One of the most popular authors between my friends, and I had never picked up a single one of Victoria Schwab’s novels despite owning quite a few. That is, until a few months ago when I decided to pick up City of Ghosts and was blown away, and since its sequel Tunnel of Bones is being published in only a couple of days I decided to write a joint review and have a reread of City of Ghosts. By the time you are all reading this of course though, both novels will be out and so if you like the sound of them then you can go to the shops straight away and pick up copies for yourself! I know that these won’t be the last of V.E Schwab books I read, I can’t wait to start the rest of her published works!
City of Ghosts By Victoria Schwab
Publisher: Scholastic Children’s Books
Release Date: 6th September 2018
Caa can pull back the Veil that separates the living from the dead.
When Cass’s parents start hosting a TV show about the world’s most haunted places, the family heads off to Edinburgh. Here, graveyards, castles and secret passageways teem with restless phantoms.
But when Cass meets a girl who shares her “gift”, she realizes how much she still has o learn about the Veil – and herself. And she’ll have to learn fast.
We all love a good ghost story, don’t we? The mystery of what happens after death and what is beyond the veil between life and death – it’s a curiosity and uncertainty. Except for Cassidy that is, as Cassidy sees ghosts and her best friend Jacob, is a ghost. After an accident that caused Cassidy to almost drown – she now hears the veil as it calls her to step through. With each instance of the tap-tap-tap in her head, armed with her camera and trusty friend Cassidy steps through and witnesses the moments of ghosts. However, if that wasn’t all, Cassidy’s parents are The Inspecters, a writing pair who explore ghosts and myths and have just been offered their own TV show. Which undoubtedly means that Cassidy, Jacob and the cat Grim are being brought along for the ride.
“In the end, I guess Mom was right.
I have one foot in winter and one in spring.
One foot with the living, and one with the dead.”
I loved this book and was really excited as it was the first Victoria Schwab novel I have ever read but also it was her first middle-grade novel too – I think I will be working up the age ranges of her books! Cassidy is brave, inquisitive and brilliant, I love that the entire narrative is from her perception and thoughts and because of her link with Jacob he is hearing them just as we are. This often leads to Jacob pipping up and having his input, which I really enjoyed especially in moments when danger appears to lurk and Jacob’s suggestions always seem to revolve around going back inside to safety. It was nice to see Jacob and Cassidy’s friendship especially since they appear to be completely different but they work really well. I particularly enjoy their list of friendship rules they had for one another and whenever they repeated them to one another just showed how precious their friendship is.
I have only been to Edinburgh once before, though I always intend to go back, and loved that there was a map included in the front so we could track Cassidy as she travelled from ghostly and haunted places with her parents and the film crew. I loved the character of Findley, the family’s guide while there are filming the show who added another sense of humour. It also helps that Findley is fine with the concept of ghosts and the idea that Cassidy’s best friend is one even though he cannot see him which I liked. Also, I quite liked the character of Lara who is another opposite to Cassidy and Jacob due to her practicalness -, especially concerning the veil. I really hope we see her again in Tunnel of Bones because I’m quite curious about her character will evolve and how her relationship with Cassidy and Jacob will change.
Moreover, the plot of City of Ghosts is very straightforward and easy to follow. Schwab explains the function of ghosts and the veil very well and so it makes it easy to fall into the story and enjoy and not feel confused. If I’m honest, I couldn’t put City of Ghosts down at all and read it in a single sitting – I absolutely loved it and cannot wait to see Cassidy and Jacob on their adventure.
Tunnel of Bones By Victoria Schwab
Publisher: Scholastic Children’s Books
Release Date: 5th September 2019
Trouble is haunting Cassidy Blake . . . even more than usual. She (plus her ghost best friend, Jacob, of course) are in Paris, where Cass’s parents are filming their TV show about the world’s most haunted cities. Sure, it’s fun eating croissants and seeing the Eiffel Tower, but there’s true ghostly danger lurking beneath Paris, in the creepy underground Catacombs. When Cass accidentally awakens a frighteningly strong spirit, she must rely on her still-growing skills as a ghosthunter — and turn to friends both old and new to help her unravel a mystery. But time is running out, and the spirit is only growing stronger. And if Cass fails, the force she’s unleashed could haunt the city forever.
I think I spent most of the day with my eyes glued to the window waiting for the postman to arrive and deliver this. Tunnel of Bones acts as the second instalment to the City of Ghosts series that followed Cassidy, an inbetweener who can see into the veil, her best friend Jacob, a ghost and her parents as they are filming their new television show, ‘The Inspectors’. First stop was Edinburgh which I adored and the second takes us off to Paris to discover the ghost stories that reside there.
As Cassidy, Jacob, her parents and cat Grim arrive in the city something is awakened as the group tour the most haunted sites in the city. Unlike in Edinburgh where the women in red wandered waiting to capture another’s lifeline, in Paris something else is there. After awakening a poltergeist it isn’t long before mischief, chaos, menace and mayhem ensue and it is up to Cassidy and Jacob to send the poltergeist on – with the help of fellow inbetweener Lara.
As from their previous adventure in Edinburgh, there was still an air of tension throughout as Cassidy and Jacob attempt to figure out how to send the poltergeist on – not as easy as any other ghost it appears. I love Cassidy and Jacob’s friendship, particularly how they appear polar opposites to one another and yet they complement each other perfectly. This ghost hunting duo are so fun to read about and I’m excited to see what will occur in the next book!
I loved this instalment and how new characters are thrown into the mix, the idea that each episode leads to a new guide and filming crew was a fun aspect that I wasn’t entirely expecting. I had presumed that at least the same filming crew would be following Cassidy and her family but in Tunnel of Bones which are introduced to Pauline, Anton and Annette. Pauline is the opposite to Findley and yet I love how both their interactions with Caissdy and encounter with the paranormal occur.
“It’s hard to believe in ghosts until you see one,
and then it’s hard not to.”
The end was unexpected but I can’t wait to head off to New Orleans and read the next instalment to this fantastic series!
Have you read City of Ghosts or Tunnel of Bones? Do you believe in Ghosts?
Do you have a favourite Victoria Schwab novel? If so, what should I try next?