I received an advance reader’s copy (ARC) of Bridge of Souls by Victoria Schwab. Since this version is just a proof and not the final version, I won’t quote directly and will keep my comments general.
I had forgotten how much I enjoy this series!
In the third installment of the Cassidy Blake series, we join Cass and her ghost best friend Jacob as they travel to New Orleans. Cass’s parents are due to film their third episode of their ghost hunting show, and Cass just hopes they won’t run into any vengeful ghosts or mischievous poltergeists this time. However, a mysterious skeletal figure seems to be stalking Cass’s every move, and as she attempts to navigate seances and graveyards with her parents, she wonders what will happen if this figure catches her. And then there’s the matter of Jacob’s increasing powers to worry about, too…
It’s been over a year since I read the first two books in this series, but I didn’t have any trouble following this story. Schwab provides just enough backstory that the reader isn’t lost—though I’d still recommend reading these books in order. The plots mostly stand alone, but there are some overarching themes and developments.
Cassidy is still an excellent protagonist—very sweet and bright, but still a little bit a fish out of water as she learns more and more about her role as a ghost hunter, and about the world beyond ours. She’s easy to root for, and I love her friendship with Jacob so much. They continue to have excellent banter, and their loyalty to one another is so touching. I also loved seeing Lara return; she gets more character development and screen time, and adds a layer to the relationship between the main characters.
Cass’s parents are great, if a little sidelined/unaware of their daughter’s difficulties while they film their show. A standout character for me, though, was definitely Lucas. I hope we see him again! I’d like to know more about him.
Speaking of knowing more, we get a lot more information about the world(s) of ghosts, and what lies even beyond the “Veil” (the ghostly plane of existence beyond our own). Seeing how memory affects the Veil was really fascinating, and I love how it was described in a place like New Orleans, which has so much history. The concept of death is, of course, pretty prominent, but Schwab never makes it too heavy or frightening for her audience.
I do wish we’d interacted more with some of the actual ghosts/ghost stories of New Orleans. Several were definitely featured, but as in the previous installments, the real opponents Cassidy faces are inventions of Schwab’s. I wish we could linger a bit on the “real” hauntings.
Still, in the end, I had a fantastic time with Bridge of Souls. The stakes are higher, the ghosts are scarier, and the spookiness… well, spookier. But this still manages to be a fun story, with wonderful friendships and atmospheric writing and a rich, engaging setting. The action is exciting, the pacing flawless, and the ending the perfect mix of uncertain but hopeful. Victoria Schwab just has me wrapped around her finger, and I am perfectly okay with that.
Overall rating: 8.7/10
Bridge of Souls will be published on March 2nd, 2021!