Book Review – City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

city of ghosts coverSeries: Cassidy Blake (book #1)

Rating: 4 stars

star rating 4


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


City of Ghosts is a middle-grade paranormal book about a girl who had a near death experience and now she can see ghosts. Cassidy is dreaming about her ghost-free summer vacation on the beach, until her parents – who happen to be sort of ghost hunting team -, announce that they got a new TV show about haunted places, so the girl has to go with them to Edinburgh, Scotland, pointed as one of the most haunted cities in the world. At least she gets to take her best friend, Jacob, with her – although he is not exactly alive.

This is my second Victoria Schwab, which btw is weird because I actually own a bunch of her books. I had only read A Darker Shade of Magic before this one, but now I can breathe a sigh of relief and be even more optimistic that I’ll continue to enjoy her stuff. I met Victoria last year and she’s a sweetie, so obviously I really want to like what she writes. So far so good.

I don’t usually read middle-grade, so I’m really glad I enjoyed this one. It was an easy and quick read, and it had precisely the paranormal vibes I’ve been in the mood for. It’s a very simple book, so it won’t mindblow you or anything, but I found it quite enjoyable and it doesn’t take much out of you to read it. I have to say that this is more atmospheric than actually spooky, but I’m fine with that.


“Stories have power,” she says. “So long as you belive them.”


I really liked the characters. Cassidy is a chill girl, she’s brave, and she is very attached to her friend. As mentioned in the book, she is a total Gryffindor (yep, Cass loves Harry Potter), goes right into danger, and doesn’t back down just because something is scary. I particularly liked that she is actually a thoughtful and empathetic kid. She really considers other people’s feelings, which is nice taking into account that she is just 10 (or 11, can’t be sure). My 10-year-old self would not have been so chill haha.

I loved her friendship with Jacob. He’s a ghost that looks around her age, and he saved her life. It’s really cute how close they are. He’s funny, loves superheroes, and is very protective of her – he can also read her mind. It was particularly endeering for me that, since Jacob can’t touch things, she opens comic books on her bed and flips pages so he can read them.


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


Cassidy’s parents were kind of crazy, but in a fun way. Her mom is that type of person that hears a ghost story and goes like “yay murder, mayhem!”, and her father was more fascinated by the history aspects. Cass would often indulge them in their ghost-related endeavors, even though she knew they weren’t the actual “ghost-whisperers” in the family.

The setting of Edinburgh was really something. I’ve never been there, so I can’t say if it was well represented, but considering Schwab spends a lot of her time in that city, she probably knew what she was doing. The history interwoven in that place felt like the perfect background for a paranormal story – do you know anything actually creepier than history? haha Isn’t that why horror movies love to stamp that “based on real facts” sentence to make the audience go “ohhh”.

City of Ghosts was a good Halloween read, and I do intend to keep reading this Cassidy Blake series. This reminded me a lot of The Mediator by Meg Cabot and I loved those books. Of course, I’ll also continue reading other things by Victoria Schwab, and the next one will most likely be Vicious.


So, have you read this book? Are you interested in any way? Let me know in the comments. 😀

5 thoughts on “Book Review – City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab”

  1. This might be a good Halloween read for me but as I said in my review for This Savage Song I don’t do well reading multiple books by an author unless it’s a series. I recently read and loved Vicious and although this is middle-grade I’m worried I’ll fine some similarities (actually the way Cassie gets her powers sounds a lot like how people gained powers in Vicious) although this does sound good so maybe I’ll break down and read it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t read Vicious yet so I can’t compare, but I do believe both use near death experiences as a way to gain powers indeed. I don’t usually read middle grade and I enjoy it so I would recommend it. It’s quick read so it probably wouldn’t take you long to read it. ;D


  2. I just reviewed this book as well! I enjoyed it 🙂

    Because I visited Edinburgh a few months ago, I know that Schwab did a good job of naming places which are actually in Edinburgh. But considering how much time she probably spends there, I was surprised that there were little to no descriptions of the actual Edinburgh locations and the general setting. I only knew what they looked like because I’ve visited, but I would have been very confused if I had never seen the locations!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it too!
      Ohh you went there, consider me jealous haha but I understand what you mean. Maybe because it’s middle-grade Schwab didn’t want to go heavy on descritions? That’d my guess, but it would’ve been nice seeing more of details of the city.


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