My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
City of Ghosts is a middle-grade novel by V.E. Schwab that takes place predominantly in Scotland. Usually, Schwab has fantastic worldbuilding in her novels and everything is so vividly painted – but that didn’t quite happen here. Yes, I could imagine Edinborough but there was always a layer of detail that I felt was missing. I suspect that it was because that was a middle-grade novel and she was attempting to make it more appealing to younger readers. I can imagine that long, detailed sections about the landscape, old castle, graveyard, etc might have caused a middle-grade reader’s attention to wane. As such, I don’t want to judge this book too harshly as I am not the intended audience.
I really liked the premise of the story. Cass once almost died, so now she has the ability to see ghosts and cross the Veil between the world of the living and the dead. Sometimes places will call to her and she will see a ghost’s final moments – very cheery. But she soon discovers that her ability to see ghosts might allow her to do more than just that – and that perhaps she has a responsibility to do more. I enjoyed learning about this other side of what she could do, how it was done and the friend that joined her on that journey.
Again, because this is middle-grade I felt that the characters were not as fleshed out or developed as I would have wanted them to be. I enjoyed each of the characters but would be hard-pressed to describe them in any detail now that I am done with the book. They were fun at the time and relatively interesting, but not memorable. This is a series though, so I hope Schwab is able to strike a balance between the rich detail of her other novels and the middle-grade appeal. This book and series have a lot of potential, so I cannot wait to see where they go.