Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

A girl who can see ghosts visits haunted Edinburgh and discovers a sinister presence threatening both the living and the dead.


"City of Ghosts" by Victoria Schwab is a captivating young adult novel that follows the story of Cassidy Blake, a girl who can see ghosts. The novel is set in the atmospheric and historically rich city of Edinburgh, Scotland, and combines elements of mystery, adventure, and the supernatural. As Cassidy navigates her unique abilities and encounters the spirit world, she delves into the city's dark and enigmatic past. With its blend of ghostly encounters, friendship, and the exploration of the afterlife, "City of Ghosts" offers a compelling and immersive reading experience.

Brief Synopsis

Plot Overview and Setting

The story unfolds in the ancient and mysterious city of Edinburgh, known for its haunting history and unsettling atmosphere. Cassidy Blake, the protagonist, has a near-death experience in a drowning accident and gains the ability to see ghosts as a result. Her parents, who are paranormal investigators and authors, land a television show about haunted cities and decide to take Cassidy to Edinburgh for filming. Amidst the city's eerie cobblestone streets and hidden alleyways, Cassidy encounters a world filled with lost spirits and uncovers the chilling truth about her own connection to the afterlife.

Main Characters

The main characters in "City of Ghosts" include:

Cassidy BlakeThe protagonist, who has the ability to see ghosts
JacobCassidy's best friend, who happens to be a ghost
LaraA girl Cassidy befriends in Edinburgh
The Raven In RedA malevolent spirit bound to the city

Story Points Over Chapters

Chapter 1-5

Cassidy arrives in Edinburgh with her parents and is introduced to the city's rich history and ghostly legends. She encounters Jacob, a ghost with whom she shares a special connection, and learns about the existence of the Veil, the barrier between the living and the dead.

Chapter 6-10

Cassidy meets Lara, a living girl with a fascination for the supernatural, and discovers the existence of malevolent spirits that threaten both the living and the dead. She begins to unravel the mystery of The Raven In Red, a dangerous ghost with a sinister agenda.

Chapter 11-15

As Cassidy delves deeper into the city's haunted past, she learns about her own unique abilities and the consequences of meddling with the spirit world. She faces challenges that test her courage and her bond with Jacob.

Chapter 16-20

The Raven In Red's dark influence intensifies, posing a threat to Cassidy, Jacob, and the living residents of Edinburgh. Cassidy must confront her fears and make difficult choices to protect herself and those she cares about.

Main Events

The main events in "City of Ghosts" include:

  1. Cassidy's arrival in Edinburgh and her introduction to the city's ghostly inhabitants.
  2. The discovery of malevolent spirits and the looming threat of The Raven In Red.
  3. Cassidy's growing understanding of her own powers and the risks associated with interacting with ghosts.
  4. The intensification of The Raven In Red's malevolence and its impact on Cassidy and Jacob.
  5. The climactic showdown with The Raven In Red and the resolution of the haunting mystery.

Themes and Insights


  • The Supernatural and the Unknown: The novel explores the existence of ghosts and the mysteries of the afterlife, blurring the lines between the living and the dead.
  • Friendship and Loyalty: Cassidy's bond with Jacob and her friendship with Lara are central to the story, highlighting the importance of trust and support in facing challenges.
  • Facing Fears: The narrative delves into the theme of courage and the necessity of confronting one's fears, both in the physical and supernatural realms.


"City of Ghosts" offers insights into the allure of the supernatural, the complexities of the afterlife, and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of fear and adversity. The novel also provides a thought-provoking exploration of the connections between the past and the present, as well as the enduring power of friendship in navigating life's uncertainties.

Reader's Takeaway

Readers of "City of Ghosts" are treated to a compelling blend of ghostly encounters, historical intrigue, and the emotional journey of the protagonist. The novel offers a captivating exploration of the supernatural, while also emphasizing the importance of bravery, friendship, and self-discovery. Through its atmospheric setting and engaging characters, "City of Ghosts" invites readers to ponder the mysteries of the afterlife and the enduring bonds that connect the living and the dead.


"City of Ghosts" by Victoria Schwab is a spellbinding tale that immerses readers in the hauntingly beautiful city of Edinburgh and the enigmatic realm of spirits. With its rich atmosphere, engaging characters, and themes of friendship and courage, the novel delivers a compelling narrative that will resonate with fans of mystery, the supernatural, and captivating storytelling. Schwab's masterful blend of the eerie and the heartfelt makes "City of Ghosts" a must-read for those seeking an immersive and evocative literary experience.

City of Ghosts FAQ

  1. What is 'City of Ghosts' about?

    City of Ghosts follows a young girl named Cassidy Blake who can see ghosts and travels to Edinburgh, Scotland with her parents, who are filming a TV show about the world's most haunted places. There, she meets a girl named Lara who can also see ghosts and learns about the mysterious 'Veil' that separates the living from the dead.

  2. Is 'City of Ghosts' suitable for young readers?

    Yes, 'City of Ghosts' is a middle-grade novel, so it is suitable for young readers around the ages of 8-12.

  3. Who is the author of 'City of Ghosts'?

    The author of 'City of Ghosts' is Victoria Schwab, who is also known for her other popular books like the Shades of Magic series and This Savage Song.

  4. Is 'City of Ghosts' part of a series?

    Yes, 'City of Ghosts' is the first book in the Cassidy Blake series, followed by 'Tunnel of Bones' and 'Bridge of Souls.'

  5. What genre is 'City of Ghosts'?

    'City of Ghosts' is a paranormal fantasy novel with elements of mystery and adventure.