5 things readers of all ages will appreciate about City of Ghosts


Victoria Schwab’s City of Ghosts hits bookstores this week, and fans of paranormal stories will love it — no matter what their age.

As book releases go, Victoria Schwab is having a pretty solid season. Her first middle grade novel, City of Ghosts, dropped this week, just a month before Vengeful hits the adult market and acts as the sequel to Vicious.

Both books have received a lot of hype prior to their release dates, and admittedly, it’s probably deserved. Schwab tends to pull readers in with her masterful storytelling, and she definitely manages this in City of Ghosts.

City of Ghosts follows Cassidy Blake, the daughter of two ghost hunters who call themselves The Inspectres. Ironically, Cassidy’s parents can’t see any ghosts — but she can. Ever since she nearly drowned, she’s been able to see the other side. She’s even become best friends with a ghost, a boy named Jacob.

When Cassidy’s parents are asked to star in a television show, she and Jacob reluctantly join them on a trip to Edinburgh. But if Cassidy thought traveling would be relaxing, she clearly didn’t anticipate just how haunted Scotland’s capital really is. In just a matter of days, Cassidy discovers a dark presence that threatens the city. And it’s up to her to stop it.

City of Ghosts is a satisfying addition to Schwab’s collection of fiction, and it’s definitely worth picking up, especially for those who enjoy the paranormal. And if you still need convincing, here are five reasons readers — young and old — will appreciate the book.

Excellent use of setting

As settings go, Schwab couldn’t have picked a more fitting location for a story about ghost hunting. Her choice to place Cassidy and Jacob in Edinburgh for the majority of City of Ghosts is a smart one, as the city truly adds to the spooky atmosphere of the story.

From Greyfriars Kirkyard to the notorious Edinburgh Castle, Schwab takes readers on a tour of haunted locations in Edinburgh. She also drops quite a few Harry Potter references, which her adult readers will undoubtedly appreciate.

Tough girls who haunt ghosts

At the beginning of City of Ghosts, Cassidy merely visits the world beyond the veil, unsure of why she’s been given this strange ability. When she meets a fellow “in-betweener” in Edinburgh, a girl named Lara, she learns that she can do more than just see ghosts with her powers.

The two begin searching for ghosts and passing them on. Lara believes that this is their “purpose,” and she teaches Cassidy what she knows. Both girls have a strength that shines through the pages, and neither balk at the presence of danger.

Friendship is paramount

With so many stories focused on romantic and familial relationships, it can be difficult to find books that focus primarily on friendship. It’s even more arduous to find ones that tackle this theme well. If you’re someone who values friendships in a story, City of Ghosts will not disappoint.

Despite the fact that Jacob’s a ghost, his bond with Cassidy is a powerful one, and it receives plenty of attention throughout the book. From their “ghost fives” and rules of friendship to their willingness to throw themselves into serious danger to protect one another, the two are a pair that readers will relate to and care for.

Increasing stakes

Being geared toward younger readers, it’s no surprise that City of Ghosts starts out a little slower than Schwab’s other works. As we come to know the characters and understand Cassidy’s powers, things remain relatively calm plot-wise.

Don’t let this deter you from pushing through to the end. By the book’s midway point, the story begins to pick up. And when readers finally realize that Cassidy’s life could be in danger, they’ll be flipping the pages to find out what happens next.

Room for a sequel

City of Ghosts is listed on Schwab’s website as the first book in The Cassidy Blake series, and she recently took to Twitter to tell fans that she’s beginning work on a sequel. And like any well-written first book, City of Ghosts will certainly leave readers wanting a second installment.

Schwab doesn’t neatly wrap up every storyline in her middle grade debut. In fact, she leaves a lot of questions open — especially when it comes to Jacob’s past. She also mentions that the Inspectres will be traveling to a number of locations for their show, so it appears readers will be traveling quite a bit as this series continues.

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City of Ghosts comes out this week. With the book clocking in at 272 pages, Schwab’s fans will likely finish before the author is even halfway through writing the sequel. But at least we’ll have Vengeful to look forward to while we wait.