Audiobook Review: City of Ghosts – by Victoria Schwab

Cassidy Blake #1

YA, Supernatural, Fantasy

Scholastic; August 28, 2018

272 pages; ~5 hours (audio)

3 / 5 ✪

City of Ghosts is a YA effort from Victoria Schwab, first in the Cassidy Blake series. Previously, Schwab had released the Archived trilogy (which I’ve heard good things about), and the Monsters of Verity duology (of which I’m a fan). This said—City of Ghosts doesn’t feel like the polished, complete work I would’ve expected from her.

Everything started when Cassidy Blake died. That day she went across the Veil for the first time, she met Jacob—whom since has become her best friend—when he saved her life. Impressive, as he’s dead and all. Now, they’re inseparable, and frequently take trips back across the Veil, where Cassidy can interact with Jacob as if he were alive. Or she were dead.

This whole thing seemed like… an idea. Like, that it isn’t… complete. It comes across unpolished, unrefined—something I wouldn’t’ve expected from Schwab, since her ideas have always seemed to come to life on the page. Early on, when we are introduced to this ability to interact with events through the Veil, it seems like Cassidy is fairly new to it all. Not long after, she states that it’s something she’s been on about for the last nine months. Nine months! And even though she goes on to say that the process has been streamlined and polished, in reality it seems anything but. Frankly, it kinda seems like a spinoff of Danny Phantom; even down to the famous, ghost-hunting parents.

The beginning really did nothing for me. It was hard to get into, contradictory, and as I’ve said before, unpolished. Not “boring” exactly, but not entertaining either. Once we get into the meat of the story, it’s entertaining enough, I guess. Not that much really happens. I mean, there’s a plot and stuff, but it comes to fruition so late in the book (it’s only a 5-hour audiobook), that I’d hesitate to reveal anything in the interest of spoilers. That and… the whole thing basically feels like setup. Like the quick pilot of an episodic show. One that identifies the characters and the premise but really does little else.

I’d read the next one—probably—but wouldn’t pay full price for it. Not if it’s over $10, at least. I’d wait for the library copy, and hope VE Schwab nails some things down before then. Tunnel of Bones comes out September 3, 2019

Note: Reba Buhr was an excellent narrator. Though not anyone I’d encountered previously, I had no problem with her reading. She was actually a pretty good Cassidy; engaging and entertaining.