Friday, September 28, 2018

Review: City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

Author: Victoria Schwab
Publisher: Scholastic
Date of publication: August 2018

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.

City of Ghosts is the first in a middle grade series featuring 12 YO (I think) Cassidy Blake.  Cassidy almost died in a river the year before.  After being rescued by a ghost, she can now see ghosts.  Her parents are paranormal investigators and are spending the summer touring haunted cities all over the world.

I think I am going to have to admit defeat when it comes to this author.  So far, I haven't finished or enjoyed a book she has written.  I had hopes that a middle grade book would be different.  City of Ghosts was just an OK read for me.  The story was nice enough, but I'm not convinced middle grade readers will flock to it.  The story lacked any real world building and left me with so many questions.   I would hope they will be further explored later in eh series.  

One thing that I found really annoying about the book was the amount of Harry Potter references.  I'm not sure packing the book with those will make it more popular with the middle grade  readers.  I also got tired of the constant explanations for the explanation of terms like what fish and chips were or crisps.  It felt like exposition and slowed the narrative down.  Would I recommend it to my middle grader?  Maybe.   

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