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.
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
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 ;]
I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed Girl of Nightmares. I was kind of on the edge with a lot of Anna Dressed in Blood, but it felt as if all my problems with it were answered in Girl of Nightmares.
The first half of the book was….bleh. There were a bunch of things that annoyed me and I was certain that I would like it less than the first.
My Problems with the first half of the book:
1. Cas was annoying and wimpy. He was acting as if he had been in love with Anna forever before she was taken by the Obheaman, instead of having their first kiss shortly before that. He even called her his girlfriend. Apparently a couple kisses means girlfriend. Duh….
2. There were some really weird phrases that the author used that didn’t really make sense. Like, “…and the sun is livening the leaves” and “…Aunt Riika lives in the middle of bumble-*uck nowhere.” The first one is just confusing and the second sounds….well just stupid.
3. It was written as if there was a solution. Even when they had no clue how to go about saving Anna and they questioned whether it was possible it was still always assumed that they would find a way. Never considering the fact that it might be impossible or what not. I guess it was just written like a book, books have to be resolved. Life sometimes isn’t resolved. I think it would have been better if it had been written like life instead of a book.
However. And this however changed my rating for the book completely. It’s incredible how much it changed. Incredible. And it all stems from this….
1. Carmel leaving their little ghost hunting group.
2. Cas and Thomas going to London.
3. Jestine’s entrance.
4. Carmel’s return.
And from there things take a complete turn around and I am left terrified and delighted! I loved the added intrigue of the Order which answered so many question from the first book and showed that Cas didn’t know everything like he thought he did. Suicide Forest….yeah. That atmosphere I was missing in Anna Dressed in Blood. It showed up here and then never left. Plus Cas was afraid which made me terrified.
It was like in Sherlock “Hounds of Baskerville”, when Sherlock believed that there was some kind of monster and started getting scared it made me about a trillion times more terrified because Sherlock doesn’t get scared. It’s just not in him. That’s the way it was when Cas got scared.
Then, as if Blake decided that she needed to make the book even more awesome Cas and Co. arrive at the Order’s…compound thing. And yeah, it is creepy and cult like and Cas is weirded out, but that’s not the awesome part. Instead, the awesome part arrives when Cas finally enters into the Obheaman’s….home or whatever, Hell is what they kept calling it. And that atmosphere I was missing in ADiB comes and hits me in the face and says, “You were looking for me?” And I was in love with the book.
Things that made the second half of this book awesome:
1. Jestine….ahhhh Jestine. How I adore your character and your awesomeness. You are like a breath of fresh annoying air. I am eager to see more of you and your awesomeness as you prove yourself cooler than Cas over and over.
2. As I said before it was terrifying. And I loved loved loved it! I read the part about Suicide Forest at night. Bad idea.
3. The romaaaaaaaance!!!!!!
SPOILER!!! Ha! It was perfect, everything I could have asked for, I loved that Cas and Anna didn’t end up together. It wouldn’t have worked, it bugged me through the whole story. Besides I want him and Jestine together. And I loved how he saved her, loved her and let her go. And how that was perfectly set up by Carmel’s choice with Thomas. Though she did go back on it, but that worked for them and this works for Cas.
4. Carmel. She is just awesome in the second half of this book. The girls are totally kicking it in the latter half of the book. Cas and Thomas don’t stand a chance.
5. Hobbits were mentioned.
And one last thing to sum everything up, it was hilarious all the way through. Cas (And everyone and everything else) was annoying in the beginning and in the middle everyone and everything became awesome and I love it. Also, his mom needs to get a new cat.
Soundtrack: She Cries Your Name by Beth Orton: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zk0fxiGrxI8
Characters, especially the girl characters
The latter half of the book and the end