Sunday, September 2, 2012

Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake

Girl of Nightmares
(Anna #2)
Kendare Blake
Release: August 7, 2012
Goodreads   Amazon
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.

“Anna, don’t - ” I almost said, Anna don’t die, but that’s stupid. She was dead when I met her.
Addicting, smart, and totally unputdownable, Girl of Nightmares exceeded my expectations and somehow managed to be even better than Anna Dressed in Blood.

I adored Cas, Anna, Thomas, and Carmel in the first in this two book series and didn't really know how that book could be topped. I also didn't really know what to expect with book two. What I got was an amazing young adult story with smart and well written teens and a clever mix of horror, fantasy, and Cas' sharp wit - which he basically keeps to himself. Kendare Blake is such a talented writer in the way that she manages to bring to life all of these horrific and serious events in a young adult book. . . and somehow makes everything seem realistic and not at all watered down.

I just adore Cas. He has got to be one of my all time favorite males in a YA book. Not because he's swoon worthy or cheesily romantic, but because he is sarcastic, self-depracating, serious when he needs to be, and fiercely protective of Anna, Thomas, and Carmel. I love how his relationships with others are written in the book - his awkward but heartfelt conversations with his mother, his deep friendship with Thomas, and his begrudged friendship with Carmel that somehow turned into an amazing camaraderie when he wasn't looking. Cas is not the typical YA book teen struggling to balance regular teenage life with a secret world. He goes through the motions of being a teenager, but really comes to life when he's hunting ghosts.
But this hunch is all we have to go on, and every time I question him about feasibility, he smiles at me like he’s Yoda and I’m just a dumbass without the Force.
I probably adore Thomas and Carmel equally as much as Cas, because they're such great side characters that aren't really side characters at all. Thomas is geeky and unassuming, but he's also really powerful and his magical/voodoo abilities are important in several parts of the story. Watching him get made fun of or teased at school is painful because you know he could do some serious damage to those haughty jocks and prom queen candidates. . . but he never would. His relationship with Carmel is complicated, as is Carmel herself in this one. Carmel experiences a split conscious about being a part of the ghost hunting world and I appreciated the way Blake wrote her and her issues because they were pretty damn spot on and believable. Thomas and Carmel's side stories are almost as gripping as the main focus of the book.
“Chef?" Carmel exclaims. "I could give a shit about a chef. I'm going to find the most expensive thing in that kitchen, eat one bite, and throw the rest on the floor. Then I'm going to break some plates.”
We meet some new characters in the second half of the book as our three heroes take a trip across the ocean to a new location. I don't want to talk about that too much because I just don't see how I can without giving away too much. I do love the new location for the story, all the characters we meet (even the ones I hated. . . and there will be some you hate), and all the background information we get about Cas' athame. Blake gives us a history of the weapon and the tradition of ghost hunting without an info dump or any boring, winded paragraphs. This just goes to show again how smart a writer she truly is and how smart she knows her audience to be.

Anna. Like in book one, she appears in the story a minimal amount but still manages to be such an important character. Something happened when she took down the Obeahman and she is trapped somewhere awful, being tortured in all kinds of horrible ways. Cas doesn't believe she got what she deserved and seeing her in these detached visions where she is all kinds of messed up really weighs heavy on his mind. How can he just let that go when he loves her and and she saved his life? Their situation, which by the way defines "long-distance relationship", is so interesting and heartbreaking.  When they get to speak to each other they suddenly because typical teens wrapped up sweet, first love. These brief moments help to keep the reader pulling for the two of them to somehow find a way to make things work. I won't lie, there were times when I got teary eyed.
“Cassio,” she whispers. “Get me out of here.”
This book does find plenty of ways to creep the reader out as well. Amidst the emotional scenes are plenty of scare-the-pee-out-of-you scenes. Ghosts are scary, Hell is scary, and visions of your tortured girlfriend are scary. I wasn't losing sleep or anything, but I was successfully spooked.

How many ways can you say something was amazing? Girl of Nightmares lived up to the first book and completed the series. If you loved the first you won't be disappointed with this one.
“She crossed over death to call me. I crossed through Hell to find her.”
Recommended for fans of: ghost stories, books with good friendships, heroes with a dry sense of humor, Anna Dressed in Blood, smart writing, and creepy cults.

This review is based on an early finished copy provided by the publisher.



  1. I skimmed this review, but am glad that you enjoyed it just as much as the first. I have this one to read & can't wait to get to it.

  2. Glad to hear it's good. I, too, skimmed the review but only because I'm just getting around to the first one this month! Glad to hear the second one's even better, though! :D Thanks for the review!

  3. I enjoyed the first book but I thought something was missing so I hope that the second book brings about what I was missing the first time around.

    Glad you really enjoyed this one and I hope you enjoy all future reads by this author. :)

  4. Hey There! I’m a fellow blogger/writer looking to meet new people and discover great blogs, and I gladly added myself to your followers and can’t wait to read more!! I’d also love to invite you to check out a great giveaway I’m having, that I think would be right up your alley!

    Hope to see you there, and thanks so much!

  5. I'm so glad you liked this book! I'm always a bit fearful when I love the first book in a series a lot because it's kind of a 50/50 shot as to whether the second book will live up to the first one or not. Glad to hear that this one does! Thanks for the review :)


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