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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Ever since Cass almost drowned (okay, she did drown, but she doesn't like to think about it), she can pull back the Veil that separates the living from the dead . . . and enter the world of spirits. Her best friend is even a ghost. So things are already pretty strange. But they're about to get much stranger. When Cass's parents start hosting a TV show about the world's most haunted places, the family heads off to Edinburgh, Scotland. Here, graveyards, castles, and secret passageways teem with restless phantoms. And when Cass meets a girl who shares her "gift," she realizes how much she still has to learn about the Veil -- and herself. And she'll have to learn fast. The city of ghosts is more dangerous than she ever imagined. NYT bestselling author Victoria Schwab delivers a thrillingly spooky and action-packed tale of hauntings, history, mystery, and the bond between friends (even if that friend is a ghost . . .).…

City of Ghosts

by Victoria Schwab

Overall Book Review:

City of Ghosts was such an interesting book. I’ve read other books by Victoria Schwab, and you can always count on her giving you something that’s different from anything else you’ve ever read.

Cassidy is a photographer-in-training who survived a recent terrible accident – the kind of accident where she should have died, but didn’t. This gives her the ability to see something she calls the Veil, a space in the world that is haunted by a restless spirit. It also landed her with a ghostly sidekick named Jacob. She and Jacob explore different areas of the Veil, places that tug Cass like a magnet.

Then her parents, authors of a series of ghost detective stories, land a gig filming some of the world’s most haunted places, and Cass finds herself in Scotland, where the streets teem with ghosts.

In Scotland, the pull of the Veil is overwhelmingly strong. Cass has to struggle to resist its drag, while coping with the knowledge that her near death experience has made her a ghost hunter, someone charged with helping ghosts “pass on,” and that Jacob should not be in her world at all. On top of that, a child-stealing spirit is after her, and Cass will have to do all she can to resist the ghost’s irresistible singing, or she might find herself just another one of Scotland’s spectral population.

There were some creepy moments to this book that kept me turning pages, but never anything over-the-top horrifying. It’s mostly atmospheric. It’s also set, for the most part, in Scotland, so I had a blast reading all the descriptions of the places Cassidy goes, and I knew exactly how haunted each setting (i.e., Greyfriars Kirk, Mary King’s Close, etc) are. All in all, a really fun read.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Scholastic Press (A Scholastic Imprint)

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  4 religious exclamations. 

Violence/Gore:  Many instances of violence and gore, including but not limited to: A character is a ghost; mention of a boy dying in a fire; a character has flashbacks to an accident; a girl passes a Veil to view the events leading up to tragedies; a character’s ghost friend briefly disappears; characters hear footsteps apparently belonging to a ghost; a mother and daughter tour a haunted graveyard; a character gets pulled unwillingly through the Veil, where she is entranced by a ghost in red; report of characters murdering people for scientific experiment; a character relates the horror of a plague; a character gets dragged through the Veil, where she is confronted by malevolent ghosts who chase her through an underground labyrinth of streets; two friends verbally fight; a girl reveals she’s a ghost hunter, someone charged with reaping ghosts and helping them cross through the Veil and over to the other side; a girl is warned that ghosts want the life-force of humans who can cross the Veil; characters tell ghost stories; a girl is attacked by ghost children; a character is trapped in the ghost world; characters are attacked by ghosts in a graveyard; In an extended scene, a girl tussles with a ghost and is thrown backward, while another characters attack a ghost and injuries result; a girl tricks a ghost and sends her to the other side; characters are in trouble for apparent vandalism. 

Sex/Nudity:  A husband and wife kiss; a boy and girl comfort each other.

Mature Subject Matter:

Near-death experience, death of a child, death, paranormal activity.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Characters mention going to a bar; a man has a pipe between his lips.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

Fantasy is my bread and butter. I read and write it. I’m obsessed with world-building and fascinated with lyrical prose. I love that I can contribute to the writing community by recommending good books that can actually make a difference in a person’s life.