City of Ghosts and Tunnel of Bones: Book Review

If you are looking for a fun ghost story, look no further than the Cassidy Blake books by Victoria Schwab. Full of friendship, playfulness, and genuinely creepy ghosts, the Cassidy Blake books will appeal to readers of all ages.

Rating: 4.5 Stars

City of Ghosts and Tunnel of Bones
Victoria Schwab
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Synopsis for City of Ghosts: 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.

City of Ghosts and Tunnel of Bones are both delightful MG ghost stories that have appeal to a wide range of ages. As an adult, I went into this book just looking for something light and easy and that is exactly what I got. The reason I gave this one a 4.5 rating is because my adult self wanted to give it 4 stars and my inner child wanted to give it 5 stars, thus a compromise was made.

Schwab’s writing has always been something that I felt in my bones as I read it and these middle grade novels are just as impactful to me. While the writing style was slightly different considering the age range the book is for, a long time Schwab reader can still recognize the writing. I’ve never been to Edinburgh or Paris, but I felt like Schwab captured the spooky elements of both these cities and provided great atmosphere.

I liked Cassidy as a main character but she felt a little bland to me. Though, I think that might be the adult reader in me coming out. Basically, she didn’t really cause me to feel any emotion towards her. Like some other reviewers, I saw a lot of parallels between Cassidy and Sydney from Vicious. It bothered a little me, considering I’d read Vicious first, but the target age of these books probably won’t have read Vicious yet. Jacob on the other hand, has his little mysteries, and though his attitude grated on my adult nerves sometimes, and I love him as a tragic figure (and potential future baddie? I NEED TO KNOW!). Lara was vastly interesting and I love her attitude (even though she is mean to poor Jacob). And can we have a round of applause for alive and involved parents? I almost never see this in any story and it was quite refreshing.

Both books have intriguing ghost stories at their core and I love how that interweaves with Cassidy’s parents work. Mysteries are solved in each story, but more are uncovered. Though middle grade novels aren’t in my usual reading rotation, there is enough in this series to keep me intrigued. I think readers of all ages will enjoy the spooky adventures of Cassidy Blake!

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