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"City of Ghosts" Book Review

Victoria is an avid reader whose opinions are based on the genre of each story and how each novel ranks in its genre.


Book Summary

Cassidy's parents are famous for their novels on the paranormal. Her father writes the facts while her mother embellishes them with fiction. Surrounded by the concept of paranormal activity Cassidy is no stranger to the concept, but becomes extremely familiar with when she almost dies in a tragic accident. Now Cassidy can see the veil between the two worlds that she must step through it. She is not alone in her wanderings through the vail. After the incident of her almost death she met Jacob. Jacob is a ghost of roughly the same age as Cassidy.

Cassidy doesn't understand the vail. All she knows is she's drawn to it and the stories of those who dwell in it. When her parents inform her of their upcoming television series based on their novels, Cassidy is both excited and nervous to be traveling with them to Edinburgh. Edinburgh is otherwise known as The City of Ghosts for its abundance of history and ghosts stories to follow. Cassidy is thrown into a river of ghosts, and she must learn to manage her ability or drown in the vail trying.

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Nothing happens until it happens, and then it's already happening.

— Victoria Schwab

Whats Great About This Novel

The Beginning

The moment you begin this story you are dropped into a day in the life of Cassidy Blake. The introduction has a great hook and is very engaging for the reader. It takes no time at all to learn about her ability to walk through the veil between worlds. She moves in a manner that is both intriguing and spooky.

Easy to Read

I borrowed this book from my little sister who purchased it from a scholastic book fair at her school. One of the neat things about these fairs is on the back it categorizes what age group the book was written for. This particular novel is ideal for someone between 8 and 12 for its simple writing style, big letters, and small pages. Don't let this perturb you though, it's an easy read that is enjoyable for all ages.


Where The Story Takes Place

"City of Ghosts" begins somewhere in the U.S but soon the majority of the novel will travel to Edinburgh Scotland. One of the most historically spooky places I can think of and I loved it! I feel this was the perfect location to set the framework for Schwab's new series, she really sets an eerie tone. Many scenes happening in historical plague tunnels or famous castles, even graveyards the reader is provided with some of Scotland's not so beautiful history. One might find these to be cliche places to have a ghost story but Schwab makes it clear right from the beginning in this world ghosts are everywhere, in the grocery store or even the library but its the mass grave-sites that are the scariest and most unpredictable.

Edinburgh's Underground City


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What I Didn't Enjoy

Slow Plot Development

"City of Ghosts" is a mesmerizing read. The reader easily gets caught in the intrigue of the vail, how and why it works, and Cassidy's role in it all? This is technically the drive for the reader, however, the plot or "problem" that typically drives a story doesn't happen until you are more than 50% done the book. This isn't totally a complaint for I didn't even realize that there was little to no conflict in this story until I got to it. That's just how submerged in the book I was but still found this to be a weird writing choice on the authors part.

Little Character Development

When finishing this novel I felt there were a lot of questions I had that were left unanswered. Though from what I gather there may be another book hopefully coming out in fall 2019, a part of the story felt unfinished to me and without certain answers I never felt truly able to connect to pivotal characters like Cassidy's best friend Jacob.

Cassidy's Perspective

One small thing I found particularly agitating while reading this story is there were moments where it was hard to tell who Cassidy was talking to. What I mean by this is "City of Ghosts" was written in a first-person perspective, however, there were a couple moments when Cassidy's character voice broke the fourth wall and spoke as if speaking to the reader, then continued on as if back in her head. I know this sounds weird but in these moments as the reader, it took me out of my reading comma and back to the real world and this I was not overly enthused about. Though this only really happened, in the beginning, it does make me wonder if it was just an editorial slip.

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

— Victoria Schwab

My Conclusion

I genuinely enjoyed this novel, it was easy to read, fast passed and never had a moment that felt dry or dragged out. If your looking for the perfect book for a young reader this is without question it. If your looking for something fast and easy "City of Ghosts" reads like a movie. Lots of dialogue and constantly moving, it's a book that anyone and everyone will enjoy and I highly recommend it!

Questions & Answers

Question: How did Jacob die in the book "City of Ghosts"?

Answer: It isn’t made clear in the first book however I believe a sequel will be coming out this fall.


Bev on July 06, 2019:

Are there any study questions available?

K S Lane from Melbourne, Australia on December 03, 2018:

I love Victoria Schwab- will definitely have to check City of Ghosts out!

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