Mini reviews: Halloween edition! City of Ghosts, The Witches, & The Halloween Tree

Hi friends! I have some mini reviews for you today, of the Halloween variety!


City of Ghosts

This was an enjoyably spooky middle-grade from Victoria Schwab. I did have some issues with it but I feel it’s important to remember the target age of this book and make allowances for that – we can’t expect the same kind of development we would get from an adult read.

I’ll get my issues out of the way so I can end on a positive. I did feel like there was a lot of spoon-feeding here; while it was nice that the author explained what British words meant for her American readers, as a Brit myself I already knew all of these things. I found it a little frustrating that I kept being pulled out of the story to be told the difference between ‘fries’ and ‘chips’ or that a ‘torch’ is the same thing as a ‘flashlight’. I did also find that the Harry Potter references, while cool at first, got a little bit waring.

However! I did have fun with this. It’s an incredibly fast-paced read and Schwab created some nice creepy vibes. I loved the incorporation of the city’s history/folklore – this book really is a love letter to Edinburgh. And I really liked Cassidy’s parents; they brought to mind Ed and Lorraine Warren, and I hope we get to see more of them in future books.

Overall, if you can cut it a little slack and forgive it its flaws, this makes for a fun little seasonal read. 3.5 stars.

city of ghosts


The Witches

I never read this particular Roald Dahl book as a child (because the concept terrified me and friends confirmed they were scared by it). But it’s fantastic. The little boy narrating the story is a joy, as is his feisty grandmamma. I loved them both. They have such a great outlook on life (I really enjoyed the messages in this book!)

There are some genuinely horrific descriptions in this book and it’s no wonder that children everywhere are scared of Dahl’s vision of witches. Even reading it as an adult, I was a bit freaked out!

I really liked that the story moved between Norway and Bournemouth, and I just found the whole thing to be a brilliant, fun journey. 5 stars!

the witches.jpg


The Halloween Tree

This was a really fun story! I loved the small-town, coming-of-age vibes (it reminded me of something like Stand By Me).

The story was a fun journey through the origins of Halloween in different countries, making it informative as well as enjoyable! There were also some great creepy moments. I only wish we could have spent longer in each location as it felt slightly rushed at times – I wanted more! I would have loved a full-length novel based on this concept.

All in all though, another successful experience with Bradbury. 4 stars.

the halloween tree.jpg


Have you read any of these? What seasonal books are you reading this month? Let me know in the comments! x

5 thoughts on “Mini reviews: Halloween edition! City of Ghosts, The Witches, & The Halloween Tree

  1. I really want to read The Halloween Tree! And The Witches is on my re-read list. (I read it as a teen or tween, and enjoyed it.) Sounds like some great seasonal reads for you! I’m reading American Gods right now, which I’ve been told is perfect for the season, but I haven’t gotten far enough in to tell yet.


  2. Pingback: October Wrap-Up! (In which significant life changes hinder my spooky reading) | the paperback piano

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