Girl of Nightmares (Anna #2)

Girl of Nightmares (Anna #2)

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Girl of Nightmares (Anna #2)
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Age Range
14+
Release Date
August 07, 2012
ISBN
978-0765328663
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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.

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A Slightly Less Scary but No Less Interesting Conclusion

The ending of Anna Dressed in Blood meant that the sequel could really go either way for me, depending on how Blake resolved things. Because she’s awesome, I liked Girl of Nightmares just as well as Anna Dressed in Blood, though for slightly different reasons. The books are a bit different in some ways, but I think both quite good. I don’t know if this sequel was entirely necessary, but it’s good enough that that doesn’t really matter much. Girl of Nightmares probably won’t give you nightmares, but it might keep you up late reading.


Kendare Blake’s Anna duology is one of the rare times in paranormal where I think the romance is just what it should be. Most authors would come up with some magical ending, pull the HEA out of the hellmouth. I like that things aren’t that simple in Girl of Nightmares. The ending’s satisfying but it’s not perfect or magical. It’s realistic, so far as a story about going to find a ghost in hell can be. Romance is Cas’ driving force in Girl of Nightmares, but it’s not the driving force of the series.

Speaking of romance, I really appreciate Carmel’s character in a whole lot of ways. I didn’t really talk about her in book one because I wanted to finish out her character arc. She’s this perfect, popular girl on the surface. She could so easily have been a stereotypical queen bee. Instead, shes’ a loyal friend and a fiend with a bat. For the terrible circumstances she winds up in with Cas and Thomas, she hardly complains and she helps save the day a lot, despite being basically the only non-magical person to matter in the series. In no way is she ever the damsel in distress. I also LOVE that she was not in the book to be a love interest for Cas and that she goes for the less obvious guy.

If what you loved best about Anna Dressed in Blood was the scary ghost stuff, then Girl of Nightmares will probably be a bit of a let down. There are a few scary ghosts scenes, but it’s not nearly so gory or consistent. The plot’s a bit more meandering, with Thomas heading on a journey to figure out how to rescue Anna from hell. The plot works in the long run, I think, but in the middle it does feel as though it hits doldrums.

The characterization could still be better in the series, however. I still don’t really have any sense of who Cas is at all. He’s not quite flat, but he’s definitely not real. Blake excels at setting and horror, but the characters are not there yet. Of course, these are her first two published books, so I’m sure she’ll grow better at this as time goes by. Despite being a character-focused reader, there was enough to love in both of these books to keep me interested without the emotional connection.

Ultimately, what I love about this series ender is that Kendare Blake dared to go with a less traditional ending. The Anna series is good for horror fans, quick and fun.

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(Updated: July 06, 2012)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
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5.0
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5.0
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5.0

A Creepy good read

I loved ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD. The premise of a boy that kills the dead is an unique twist on the whole I-see-the-dead premise which has gotten kind of stale. No, Kendare Blake breathes new life into this paranormal tale. Think Carrie meets Supernatural. This is one creepy tale that keep you at the edge of your seat.

I was lucky enough to go to ALA in Anaheim and get a signed copy of the sequel GIRL OF NIGHTMARES. Let's just say the wait in the long line was so worth it.

In GIRL OF NIGHTMARES, Cas keeps seeing Anna and fears she's in hell. Sure, she's the local urban legend that makes Bloody Mary seem tame but at the end of the first book she saves Cas's life. Cas also has fallen in love with this dead girl and wants to save her.

His friends, though they support him on his ventures to kill the dead, don't get his fascination and drive to save Anna. Even his own mother tells him to leave it alone.

Only Cas can't. Anna's image appears everywhere, haunting him until Cas can't take it anymore. He goes against the advice of everyone and seeks help to get Anna freed. Even when this means he might die too.


Cas ends up going to London to confront Gideon, his father's mentor, on the truth of the blade he uses to drive the dead back. While there he meets the Order, a secret organization, that is chilling as well as creepy. When Cas is wounded, the doctor eyes the blood like the Holy Grail.

One of my favorite scenes had to be suicide forest where people go to commit suicide. But the author doesn't leave it at that. No, this is a test that Cas has to win in order for the Order to accept him. Also there is a new girl, Jestine, who the Order has groomed to take over Cas's responsibilities.

This paranormal story casts it's own magic spell on the reader with it's creepiness that is haunting. Anna isn't the stereotypical dark demon but rather a misunderstood girl who met a horrific end. Cas struggles with his feelings he has for his job of killing the dead to his love for a dead girl.

The twists and turns in this story keep you turning the pages. The first sentence along is enough to suck you in:

...I think I killed a girl who looked like this once...

The rest of the story pulls you in with the vivid descriptions of the dead to the place where Ana is trapped. I wanted to read more!

This is a total must read for horror fans.

Good Points
1. Love the unique twist of the whole I-see-dead-people premise
2. Twists and turns throughout
3. Think Carrie meets Supernatural
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Overall rating 
 
3.0
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Disappointed.

I honestly wasn't expecting a book 2.
Book one ended so well, I was caught off guard by book two.
But that didn't stop me from finishing it quickly.
I was expecting more from this book.
It seemed dodgy and seemed to drag by at a slow pace.
When the action did come up, it was a fight scene at the end and it ended to soon.
I feel like a lot was missing from this book.
I mean, I'm glad to know what happened to Anna, yet I'm not because now it just seems worse?

The bond between Anna and Cas was strong and beautiful.
Even a little creepy I suppose...

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1.7
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2.0
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2.0

Very poorly written

Anna Dressed in Blood was extremely good but this sequel is very disappointing. Anna barely has dialogue for 10 pages in the book. Most of the book is spent on a pointless quest to bring Anna out of Hell.

There's some lame sub-plot about the Order of the Black Dagger but that's hastily concluded at the end of the book. After bringing Anna out of Hell, the author chose to have Cas suddenly become selfless and release Anna into heaven, even though he knows that the manifestations in there, even that of himself aren't real. This was really predictable. This means that the whole book was about a quest from which Cas would return empty-handed.

I feel the novel would have been stronger if the author had made this a trilogy. The plots were concluded too hastily. You can even see unresolved plot lines. Cas should have brought Anna back into the world, only to realize their selfishness later in the third novel. That would have been more realistic and made a better read.

We often read novels that have characters doing the morally correct thing all the time. This novel would have been stronger if Cas had brought Anna back and faced the consequences of this decision later on. That would have made it stand out from similar novels.

Cas making the decision for Anna was out of character. She barely had dialogue in the book and it would have been interesting to hear what she had to say about moving on.

There was no gore at all in this book unlike in the first book. No new ghostly villains. This book lacked villains. The tone of this book felt very different from that of the first book. I felt kind of sad because the author had a good idea and she just wasted it with this sequel. This book might as well have been called "History of the Athame" because there was so much more backstory given to the athame than to Anna of any of the characters.

The story was really weak. I thought there was a serious danger in Cas and the others contacting Anna when she said they might be overheard. In the end, there was nothing scary and the final battle was an anti-climax.

The new character, Jestine was not significant to the main characters and did not bond with them even at the ending. Yet she received more dialogue than Anna who is the titular character of the series.

You'll be happier reading only the first book and making your own fanfiction about a sequel. I wish I had stopped at the first book.

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2.7
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4.0

Nothing like the debut novel

What the hell was that ending? I had to read 170-180 bloody boring pages until there was an improvement with the story only to be stopped again because, surprise, surprise, nothing happened for the next hundred pages. It was all about waiting, sleeping, eating, washing dishes, that sort of things. Basically, the final confrontation with that dreadlock-wearing demon happened in the last 20 pages. And the ending was so abrupt. Stab-stab-kill-kill and poof... the end.

What a disappointment. Wish there is just Anna Dressed in Blood. I will erase this one from my memory. It won't be that hard.

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Overall rating 
 
4.3
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5.0

Aww...

Not as good as the first one.

Good Points
Wow, just wow. Loved it!!!! Loved the fact that both Cas and Anna are finally in peace with their lives. Still iffy about Jestine, loved Carmel and Thomas' relationship. Really liked the sequel, although kind of bummed Anna didn't play a bigger part in the book.
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4.7
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5.0
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Girl of Nightmares

It’s over? So soon? Already? Nooooo! I want more Anna! I want more Anna and Cas!

No? Okay. =(

Anyways, I ate this book up yesterday and oh-my-bloody-heart-and-soul, what an amazing treat it was. Tormenting, exciting and downright adrenaline pumping. I could almost feel as if I was a part of everything that was happening to Cas and Anna. Also, the surprises at the end were so good.

It could have been a teensy bit shorter, the pace a bit faster but I’m willing to look over that because the plot was as good as of Anna Dressed In Blood. A sequel that actually was at par with the first book, you don’t get that too often.

Read these books if you haven’t! Dead girl stories don’t get any better than this. I’ll be re-reading this soon.

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Girl of Nightmares

Hope a third book can come.

Good Points
So Happy Cas finds Anna, but his Dad is were she is too. He saves Both plus all the spirits he has ended with the athame. Jestine is an awesome character, and a team player.
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Overall rating 
 
3.0
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3.0
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3.0
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3.0

Not quite as good as the first book

I hate to say it, but I’m going to say it: I find the Anna duology to be highly overhyped. I enjoyed Girl of Nightmares in the beginning, but it was a steady downhill ride from about the halfway point. Is this a bad book? Nope, not at all. But is it outstanding, memorable, or in possession of some quality that knocked my socks off? Certainly not.

As with Anna Dressed in Blood, I found that Kendare Blake’s plot construction was sloppy at best. Once again, this novel tried to balance the mystery surrounding Cas’s ghost-killing knife with his relationship with Anna. And once again, that balance was not found. For an entire section in the middle there was absolutely no mention of Anna at all, because instead Cas and his gang were running around England trying to do something with some Order of Ghostkillers or whatever. It seems a little silly to have a book (or series) named after a person if that person is hardly a major player in that book.
Girl of Nightmares was also not scary at all. I don’t understand what I was supposed to find so terrifying about this novel. The paranormal elements were very well done, and Blake’s descriptions were vivid. But this isn’t really a “horror” novel, in my opinion.

So anyway. The beginning of this novel was actually really good, and it was set up to be better than Anna Dressed in Blood. The main focus had to do with Cas getting Anna out of hell, with the help of his sidekicks Carmel and Thomas. I enjoyed the voodoo people he met with and the rituals he performed. But then, after the first ten chapters, things got really melodramatic, and I was annoyed. Blake took things was over the top. From there, Cas ran off to London to meet with his godfather, and Anna was all but forgotten. Of course, she came back at the end, but the sickly sweet ending felt like a cop-out to me. Not that this book could have ended differently, but the treatment of said ending was a little lame.

In my opinion, Girl of Nightmares is a great example of great potential gone south. Don’t get me wrong: this is a decent book already, but in some respects, it kind of resembled a train wreck. Maybe it’s because I’m not an easily scared kind of person, but it feels to me like Blake was relying on the “horror” factor of her novel to mask the clunkiness of her plot.
So altogether, I liked this book on a large scale, but didn’t care for it in many respects. Good but not great, is my verdict.

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Overall rating 
 
4.3
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4.0
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4.0
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5.0

Not as good as the first, but still a great read

Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
ARC received by Tor Teen via ALA
Release Date: On Shelves Now
Reviewed by: Middle Sis Jenn
The Sisters Say: A gritty tale of ghosts and gore.
“This place is the thing behind madness. There is nothing good here. Off the map. If you eat frustration it chokes you. This place exists in the wake of a scream.” ARC, pg. 286

Grotesque and gorgeous, Kendare’s writing will drag you, kicking and screaming, into a world of ghouls and goblins; a world where evil lurks inside the shadows and death is only the beginning. She will plunge you head first into her hell, and if you make your way out, there will be blood on your hands. Kendare knows horror, and she doesn’t hold back—so prepare yourself for the ride of your life.
If you’ve read my review of Anna, then you know that I don’t do horror stories. Nope. Never. You can paint a sign that says “Big wuss,” and point it at me, and I won’t take offense. Because it’s the truth! But, I took a chance on Anna, and I am so glad I did. I loved her story, from the first meeting in the Victorian house all the way to hell. Anna, in all her splendid gore, swept me away. So, naturally, I went straight for the sequel, and I’m so glad I did!

While I didn’t like it as much as the first book (and I’ll explain why later), I still found myself loving this world. I love how the world of the living and the world of the dead coexist side by side, like spoons in a drawer. You can’t touch one without disturbing the other. Cas understands this, but he is still willing to go to hell and back to save Anna. And that is why I love him so much!

In GoN, you can see bits and pieces of Cas start to flake away as he falls deeper into despair over Anna. He keeps seeing horrible visions of her, and all he wants to do is save her, like she saved him. But, in order to do that, he must put the lives of himself and his friends in the crosshairs. Cas is such a great hero, and I loved going on this quest with him.

And of course, you couldn’t have a great story without the Scooby gang—Thomas and Carmel. We see Thomas break out of his mold in this book, coming to grips with his power, and learning to harness it for good. Yet, he was still the same bashful, quirky guy that is such great comic relief. I will admit, I got frustrated at times with Carmel in this book because I felt she was being selfish. Now I completely understand her decisions, but I felt like she flaked when she should have been stronger.

Kendare’s writing was brilliant. There were no loose ends, and no times when I felt like something was off. Once I entered her world, I was caught up in it, and I could not put the book down. I just had to know how it all ended! I love Kendare’s writing style—I’ll call it grotesque poetry. She knows exactly when the story needs a splash of blood and exactly when it needs a sympathetic word. Have you ever read a quote and felt the need to close your eyes and just think on it because it was just so great? I found myself doing that quite often (ex 1: the quote I started the review with). I’ll say it again, her writing style is brilliant. BRILLIANT!

Okay…so, why did I like the first book better? One word: Anna. This was the first series where my favorite character was the girl mc. Usually, I love the guy and focus on him. But, with this book, Anna was the star, and I was disappointed that she didn’t play a bigger role in this novel. I wanted more scenes with her—even if they were gory because she made the passion and the fear and the danger come to life.

I also had a slight disappointment with the ending. It was a good ending, and I understanding why it had to end that way, but a part of me wanted something different. I won’t tell you anything more; you’ll have to read for yourself!

So, I’ll leave you with a few more of my favorite quotes from the book:
“’We don’t have a choice,’ Thomas says. ‘The clock ticks. Caution’s become a luxury.” Pg 218

“But even now I feel the lake over my shoulder, sitting still and sinister as the yawning jaws of a trap. I must prefer Superior, with her waves and rages. She doesn’t keep her violence a secret.” Pg 219

“She crossed over death to call me. I crossed through Hell to find her.” Pg 326

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Overall rating 
 
3.3
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3.0
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3.0
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4.0

Not quite what I was hoping for...but still a good sequel.

This is going to be a really tough review to write, since I all but flipped out praising Kendare Blake's first book, Anna Dressed in Blood. I was so very excited to see what happened to Anna and Cas after the cliffhanger that Blake left for us in the last book. As soon as I was able to get my hands on a copy of Girl of Nightmares I did! I was eager for more of the stuff of nightmares that drew me in the first time around.

What I found though was a much different book. Anna and Cas are both back. However this time they're so different, and I'll admit that it threw me off a bit. If you'll remember from my review of the first book, I loved Cas' cocky demeanor and lone wolf attitude. What can I say? I'm a sucker for boys like that. The Cas that comes through in this book is a much more lonely and sad boy. Broken, sad, a little like a lonely puppy. Where was my Cas? In the same respect, Anna was there, but also not. I can't explain without spoiling, but I missed her so much.

After a few chapters I finally got used to Cas' new attitude, and was okay with it. Blake does a great job of showing his deep need to find Anna. So I kept reading on, hoping for some scary scenes to keep me up and night and sadly nothing happened. Seriously. There are multiple chapters where nothing exciting happens at all. Now, yes, I understand why. Kendare Blake spends a lot of this book explaining the history behind Cas' athame. She also introduces a new threat in the form of a sinister society with tons of secrets. However without the visceral imagery, the haunting happenings, and the Anna/Cas interaction, I found myself bored. It made for a slow read.

It's actually not surprising to me that I didn't love Girl of Nightmares as much as Blake's first book. I loved Cas as a ghost busting bad-ass. I adored Anna as a vicious yet gorgeous apparition. Everything that I loved about Anna Dressed in Blood was missing here. I applaud the character development, and can't deny that I enjoyed learning about the athame's past. Still, this wasn't my favorite sequel. This is worth a read for closure alone though, especially if you were waiting as eagerly as I was.

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Overall rating 
 
4.3
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4.0
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5.0

Girl of Nightmares (A Room with Books review)

It’s a pretty well-known fact that the sequel can never be as good as the first, but every once in a while, a book or movie comes along that defies all logic and does just that. Girl of Nightmares was one of those books for me. I liked Anna Dressed in Blood well enough, but it didn’t turn out to be a favorite. Girl of Nightmares, on the other hand, was utterly fantastic.

I found Anna to be scary in the “oh, I’m glad I live in the city instead of the middle of nowhere” kind of way whereas Girl of Nightmares had some parts that were more like “pardon me while I turn on every light in the house.” For those who’ve read it, are you with me on the forest part? I read it in the middle of the night and it gave me a serious case of the willies!

Cas is still Cas, for sure. He’s all about “I’ll do what I want, when I want, how I want” but he also cares deeply for his friends and family. He may not be my favorite character of all time, but I can definitely respect that.
I still quite liked Thomas as well. He’s usually scared out of his pants by the things they deal with, but he still manages to keep his head and help out Carmel and Cas.
Carmel’s the character that throws me through a loop. I can be thinking “that’s it; I do not like this girl” one minute and the next she completely changes my mind by doing something awesome like beating up ghosts with a stick or telling Mr. High and Mighty to shove it.

I liked the story a whole lot better in Girl of Nightmares as well. It was just kind of meh like the first one for me until about halfway through. I was enjoying it, but it wasn’t anything to make shout to the rooftops about, but then it started getting really good and I was completely invested, flipping pages to find out what would happen to Cas and Anna.
The Nutshell: Girl of Nightmares is a fantastic sequel to Anna Dressed in Blood. I actually enjoyed it more than the first book. If you want to find out what happens to Anna and Cas next, then you should definitely read this one. If you want to be scared out of your wits then this is definitely your book ;]

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