“One foot with the living and one with the dead.” – City of Ghosts Review

Title: City of Ghosts
Victoria Schwab
Publication Date:
August 2018
Middle Grade, Fantasy, Paranormal
Rating: ★★★★☆

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.


City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab was a much anticipated read for me. For those of you who don’t know, Victoria (or V. E.) Schwab is one of favourite authors and, while I don’t read middle grade (books aimed at 9-12 year olds) books that often, I knew I was going to adore this book. I picked this book up the day it was released and started reading it the next day. I devoured it in a couple of hours and if that doesn’t indicate how much I loved a book, I don’t know what will.

If we were in a comic book, this would be our origin story.


The book kicks off straight away with an incredible opening chapter. I was immediately hooked in the first few pages with just one like: “Jacob is dead.” On top of that, I could instantly feel the chemistry between Cass and Julian and I knew that this was a friendship that I was going to love. The ‘ghost five’ is probably the cutest thing I have every read – or as my notes say, it’s ‘cute as shit’. I love every interaction between these two characters and I can’t wait to see more from them!

She bounces off with all the enthusiasm of someone rushing toward cake, not corpses.

The plot is something I really enjoyed. While slightly basic, it served a purpose. I knew where the story was going at all times and I didn’t feel like any part was slow or dragged. The Raven in Red is an awesome villain to the story and I like how Schwab took aspects of true myths and ghost stories and twisted it into something new and individual.


I am a compass and the Raven in Red is my new North.


The Harry Potter references in the book were to die for! YES! THIS IS WHAT I LIVE FOR! This ticks all my boxes and I just know that so many people are going to pick up those books due to City of Ghosts and literally nothing makes me happier! Also, poor Cass is put off my fish and chips but I just want her to experience a true British delicacy – chips and gravy, chips and curry sauce, mushy peas, and pickled eggs! I can just imagine her reaction now!

I liked the side characters. Cass’s parents had personality – although lacking some depth – and I really liked Lara. She was super interesting to me and I would love to see more of her – and learn more about her backstory – in the future.


As we step into the grey day, a fine mist fills the street, turning people to shadows.


The atmosphere created in this book was to die for. Schwab perfectly enraptured the spooky and eerie feel that the book needed, without making it feel forced or unnatural to the setting. Edinburgh was an amazing setting for this story and I can tell that its going to attract a lot of people to visit and check out the sights themselves!

I also love the fact that Jacob seems to be the character most afraid of ghosts! It’s so funny and I know it would be something that I would have found hilarious when I was young! But at the same time, I’m nervous to what the future instalments hold for Jacob and I am both eager and anxious to see where the story will go for him.


I think the one thing that made me give it 4 stars instead of 5 is that everything felt a little simplistic. The characters weren’t incredibly deep and the plot was very straightforward. But with that being said I can tell that this is all just set up for the next book in the series so I am holding out for something a little bit more intricate, but I can tell that there are great things to come!


There’s a difference between wanting to stay and being too afraid to let go.


I really, really loved this book and it was a cute adventure, paranormal, spooky read perfect for the target audience. I can’t wait to show this to my younger cousins and see a new generation become obsessed with ghosts! Furthermore, I think you can tell by the amount of quotes that I just had to include how good I think the writing is; it really just speaks for itself that there were so many stand out moments and lines! However, overall I think Michael from Michael BookLion sums up this book the best: Victoria Schwab is really great and so is this book.” I gave this book 4 stars and I would highly recommend picking it up if you enjoy fantasy or paranormal reads.



Have you guys checked out City of Ghosts yet? What did you think of it?
Are you looking forward to reading it soon?

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Book cover and synopses – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35403058-city-of-ghosts?ac=1&from_search=true

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