City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

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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.

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This book was a bit of an odd one for me. There was nothing really wrong with it, and I flew through it, but there was just something big missing for me. I guess I wanted more, and maybe it was really high expectations that I had placed on it that made it lacking for me? I just kept looking at my book, asking it to give me something else besides what it was.

I think the two big issues for me were the setting and the characters and my higher expectations on them.

A big part of this book was really toted as the city of ghosts and the atmospheric setting of Edinburgh. Scotland has always been a place that I’ve been dying to go to, and I was so so so excited to read about it. I was ready to be immersed in the spooky setting. And while it did have a cool vibe, I never really got the full pictures. I feel like I would see snapshots of the city every once in a while, but I never really could picture what it was supposed to look like or really feel like. I couldn’t describe to you what Lane’s End or the castle really looked like, and I just felt like I was missing the essential vibes of the setting to fully immerse myself.

I also did like the characters and thought they were a good cast of characters. Everyone felt pretty realistic, and I especially enjoyed Lara, Findley, and Cassidy’s parents. However, for Cassidy and Jacob who are the main characters, I really found a disconnection with them. I didn’t feel like I was invested them as characters. I mean, they were good enough, but I felt like I was skimming the surface with them instead of deep diving (oh, this is awkward phrasing when I think about the way Cassidy ended up seeing ghosts in the first place. I’m cringing for myself.) I just wanted deeper characterization and what really made them tick. I never really understood Cassidy’s and Jacob’s motivations, and Jacob is still quite a bit of mystery to me.

Belle is alllllll for taking a trip to another fancy castle – but instead of talking to ghosts, she rather talk to the cutlery.

One thing I did love was the ghost lore and how infused this book was with the ghosties. Schwab put in a lot of intriguing and interest facts and history about ghosts in Edinburgh but it never felt like a Wikipedia page or boring history. It was lively and cool and so fascinating. I loved those parts, and I’m now writing down places I want to hit up for sure based off these intriguing tidbits that Schwab stuck in. Her concept of ghosts and the Veil was intriguing as well, and I really liked the world she created.

Schwab’s writing was a bit different for me for this one. Her writing didn’t really feel like her previous works. It wasn’t a bad thing – just a different thing. Her pacing was fantastic, though, and I just breezed right through this book.

Overall, there were a few things that were really lacking for me in this book, but it was a fun little read that brought some good ghostie moments and cool stories. I would have liked a little more depth with the main characters and a little more description of the setting, and it was a bit different than Schwab’s usual writing. However, this was the perfect story to read for the readathon and the fall season. And now I desperately want to go to Scotland. 3 crowns and a Belle rating!


What do you think? What are some of your favorite spooky reads? Did you like this one? Have you ever read an author that had a different sound in his or her books? Let’s discuss in the comments below!


20 thoughts on “City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

  1. I’m sorry this book didn’t meet your expectation. I absolutely love the lore and histories of Edinburg in this book, they were interesting. I can see why you feel disconnected with both main characters, maybe there are more to Jacob that are yet to explained? But personally I love those two and I also love their friendship. Amazing review!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I definitely agree with you! I didn’t struggle too much with the setting as I’ve been to Edinburgh a few times so I knew the places Schwab was talking about. But yes, it did feel like there was something missing. I’ll probably still try book two though in the hopes that things are more developed!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So sorry this didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to Mandy! I know how much you were looking forward to it. Disconnect between the main characters is one of the worst things to happen! How are you supposed to love a book, if you don’t fully get or appreciate the MCs? Buy yay for Scotland!


  4. I think you captured exactly how I felt about the book. Maybe because it was middle grade she didn’t dive as deeply (sorry, using it again) into the development as she would have with YA or adult?

    Liked by 1 person

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