Book: Tunnel of Bones (Cassidy Blake #2)
Author: Victoria Schwab
BECHDEL TEST: PASS-Cassidy and Lara talk about ghosts.
Content warnings: Loss of a loved one, drowning, death of a child, mild violence
I wasn’t originally intending on reading this book this year, but I switched it out for City of Ghosts when that got chosen for me as a book club pick. I was also originally intending for it to be my October TBR read, but instead I’m counting it as my September read as I just could not get into my planned read Sherwood.
I have to admit, I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the first book, I love Paris but I don’t feel like Schwab captured it quite as well as Edinburgh and the story just wasn’t quite as creepy? Still it was a nice, fast paced short read and it was quite fun, so it wasn’t a total loss. Here is a short synopsis of the book:
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.
So like I said at the start, this book wasn’t as creepy as the first book was. I think because Schwab lives in Edinburgh, she was just able to capture the city better and it felt more like a character in that book whereas here, the fact that they were in Paris just felt kind of incidental.
I also thought the main ghost in City of Ghosts was just creepier than the one here, woman who steals children is just a scarier idea than child poltergeist. I know we were meant to feel scared at the poltergeist’s antics, but I didn’t really.
I also didn’t really feel like I needed the reminders at the beginning of the book of Cassidy’s backstory and the fact that she’s a ghost hunter, I mean obviously I forget things between books all the time, but usually I don’t need reminding of the general premise (though obviously this is a MG book, so perhaps that’s more of an audience thing than a real problem).
I did like Victoria’s writing as always, but I definitely preferred it in City of Ghosts, again, it just didn’t feel as atmospheric here.
I don’t really understand how they are able to take Grim everywhere without having to quarantine him, I’ll admit, I don’t really know what quarantine laws are on bringing animals in from the US to either the UK (in the first book) or France, but I’m sure it’s not as easy as just flying to the country and strolling straight on through!
I have to admit, though I’ve heard of most of the landmarks in the book, I’ve not been to all of them. I’ve been to the Eiffel Tower, and seen the Louvre and the Tuileries and Notre Dame but I’ve never been to the Catacombs and always wanted to go. Thankfully this book has not put me off!
Jacob and Cassidy’s friendship is still wonderful, Jacob injects some great humour into the book and I love seeing a platonic friendship between a boy and girl highlighted (okay yes, one is dead so there’s not exactly any chance of romance but still). It was also great to find out a little more of Jacob’s backstory here, his emerging human-ness definitely seems to be coming more to the fore in this book and probably in future ones as well.
I do love a good map and this book also has one!
The Harry Potter references definitely felt weird here after everything that’s happened this year with JK Rowling, though I know this book was written before all of that happened, it was still a little jarring. Also I feel like Cassidy must have some other reference points? Like Harry Potter cannot be the only thing you love.
The pacing was pretty decent, I will say that it lagged a little towards the end and the final battle with the ghost felt a little anti-climactic but it was for the most part a quick read.
Cass’s parents really are ridiculously oblivious, she disappears all the time and they barely even seem to notice till she’s back. I don’t understand why she doesn’t tell them what’s going on, they’re literally doing a show about ghosts and though she says they didn’t believe her when she tried to explain at the end of City of Ghosts, I don’t think she did a particularly good job. She clearly doesn’t mind other people knowing as she did tell some of the people she met in this book!
The ending definitely left me with a lot of very spoilery questions, so I can’t wait to find out what happens next in Bridge of Souls when it comes out next year.
Overall I did still enjoy this book, even if I didn’t enjoy it as much as City of Ghosts. These books are definitely a good palate cleanser between the longer books I read, but they’ll never be my favourite Schwab books, and that’s fine, I’m sure the target 9-12 year olds will love them and hopefully become lifelong Schwab fans!
My Rating: 3/5
My next review will be of my October #RockMyTBR book, The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman.