
531 reviews34.5k followers
July 1, 2019
”We all need someone who sees us clearly.”

This was a really nice middle grade book and I enjoyed reading it.
Of course there are no horrible plot twists or especially complex characters but this isn’t what the book aimed for and if you’re aware of this you’ll not only be fine but also able to savour it properly.

”My camera was on the bedside table, the purple strap frayed and the viewfinder cracked. It was damaged but not ruined, changed but not destroyed. Kind of like me.
A little special.
A little strange.”

Since this was my first Victoria Schwab book I can finally say that I’m intrigued by her writing style. I don’t know how her other YA and adult books are but after giving “City of Ghosts” a try I’m convinced that I’ll like her other series as well. Because even though there didn’t happen a lot in this rather short fantasy book the writing style still kept me going and caused me to read on.
Actually I’m kinda afraid that I’ll fall head over heels for all of her other books. If they have fleshed out morally grey characters and an intriguing story line I’ll be a goner before I can say: “What?” XD

”Fine, seven,” I say as we reach my street, “but I get final approval. And no Batman.”
He looks aghast. “You heathen.”

As for the plot in this book: It was okay and a little bit predictable, but we’re talking about a middle grade book here so that’s to be expected. This said I really liked Cassidy as a character and I adored and loved her close friendship with Jacob. Those two were a lot of fun to read about and I can’t help but wonder what will happen to them in the next instalment. There was a little bit of foreboding at the end of the book so we’ll see what’s going to happen next. ;-)

She throws her arms around me. “Embrace your strange, dear daughter. Where’s the fun in being normal?”

I didn’t get warm with Lara but she’s not really a cordial character so I guess I wasn’t supposed to like her all that much. Cassidy’s parents were pretty kick-ass though and I loved the fact that they spoke about ghosts and were experts but didn’t even have a clue that their own daughter could actually see and talk to them. *lol* It’s an almost iconic irony and I was so there for it. XD

He looks up at the word ghost and clears his throat. “I prefer the phrase ‘corporeally challenged.’”

If there was one thing I truly loved about “City of Ghosts” it's the way Edinburgh was described. It made me curious about the city and I’ll make sure to visit it one day. "Mary King's Close" sounded too fascinating to pass on it and since I’m a little history geek Edinburgh sounds like the perfect place to be. =)

All told I thoroughly enjoyed this and I’ll make sure to read the second book as well.
Before that I’ll jump into Victoria Schwab’s other books, though. I’m curious now and this curiosity needs to be sated. *lol*


Soo I guess it’s confession time:
I never read a Victoria Schwab book!

There, I said it. XD
And now that I admitted this I’m finally going to change it as well. *lol*

I don’t know if her only middle grade book is the best way to start with her books, but I picked this from a shelf at my library and decided to go for it.
As far as I can tell there will be ghosts, haunted places and graveyards and after finishing “Lockwood and Co.” recently, this sounds exactly like the kind of book I need right now.

Let’s hope I’ll fall in love with Victoria Schwab’s books too! =)
(Because judging from all the reviews I saw, she might actually be able to become one of my fave authors.)

Wish me luck! ;-)
Profile Image for Korrina  (OwlCrate).
193 reviews4,557 followers
March 30, 2018
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.
Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,659 reviews5,136 followers
November 15, 2018
ETA: Queen Schwab has now joined the small, elite group of authors who has hit bestsellers lists in Adult, YA, and Children's releases, and I can't think of anyone who deserves it more. 💖

As someone who loves ghost stories, stories set in Scotland, middle grade horror, and Victoria Schwab, City of Ghosts 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 everything I was doing to start reading this. All I can say is that it did not disappoint.

Some people call it intuition, others second sight. That tickle at the edge of your senses, telling you there’s something more.

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 loved 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.

Crossing the Veil is like opening the closet door. Of course, the difference is, monsters aren’t real. The closet was always empty. The Veil… not so much.

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.

The living may take strength from love and hope, but the dead grow strong on darker things. On pain and anger and regret.

While I do consider City of Ghosts spooky enough to be considered horror, I think it’s going to be important for readers to keep in mind that this book is middle grade horror—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 terribly easily frightened.

But we both know Jacob’s not a normal ghost, just like I’m not a normal girl. Not anymore. There was an accident. A bike. A frozen river.

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.

I wish I could slip my hand into his. Give him some of my warmth. But all I can do is promise that I won’t let him freeze. That I’ll never leave him behind. Where you go, I go.

Of course, this book is by Victoria Schwab, and I don’t know if the woman is altogether comfortable with writing a story without any sadness. Without spoiling anything, there’s a conversation that occurs at the end of City of Ghosts 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.

If we were in a comic book, this would be our origin story. Some people get a spider bite, or a vat of acid. We got a river.

Honestly, City of Ghosts was literally a flawless 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!

All quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you so much to Scholastic for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

You can find this review and more on my blog, or you can follow me on twitter, bookstagram, or facebook!
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,537 reviews9,793 followers
December 17, 2022

I absolutely flew through City of Ghosts, but honestly, I was hoping for a bit more from the spooky Middle Grade story.

I did love the premise and am planning to continue on with the series, however, while it was good, I never felt truly immersed.

I actually read quite a bit of Middle Grade and for me, this was lacking the level of humor and fun that I am used to seeing in similar stories within the genre.

I know this is supposed to be darker, as far as content, but it still could have had more humorous banter, or something to keep me engaged.


While Victoria Schwab is a beloved author, this is actually the first book I have ever read from her.

Her writing is great. Very fluid and experienced, but for Middle Grade, something about it just never clicked for me. Again, the premise is strong. I love the idea of Cassidy's parents being Paranormal Investigators.

That's definitely a buzzword for me. The whole concept of their television series and having to travel to different locations for filming is so exciting; opening up numerous directions for this series to go in.

I also enjoyed that Cass can actually see ghosts, and interact with them, even though no one else in her family can.

I think maybe as the series continues, the plots will become more involved and perhaps we will have more of a chance to connect with the characters.

Overall, I feel this is definitely a good book and a solid start to a series.

Obviously, I am not the intended audience for this, so a room full of Middle Graders may have a completely different opinion than me.

I think if this concept sounds interesting to you, pick it up and give it a shot!
Profile Image for Emily (Books with Emily Fox).
532 reviews58.5k followers
October 6, 2018
(2.5) Well this was a disappointment but I suppose it's partly my fault.

I didn't realize this was a Middle Grade book which isn't my cup of tea. Schwab's forte is her writing in my opinion and unfortunately a MG book doesn't show it AT ALL.

This was a quick read and a little girl seeing ghosts wasn't uninteresting but I wouldn't recommend it unless you are 12 or under, or usually love MG.
Profile Image for may ➹.
480 reviews1,944 followers
October 8, 2018
Me, in a crowd of Schwab fans: 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 her ability to create fantastically strange and mysterious concepts, 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. The villain though, the Raven in Red—I loved her SO much. 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 lack of good plot development. 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 the plot for the whole series just… took over.

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, because there was just no focus on the specific book’s plot.

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 it seems like Lara is basically just a plot device. 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.

I really do think that this is a “it’s me, not you” scenario, 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.)

:: rep :: Indian side character
:: content warnings :: death (mostly of children), abduction (mostly of children)

// buddy read with banshee #1 and banshee #2

Thank you to Scholastic for sending me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review! This did not affect my opinion in any way.
Profile Image for ♛ may.
806 reviews3,795 followers
September 5, 2018
that's it, its official, schwab is an actual queen that can literally write ANYTHING

- this book felt like a mix of vicious and the archived series but with a middle grade tone and i am so here for it
- i love my soft precious ghost son 😭😭
- i love cassidy as a main character, her voice is so strong but she fits her age and is the middle grade queen we all stan
- dont be deceived by the target audience, this book reached some creepy heights (to me, an actual Baby™) and i couldnt read it in the dark wow this is sad
- im literally in love with victoria schwab's writing, shes writes so magical and seamless, i just dont know how its possible
- despite how much i loved the book, i did find the plot to be underdeveloped in the technical sense that its more of an introduction than anything
- i feel like the coming books will be much stronger bc they have this background to build off from, and so the hopes are high
- but really its a fun, easy, quick read about creepy ghosts
- i can't wait to see more of the adventures cassidy and her family go on AND LIKE I NEED JACOB'S BACKSTORY ASAP
- i just really love that little boy, he needs protecting guys

i CANNOT WAIT to see what else she has in store for us bc i know its going to be amazing and its gonna hurt
Profile Image for Kayla Dawn.
291 reviews895 followers
October 24, 2019
Despite me being annoyed by all the Harry Potter references (they were literally everywhere, please stop), this was a solid middle grade book.
Nothing special and it felt a little rushed, but it's based on a good idea, it had a great writing style and characters with a lot of potential.

I'm looking forward to continuing this series!
Profile Image for Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen).
422 reviews1,629 followers
Shelved as 'anticipated-releases'
January 28, 2018
The results are in:


Okay guys, let's duke it out. Does this cover look more like:

A: the start of an anime theme-song sequence

B: the cover for the sophomore album of a semi-popular alt rock band

C: the girl from 'The Ring' has an adventure
Profile Image for Warda.
1,152 reviews18.3k followers
October 15, 2019
I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it. Neither was there a thrill to the story necessarily. I don’t know whether that has to do with the fact that this is a middle grade story or that I didn’t feel the excitement and thrill I’ve come to expect of Schwab’s stories.
Everything seemed dimmed down, but I guess it had to be because the audience that’s being catered to now has changed.
But even then, a story can still be enjoyed regardless of the supposed target audience.

I guess in this case, the story just didn’t work for me. It felt bland, I wasn’t connected to the characters or the intrigue of the plot. I’m assuming it would be developed in the sequel but at this rate, I’m wondering whether I am even bothered to pick up the sequel.


Profile Image for Barbie.
109 reviews304 followers
May 25, 2019

My thoughts in a nutshell
It was a light, fun read. I wanted to love it but unfortunately, I wasn't the right audience for City of Ghosts.

The story is about…
Skip over this point if you don't like the sneak peek.
Cassidy's parents are ghosthunters and they get an offer to make a series about Scottish ghost stories, so the whole family travel to Scotland and they visited creepy places. There is one problem; Cassidy can see ghosts and she gets into some serious trouble on holiday.

What impressed me the most 😊
I really enjoyed the story. When I was reading I realized that it is not a young adult book but middle grade. I thought I still like the middle-grade genre, but sadly, I have to say it loud I grew out of it. If I've read this at 10-12 years old, I would love it so much. So the problem is with me, not the book.
The story is wonderfully atmospheric. I've felt the Scottish air and the creepy vibe.
The main character Cassidy is an interesting little girl. Although she is only 12, she has a strong voice and she is surprisingly brave (sometimes she's even more brave than a 12 years old but it is a natural thing in a middle-grade book)
She has a sidekick Jacob, who is a ghost. I like the friendship between them. I adored when they always mention their friend's rules. It was adorable.
The ending was satisfying, but I won't read the second book.

What I don't like at all ☹️
At times the plot was superficial. Sometimes too fast sometimes too slow. At the beginning I was bored then I was excited and these feelings were changing over and over again.
Lara was also trivial, her presence was unimportant. I don't like when a character just an indigent.
I don't understand the cover. Why is the cat on it? The cat was an unless part of the book. I don't get it.

Make a conclusion
Overall, this is a great middle-grade read. I'm sad because I become too old for this. :'( I still highly recommend it for the young readers. They will enjoy it, I promise.
I gave it 3 stars, by my personal experience.
Profile Image for Hamad.
1,009 reviews1,326 followers
September 1, 2018
This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found @The Book Prescription

BR with L

“Embrace your strange, dear daughter. Where’s the fun in being normal?”

🌟 Imagine reading a children book, one of those simplistic ones with many rhymes and pictures to your son/ daughter/ younger sibling. Your child may love it and you will have zero feelings toward it. You may even think that it was very short and had more potential! But you dismiss these thoughts as you are not the target reader xD

🌟 OK, OK. I may have exaggerated a lot here but what I am trying to say is that this is a Middle Grade book and we should approach it as one. I don’t deny that I wish it was bigger, with more action and creepier. But that’s just how MG books are. I think someone who reads a lot of MG will be able to judge it better than most of us. Let’s be honest, we all know V.E. Schwab and how she is a great writer and always comes up with awesome twists and ideas. I think if this was an adult book, she would have done an outstanding job.

🌟 I saw some negative reviews (all from adult readers) which actually made me go into this with lower expectations. And I ended up enjoying it more than I thought I would.

🌟 Story wise, the idea was great -as usual- and the story got interesting more and more (it was really good from the ghost hunters part and after that). But I felt the ending was a bit rushed and it could have been a bit slower.

🌟 The writing felt MG to me (and that’s how it should be, Duh!) And tbh, that fascinated me, Victoria can write MG, YA and adults book and change the voice and settings accordingly! There were many HP references that warmed my heart but I am not sure if MG readers would feel the same about it.

🌟 Summary: I like the characters and their development, I like almost everything about this. If you are an adult reading this don’t expect it to be the next A darker shade of magic because it is not and nor it is supposed to be so.

As a MG book, I give it 4 stars.
As an adult reader, I give it 3 stars.

🌟 Prescription: For MG readers and adults who enjoy the MG genre. Otherwise, I recommend going into this objectively or skipping it altogether!
Profile Image for Alana.
664 reviews1,269 followers
January 13, 2019
Thank you to Scholastic Press for providing me with an e-Arc via Edelweiss.

I'm still in disbelief that I got approved for this. The shriek I let out when I saw the words "approved" on Edelweiss was enough to make my husband come running into the room to see what happened. It's not everyday you get to read one of your most anticipated reads for the rest of 2018 before it comes out, so I am eternally grateful to Scholastic Press for the opportunity. As a child/teenager, I LIVED for the TV show Ghosthunters. I used to stay up all night in my room scared out of my mind watching it, so when I read the synopsis of this I knew I needed to read it.

City of Ghosts is a super fun, spooky, and atmospheric read that follows Cassidy Blake, a young girl who can enter "the veil" and see the ghosts within. How is that possible, you ask? Technically Cassidy drowned, but her best friend Jacob (who happens to be a ghost) saved her, and now walks the living realm with her. Together they can enter "the veil", but it typically comes with the cost of Cassidy having trouble pulling herself out so Jacob, her trusty sidekick, is always there to help her out. Cassidy and Jacob's friendship is so incredibly adorable and I am living for it.

Cassidy's parents just so happen to be a well-known author duo who have written a book series that's like a mash-up of history and ghost stories. When her parents are presented with an opportunity to host a TV show that takes viewers on a tour of the scariest cities in the world, Cassidy and her family pack up and head to their first destination, Scotland. I think Schwab really nailed the creepy and atmospheric vibe the second the Blake family touched down in Scotland. I love me some atmospheric vibes.

As the family begins touring some of the most haunted sites, Cassidy begins to feel that the pull on the veil is stronger than ever and the ghosts in Scotland are much more sinister than Cassidy has ever encountered. Especially one in particular, who abducts children, the Red Raven. With the help of a newly found friend Cassidy finds out that there is a reason she can see ghosts, and a job she must do. She needs to help send the ghosts permanently beyond the veil, off to whatever lies beyond it. And so beings the Cassidy's adventure of trying to defeat the Red Raven and save her life.

I totally have to admit that this book was CREEPY. This is the type of book that probably would have haunted my dreams as a child. The Red Raven is something straight out of a kid's nightmare. I really enjoyed the action-packed goodness of Cassidy and Jacob running through the living realm and the veil in a race against time to try and beat the Red Raven, I can't even tell you how fast I was flipping through the pages. Plus, this includes super creepy graveyard parts, and what horror fan doesn't love a good graveyard scare?!

Some very minor issues I had with this include how underdeveloped the plot felt at times. I understand that technically this is a MG novel but certain parts just felt so rushed when they didn't need to be. Also, the Harry Potter references were a bit much. I never thought I would type those words. The first couple references were super adorable and I was hyped to see it, but then it just became a little too redundant for me.

Favorite Quotes

"Every time I get nervous or scared, I remind myself that every good story needs twists and turns. Every heroine needs an adventure. "

""Stories have power," she says. "So long as you believe them.""

"So we pile into the cab, two parents, one kid, a ghost, and a ticked-off cat, and we head for the airport."

All in all, I really loved this, it was such a fun story. I loved Jacob and Cassidy's friendship. I loved the setting, the creepiness, the action, it was all a blast. I mean, I read this in one sitting and I can't even remember the last time I read a book this fast. I'm not sure if this will appeal to all of Schwab's readers since it is MG but I enjoyed this SO much more than her Monsters of Verity duology, and I cannot wait to see what city we get to explore next!

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Profile Image for emi.
446 reviews1,080 followers
August 7, 2021
Y'all can thank me, I sold my soul so we can get more Victoria Schwab books in 2018.

Anyways, I have a vague sense that I read this book somewhere before. Perhaps in another book by Schwab. *Cough* The Archived *cough*. But there's no Mackenzie and Wesley and it wasn't as good, which is a shame.

Also it's probably a three star book, but my future children's first words are probably gonna be "Victoria Schwab" so I added a bonus star just for that.
Profile Image for Ashley Nuckles.
190 reviews7,253 followers
May 19, 2018
This was not at all what I thought it was going to be (in a good way)! It was equal parts cute middle grade, creepy ghost stories, and fun adventure tale all in one! This is why Schwab is one of my FAVVVSSS
Profile Image for Lucy Tonks.
488 reviews716 followers
June 18, 2021
“Stories have power," she says. "So long as you belive them.”

Me loving this is no surprise. I love Victoria Schwab and I've loved every single book that I've read from her. She just has this way of sucking in the reader into her stories and I'm here for it.

I really wanted to read Bridge of Souls as it came out recently. I ordered it and all, only to realise that I don't actually really remember what happened in the first two books. And of course I couldn't pass an opportunity to re-read a Victoria Schwab book. I alwasy make stupid excuses to re-read my favourite books, but here I actually had one that could be counted as a real reason to re-read a book, not just because I loved it.

art by: Lemoncielart

City of Ghosts is Schwab's middle grade series which follows a girl names Cassidy Blake. Since she's had a near death experience, Cass had been able to lift the Veil that separates the world of the living from the world of the dead. And when her parents host a TV show about the wolrd most haunted places, they end up going to Edinburgh. There's she meets a girl with the same gift as her and she figures that she has so much more to learn, especially when she realises the city of ghosts is more dangerous than she initialy thought.

All the books that I've read from Victoria Schwab (her YA and adult books alike) have been pretty dark and this one is no exception really. For a middle grade it's pretty dark. Of course unlike her other works this has a lot of light hearted moments and it's a pretty easy book to fly through as it doesn't have those secret and hidden hard truths that her older books tend to have.

I loved following Cassidy and her ghost friend, Jacob, along their journey in Edinburgh. despite this book being quite short, go through quite an adventure. I loved the dynamics between them and they way they interacted really. Their friend is just so cute and precious and I love it.

The plot of the story is definitely intriguing. The author has a way with words and because of that I was never actually bored while reaidng this! The plot was very fast paced and I just had a great time reading (and re-reading) this.

If you are able to get the audiobook, I strongly advice you to do it. Now while re-reading this I actually ended up listening to the audiobook and I juts loved it. The narrator had a really ncie and soothing voice. It feels like a shame not listening to the audiobook for this when it's done so well.

If haven't read a Victoria Schwab book before, in my opinion, this is the place to start. If you are afraid of her denser, more adult books , just start with this as it's an excellent middle grade book and just a cute story overall.

“Embrace your strange, dear daughter. Where’s the fun in being normal?”


And I'm done with my re-read. Now, let's go to the next book!
September 7, 2018
“My life is-
Air in starving lungs.
A hand grabbing mine.
A light in the dark.
The pebbles beneath me on the frozen bank, and water dripping from my hair,
and Jacob saying, “I’ve got you.”

Story ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Cassidy was dead once. Well, nearly.
But someone, something saved her.
A ghost, named Jacob. Now he’s her best friend and he’s always by her side.
When her parents start a new documentary, Cassidy goes on a new adventure to Schottland.
Even though I absolutely adore Victoria Schwab, her writing style and the whole ghost story, I had some problems with the whole pacing in this book.
In the beginning and in the middle it was pretty slow, it was a little bit like an introduction. And then when we had the last 30 % it was like a freakin roller coaster.
There was so much action, emotions and I couldn’t stop reading.
So, all in all I’m really happy I’ve read this story and can’t wait to read the next books in this series.

Character ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Cassidy, the main character is a really interesting girl with a fascinating talent.
She can step through the veil and see ghosts and their death, their story.
She’s a really smart, shy and brave girl. She’s curious and wants to hear the story of a ghost before she takes a picture of him.
Jacob, her best friend and a ghost is really a little mystery. We don’t know how he died and why, the only thing we know is that he saved Cassidy’s life and is now bond with her. And he’s not only bond, he’s also extremely loyal to her friendship. He really loves her like a best friend and would do anything for her.
I’m absolutely in love with Jacob and Cassidy, their like partners in crime you want to team up with and go on a ghost hunt.
There was another girl, Lara, with special skills like Cassidy. She was really cool, brave and a lot more mature than Cassidy.

World ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
When you die, you go to heaven or hell.
Or you’re being trapped in the Veil, the inbetween.
Sometimes you move between the worlds, you were dead, at least on the bridge of death, but you were saved.
Like Cassidy who was saved by Jacob.
He pulled her out of the freezing river.
But there are bad ghosts in the Veil, ghost that want what Cassidy and Lara have - a live.
Victoria Schwab is a Master of world building and has a fascinating brilliant writing style. When you start to read a book by Victoria Schwab it takes time to get into the story, but when you’re in, when you’re really in, then it’s over.
You’ll love Victoria Schwab even more.

Relationships ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The most pure and innocent relationship is the one between Jacob and Cassidy.
Their friendship is so full of love and loyalty and they have tons of rules for their friendship.
They were the cutest.

Writing style ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Victoria Schwab you brilliant woman.
No one can write like you,
no one can create worlds like you,
No one can make us feel magic and emotions and so much more.
Can’t wait for the next book in this series. 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
Profile Image for krista ☽✧.
172 reviews525 followers
April 27, 2021
3.5 stars ☪☾✩

“Every time I get nervous or scared, I remind myself that every good story needs twists and turns. Every heroine needs an adventure.”

“Sometimes help is a place and sometimes it’s a person, and sometimes it’s a bit of both.”

This revieuw does not contain spoilers!.

City of Ghosts ☪☾✩ Iss the first book in queen Ve Schwab her middle grade urban fantasy triology about a girl , Cassidy that can see ghosts and who also happends too have this sarcastic ghost friend as a side kick. Cassidy can enter the '' veil '' a place where souls of people who died stay if they havent moved on yet. Since cassidy '' died '' and came back too live she has the abbility too travel here and see ghostst.

Dont go intoo this expecting this too be as the queen her adult books , its middlegrade so its different and lighter. In my opinion it still has her beautiful writing and way of throwing you in the story and really sucking you in too it and overall i found the story fun too read and quick but it doesnt have the darkness or twistst and heavy things and depht that her adult books have. I personally never read middlegrade anymore , i am almost 20 and just dont feel like reading it anymore as i dont connect with it but when i started loving Ve Schwab her works i did want too try her middlegrade aswell. If i should read this for middlegrade and for people that are younger then the rating probably would be higher as i think many kids would love this. I know i would when i was young but now that i am older it isnt a blow away book for me anymore , thats why i came at the 3.5 stars as a final rating based on how i rate books but this wasnt a bad book at all. But i didnt have the connection with it and feels as i have with her adult books which makes sense as this is a different age level as where its written for.

The book is friendship and plot focused and the friendship is quite adorbs. i love the worldbuilding and the way Ve schwab created the magic in this book and the setting the charracters end up in , in Scotland.
It has a lot of harry potter references which can you find just okay like me or can really annoy you. I didnt mind it but i get why people would be annoyed by it. The story does feels a bit rushed.

Its just a fun quick middle grade read with beatiful writing and i will continue the serie. I would reccomend if ofc too younger readers and for Ve schwab fans who want too read more of her different works , just dont go in expecting something like her adult books. Also if you want a light fun quick book then this can be the book pal for you.

List with things i loved ; ☪☾✩
- the setting and the atmosphere
- the humor troughout the book
- the Harry Potter references
- The friendship in the book between Cassie and her ghost friend , Jacob
- the Writing

List with things i liked less ; ☪☾✩
- a bit rushed and a bit too quick which made it lose a little depht
- Cassidy could have been more layered but this is probably because its middle grade.
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