Sunday, August 26, 2012

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Title:  Girl of Nightmares
Author:  Kendare Blake
Series:  Anna #2
Publisher:  Tor Teen
Publication Date:  August 7, 2012
Source:  finished copy from publisher
Purchase:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble

It's been months since the ghost of Anna Korlov opened a door to Hell in her basement and disappeared into it, but ghost-hunter Cas Lowood can't move on.

His friends remind him that Anna sacrificed herself so that Cas could live--not walk around half dead. He knows they're right, but in Cas's eyes, no living girl he meets can compare to the dead girl he fell in love with.

Now he's seeing Anna everywhere: sometimes when he's asleep and sometimes in waking nightmares. But something is very wrong...these aren't just daydreams. Anna seems tortured, torn apart in new and ever more gruesome ways every time she appears.

Cas doesn't know what happened to Anna when she disappeared into Hell, but he knows she doesn't deserve whatever is happening to her now. Anna saved Cas more than once, and it's time for him to return the favor.

Girl of Nightmares picks up about six months from where Anna Dressed in Blood left off.  Cas is mooning over the loss of his beloved Anna, and not much else has changed.  Well, except that instead of traveling from place to place sending ghosts on as he'd always done prior to coming to Thunder Bay, he's contented himself with tending to minor ghostly disturbances in the area.  You can take the ghost away from the boy, but you can't take the ghost hunter out of him.
I loved Cas's voice in the previous book, and even after a year without it, I still love it…or maybe I love it even more now because of how much I've missed it.  Either way, I very much enjoy reading from his perspective.  The male point-of-view can be difficult to accomplish realistically for a female writer, but Kendare Blake nails it.  Cas is so honest and says exactly what he's feeling, even it it's not what you want to hear.  But now he's having a really hard time dealing with Anna's absence.  I'm not the biggest Carmel fan, but I gave her a mental pat on the back when she said the following to Cas early in the book:
"Of course not," she snaps.  "I liked Anna.  And even if I didn't, she saved our lives.  But what she did, sacrificing herself -- that was for you, Cas.  And she did it so that you could live.  Not so you could walk around half dead, pining for her."
It was so odd to see Cas so out of sorts.  He was so very unCas-like in the beginning of this book, that I wanted to smack him around a bit and tell him to deal with it or move the eff on.  He was always so take-charge and charismatic in Anna.  Cas is still his sarcastic, witty self, but it's like a piece of him is missing, like the light has gone out of him.  But once he starts seeing visions of Anna, he finds his sense of purpose again.  He wants, no needs, to find out what happened to Anna after that fateful night when she gave up her existence to save him and his friends.  Once he gets over his little mourning period, the story really picks up the pace and he's nearly back to his old self again.  And throughout the novel, I had the urge many times to grab Cas by the shoulders and tell him he was doing the right thing.
"Everyone seems to know more than I do, and being on the shallow end of the information pool is starting to piss me off."
I think the fact that I have such physical reactions to what Cas is doing speaks volumes for the characterization, not to mention the writing as a whole.  I feel like I know these characters…they have personalities all their own and they've grown so much in such a short period of time.  Cas is pitted against a formidable potential ally and even though I never fully trusted her, I liked her, just as Cas did.  It's not fair for the author to make me like the competition, but she did it anyway.  That lady is one smooth talker.

And she brought the creepy back full-force, too.  Girl of Nightmares gave me just as many nightmares as Anna did.  Maybe more.  Not only was Cas living through his own personal hell, but his very skill and right to wield his father's athame were being questioned.  He's tested, put through the ringer to prove he is deserving.  There may even be a Suicide Forest involved.  Oh, and a trip to Hell.  All in a day's work for our favorite ghost hunter.  Don't worry, though, the humor that balanced out the scary in the first book hasn't disappeared either.
"No.  You're a cult.  A buttoned-up, prissy British cult, but you're still a cult."
I didn't realize until just recently that Girl of Nightmares would be the final book in the series.  Two books.  That's it, folks.  I wish some series would end at two novels, but not this one.  I could read about these characters forever.  However, I do believe that this ending for Cas and Anna is as perfect as it's going to get.  Kendare answered all of my questions by the end and although I'd like to see more of Cas's story, at least I have Kendare's new Antigoddess series to look forward to.

And so even though this is a sequel, it's also the end, and a brilliant end it is.  Some books are casual acquaintances and leave you feeling lukewarm towards them.  Others you might actually date for a bit before forgetting about them.  But this book?  This book I'd marry.  I could spend the rest of my life with this book and never look twice at another book.  I would be completely monogamous with this book, ya'll.  Yep, we'd have a very long and happy life together.  Well, until that Antigoddess series is out.  I can't make any promises then, not with the way Kendare writes for my soul.
And here is the last line to what is probably one of my favorite scenes from the book:
"No way.  Don't you get it, Cas?"  He looks at me disgustedly.  "I ate the fucking ginersnaps."
You'll just have to read it to find out what happened...but it's terribly funny.  ;0)

Rating:  Photobucket


  1. Six months later?!!! Didn't realize it would be that long. And poor Cas! All out of sort and feeling guilty. I guess I can understand that. Ready to meet this freaky girl of nightmares but I'm sad to hear this is the end of the series!!!!!

    1. I, too. It's kind of bittersweet. Great ending but so sad to see it end. But if you loved Anna, I know you'll love Girl. :)

  2. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I'm usually a bit wary when the second book picks up quite a bit later, with a character who is full of regret or mourns something/-body. But I LOVED Cas! I only read Anna Dressed in Blood two or three weeks ago and I could now kick my own ass for waiting for the paperback to read it. Because now I have to wait again >.< (my book editions must match)
    Anyway, I'm glad Cas is still his snarky self and eventually catches himself again! And I can't wait to watch over Cas' shoulder as he makes a tript to hell! So curious to see how Kendare Blake handled that...
    Great review!

    1. Haha...I used to be that way, until I got tired of waiting for the books to be released in the same format. Plus, they keep changing covers mid-series, so nothing's going to match now anyway! :( Now, as long as I have the books on my shelf, I'm happy.

      And how could you NOT love Cas? And if you loved Anna, I know you'll love's full of the same humor and snark and creepiness that Anna was, and the writing is just as good as the first book.

  3. I hacent started the series, but am reading it very soon. I'm so excited after seeing how much you live it. I can't wait to find out the deal about gingersnaps. Great review!

    1. I loved both books in equal measure. Can't wait to see what you think of them!

  4. Ha! The gingersnaps! Poor Thomas, I would've been pissed too! I had bittersweet feelings about this one. I guess it ended as well as can be expected, but still. I will miss the characters. Great review Jen. :)

    1. Poor Thomas, indeed! And I already miss Cas and the gang, too. :(

  5. Thanks i'm convinced. Great review & tease.


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