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.
Christal’s Review – 3.5 Skulls – B
Girl of Nightmares is the sequel to Anna Dressed in Blood. I wasn’t a die-hard fan of Anna, but it had an interesting premise, excellent world building, and a superb character in Anna. I didn’t dislike this follow-up, but I was expecting a more exciting read all around. It did answer a lot of the questions I had from the first book and I still enjoyed the characters of Cas, Thomas, and Carmel, but the plot took a while to begin and then wrapped up fairly quickly.
Cas changed from cocky and self-confident to depressed and a bit mopey. It’s an understandable reaction to what happened at the end of Anna, but it drags the book down a bit. He doesn’t really want to interact with the real world anymore, and spends a lot of time alone at his house. His depression and Carmel trying to snap him out of it make up a lot of the beginning of the book. For the first 150 pages or so, I was pretty disappointed. I felt like nothing really happened. Even when Cas begins to have visions of Anna being tortured, the actual action takes a while to begin. Cas and Thomas begin to look for answers, but it feels like they are just running in circles. When they would ask Gideon or Morfran, they would tell them it couldn’t be done… but wait, I guess it can be done…but it shouldn’t be done! This happened over and over until an outside organization sends Cas a suspicious picture. It felt a little deus ex machina, but it got Cas to London and the real story finally began.
I really enjoyed the parts of the story in Europe; this was what I was expecting the entire book to be like. I would have been happy in our trio had been there the whole time. These scenes were well-paced and interesting, and had a pretty creepy part that takes place in the Suicide Forest. We finally meet the enigmatic Gideon and learn much more about the mythology behind the athame Cas uses. I especially liked the new character of Jestine; she was basically Cas’s female counterpart. She was feisty and interesting; I wish that she had been in more than just the back half of this book. I could see her and Cas having a unique relationship if Ms. Blake revisits this world in the future.
The final confrontation seemed a little too easy, but I was satisfied with the way the story ended. I liked that Cas received some closure about his father’s death, but appreciated that it wasn’t turned into a sappy ghostly reunion. My biggest gripe with this book was the lack of Anna. Yes, I know she was trapped in Hell but she is the most complex character in this duology and was barely in this book until the very end. I loved the scenes that she had with Cas in the last quarter of the book. She’s such a tragic but strong character; I wish we had had more time with her when she wasn’t suffering. I didn’t really buy into Cas and Anna’s insta-love, but their scenes together are sweet and being with Anna makes Cas infinitely more interesting. I wasn’t sure where Kendare Blake was going to take a love story between a ghost and a human, but she managed to make it satisfying without being unreasonable.
Even though I wasn’t smitten by this series, it was well-written with likeable characters and a complex mythology. The character of Anna alone makes it worth reading. I plan to watch for future books from Kendare Blake because her prose is quite lovely. Based on the things I did like from this duology, I would recommend it to other readers.
Series Reading Order:
1. Anna Dressed in Blood
2. Girl of Nightmares
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