Review: Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake

12507214Title: Girl of Nightmares

Author: Kendare Blake

Publishing Information: August 7, 2012, Tor Teens

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Horro

Series information: Book two in the Anna series

Format: Hardcover, 332 pages

Source: Borrowed from my local library

Recommended For: Fans of horror, romance, dark humor and well developed characters

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

“She crossed over death to call me. I crossed through Hell to find her.”

Girl of Nightmares scared (I used the term loosely) me more than Anna Dressed in Blood and I was both happy and disappointed by this fact. In Anna Dressed in Blood, Anna was thought to be the villain, she was a murderess and creepy as Hell. As the story progressed we learned her background and why her story was so sad and in turn we realized the real villain(s) of the novel. Girl of Nightmares is vastly different. There is much history presented on Cas and his family and I was really interested to find out his background, it really made for a nice companion to book one where we learned more about Anna. However, due to the focus on Cas, we didn’t hear much from Anna and when we did she was being harmed and though she was definitely the same, strong Anna from book one in that she was no damsel in distress, she was also a little more like a teenager in love and I missed her intensity. As I mentioned, this book did scare me properly, there was a fantastic part in the novel in which Cas, Thomas and Carmel are walking through a “suicide forest” and honestly readers, I had to put the book down for a bit because I was too afraid of something lurking over my shoulder, there really aren’t many books that manage to creep me out to that extreme.

Like book one, Kendare Blake weaved together an intricate and beautiful storyline that held me captivated from page one. I especially loved how included the secondary characters were in the story, Thomas and Carmel are perfect characters to balance out Cas, they all work together in a glorious way. Blake’s characters were layered and interesting enough that made me care about their feelings and actions, while some of them made me question their motives and made me want to keep my eye on them, metaphorically speaking of course.

A review for a second book in a series is always tough to do. You don’t want to spoil anything for your readers who have yet to read the first, and you are inevitably comparing the two works and how they work in tandem instead of appreciating them without bias as unique pieces of literature. Thus is the case with Girl of Nightmares. While reading the book I was entranced, intrigued, and even a little scared. I went into the story knowing that this was a two book deal and I have to say that they were perfectly matched companions to one another.  I was particularly fond of the ending of this novel, the story progressed beautifully and the ending gave me what I wanted and needed from the characters without being too neatly tied up. In other words, it didn’t feel rushed or forced but it was believable and made me content as a reader.

Overall Girl of Nightmares was a successful conclusion to the series. There aren’t many authors who can maintain such impeccable balance between dark humor and serious undertones in a novel. Girl of Nightmares was both scary and endearing, a perfect October read.

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