City Of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

Even at first glance City Of Ghosts radiates an air of paranormal majesty. It tells stories of ghosts from years long since past, of Cassidy, a girl who can pull back the veil separating the living and the dead, and of the dark, haunted underworld of present-day Edinburgh.

Her adventures are thrown into light relief by her wisecracking ghost companion Jacob, who has stories of his own to tell.

The story begins by exploring the lives of Cassidy and her parents, who write books about ghosts and paranormal activity. However, as it continues it delves into Cassidy’s story and her own experiences with life and with death. We quickly learn that just over a year before the story starts Cassidy died and was dragged back to the land of the living by Jacob, who followed her into our world.

Fast forward to the book’s beginning and her parents’ bestselling books are being turned into a TV series. The first location for filming is Edinburgh, where Cassidy explores the mysteries of the city’s ghosts and learns more about Jacob and her own abilities to travel between the worlds of the living and the dead.

In Edinburgh we are introduced to a number of fascinating characters, but most importantly to a girl named Lara with the same abilities as Cassidy.

The mood of the story and Cassidy’s perspective change drastically with the introduction of Lara. Her presence in the book and her interactions with the main characters come as something of a wake-up call to the heroine.

Lara is almost a representation of everything Cass is not. She is capable, wise and always prepared for whatever adventure she faces. Along the way Lara shines some light on the mystery around Jacob and joins him and Cassidy on their journeys through the haunted city.

The book creates a definite dreamlike atmosphere, and creates a lasting impact that leaves you questioning the very nature of reality. When you finish the last page you immediately start imagining the next adventure, with your mind still full of ghosts, haunted cities and endless wonder.

For me, City Of Ghosts has all the ingredients a book of this kind should have: a mystical, haunting beauty and a deep, intriguing fascination. Although it deals with historical stories it is steeped in the modern day, told from the perspective of a contemporary teenager, with knowing pop culture references. I’d recommend it to anyone in search of something new and interesting to devour.