One thing I completely loved about this second book is how much more of Kitteredge's world we get to see. In The Iron Thorn Aoife shows us Lovecraft and a glimpse at some of the surrounding area. In this book we are treated an in depth view of The Mists. A drab, cold and in between place that is hauntingly beautiful. On top of that, Aoife treks across all manner of new and interesting areas. From a high flying city in the sky, to a quiet shanty town, it was a delight to watch Kitteredge effortlessly craft more of the world I wanted to be lost in.
Making it even easier to get lost in this book, is the fact that all the familiar characters are back. Aoife and her brother interact a lot more here, and I loved the way that they were so different. Dean is back and sweet as ever. I was so excited to find out more about him this time around! My one gripe was Cal. Poor, sweet Cal. In the first story he was such a standby for Aoife, such a best friend. In this one he doesn't really make much of an impact and is kind of just there to be counted among the group. It bugged me that he changed so drastically and Aoife just seemed to push him to the side.
The other thing that nagged at me was the pacing in the book. I understood that it was a slow buildup to what was coming at the end, but it felt bogged down at times. Although I deeply love these characters, the first few chapters were a slight chore for me to get through. I am happy to say though that, once things were off and running, I was in for the long haul! Despite the length of this book, it seemed to fly by once I was fully immersed. If you are a reader who is easily daunted by slow first chapters please keep reading! The Nightmare Garden picks up pace and you'll be breathless by the end.
Speaking of the end, cliffhangers. I am thourougly hooked and baited, waiting for the next installment. Although this isn't my favorite in the series, I'll be honest and say it is still fantastic! The Nightmare Garden sets up some questions that I really want to see answered in the last book. If you enjoyed getting lost in Lovecraft the first time, I can guarantee you'll find even more to love this second time around.