Girl of Nightmares Hardcover – Aug 7 2012
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“At once as eerie and terrible as it is sad and romantic, Anna Dressed in Blood is not your normal ghost story. [...] This captivating story pulls no punches, making for a breathless read that lingers in the imagination long after the last page is turned.” ―NPR on Anna Dressed in Blood
“Abundantly original, marvelously inventive and enormous fun, this can stand alongside the best horror fiction out there. We demand sequels.” ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review on Anna Dressed in Blood
“Anna Dressed in Blood is a dark and intricate tale, with a hero who kills the dead but is half in love with death himself. By the end of the book, you will be too. Spellbinding and romantic.” ―Cassandra Clare, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Mortal Instruments series on Anna Dressed in Blood
“Cinematic and compelling. Blake's smooth combination of gore and romance should have little problem attracting the Twilight crowd.” ―Booklist on Anna Dressed in Blood
“It's the old boy meets girl story, if the boy is a wry, self-destructive ghost-hunter bent on avenging his father and the girl is a homicidal ghost trapped in a house full of everyone she's ever murdered. Needless to say, Cas and Anna are my new favorite twosome. When I got to the last page, I flipped back to the first.” ―Holly Black, New York Times bestselling author of Red Glove on Anna Dressed in Blood
About the Author
KENDARE BLAKE holds an MA in Creative Writing from Middlesex University in northern London. She lives and writes in Lynnwood, Washington.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
**There will be spoilers from the first book, Anna Dressed in Blood, so do not read this review if you haven't already read the first in the series!
This book carries on from where we leave off in Anna Dressed in Blood. It has been approximately six months since Anna has gone to the Other Side with the Obeahman. Theseus Cassio Lowood ("Cas") starts to feel like he is losing his mind because he starts to see Anna everywhere. He believes that she is reaching out to him and that she needs his help. He is determined to find a way bring Anna back. A mysterious envelope arrives with a photo of Gideon and other men in red robes. He recognizes his athame in the photo but is stunned to see five more that look just like it. He discovers that the men are known as the Order of the Biodag Dubh, the ones who made the athame.
Cas and Thomas fly to London to see Gideon to get some answers. They meet Justine, who is being trained to fulfill the Order's destiny. The Order says that Cas and his father did not uphold the Order's legacy because they did not kill the ghosts indiscriminately. Rather, both Cas and his father use the athame only on the evil ghosts. They leave the harmless ones alone. This is not what the Order wants. They want the wielder of the athame to send back all the ghosts, harmless or not.
The Order advises Cas that there is a way to get to the Other Side but that it could cost him his life. He is not concerned with getting back. He only wants to free Anna so that she does not have to spend eternity with the Obeahman.Read more ›
It felt like many elements of this sequel were forced. Like it could have been much shorter and more direct. Like there was too much filler. A little less conversation, a little more action, please.
Plus side: Cas is still a great narrator, and I still really like Carmel and Thomas. Also, there are a few creepy scenes, especially when they are in the UK.
The ending was bittersweet and I think it worked, but overall, I am underwhelmed by this duology.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake takes place a few months after Anna Dressed in Blood ends. We rejoin our favorite trio, Cas, Carmel and Thomas as they try to figure out what Hell Anna has disappeared to at the end of the last book. Cas knows it's not a good place, and sees nightmarish visions of what is happening to Anna. His hunt to find her leads them abroad, and on their journey, they meet new friends, new enemies, and new adventures.
Anna Dressed in Blood was, if not my favorite read of the year, pretty darn close to it. So Girl of Nightmares had a lot to live up to. Just keep in mind as you read this review that I had very high expectations for this book. While still very well written with that same wonderful dark humor and gothic feel, it's not as strong as the first book. The reason I say this is because for most of the book, I am waiting for things to happen, and most of all, waiting for Anna, my favorite character from the last book, to make her grand entrance. Unfortunately, don't expect to see her much in this book. If I had realized that to begin with, I think I might have come away less disappointed.
That said, I still blazed through the book, and I completely love Blake's sense of humor, and I found myself laughing out loud multiple times throughout the book. I love the world she has created, and her female characters still pop with more energy and sass than any other ones I have seen recently. I love the three dimensionality of all the characters. Plus, Anna does get her moment, at last, and I have to say that it was a beautiful reunion.
Blake is super talented, and I know I'll be watching out for her books in the future. This book is still a must read, as it closes the curtain on a story that is properly finished in a worthy climax.
There were great things about this book- the characters feel real and have great-equally charming personalities. There is a dash of mystery and a sort-of questioning motives of each character, which is nice and kept the plot moving, but overall I felt a little underwhelmed after reading ALL the glowing reviews.
I like the pace of the book. There are no, what I like to call, extra or fillers in this book, which is nice. I enjoyed the different settings of the book as well, I mean anytime the characters go on an adventure, usually one of two tings happen: 1- the author spends way too much time talking about how different everything is or the fact that the trees are blooming (seriously some books include this) or 1- the entire purpose of the adventure has no real purpose and is used to bring certain characters together (thinking 'Sweet Evil'). Here, the adventure happens well into the book and is actually vital to the story. It was nice that the author used adventure in her book instead of the adventure ruining the book.
I love Cas. I mean he is such a great male lead. He is kind and all he wants is to save the girl he loves- but not in the overly-done, I cannot life without you, I may perish route. I found that his motives to save Anna are not solely individual, but he has a good reason that extends beyong himself. It was refreshing to have him and I liked his wit, regardless of the f bombs he drops.
So, while I liked the adventure and I love Cas- why does this book not get a 5/5 (which I rarely give BTW), just the overall story did not blow me away. I mean, without giving too much away, I felt that the author could have stepped it up a notch in ALL areas of the tale. At certain points the action seemed rushed and at others it seemed to slow down. We read of Cas's struggles, internal and external, and we see his salvation- but I just figured "thats what I would expect him to do" which is not something I want- I want characters to blow my mind at the end of it and here it just did not happen. There was little romance compared to 'Anna Dressed' which is a bad thing, I think because it was needed. I mean Cas still pines for her and all that, but the relationship between Caramel and Thomas is glazed over and to me it seemed as though she added it just because, there was no real reason to examine their relationship. Bottom line this is a continuation of the love of Cas and Anna, not anyone else. I just wish there was more of them together in the story. Also, if you are going to scary- you better go BIG and it was not really scary for me.
Overall, it was a nice quick read. I would not re-read it though. I am still on the fence as to whether or not I would pass it along. But again, this is not my typical forte, so maybe it is very good in this genre- which is kinda a disappointment.
Six months after the ghost of Anna Korlov saved Cas and his friends by opening a door to Hell and dragging herself and the deadly Obeahman into it, Cas just can't seem to let her go. Despite Thomas and Carmel's efforts to get him to join the world of the living, Cas's heart remains with the dead. And when he starts to see and hear Anna, both in his nightmares and when he's awake, Cas knows something is wrong. Anna seems tortured and in pain and Cas is afraid her spirit didn't end up where it should have. Cas's desperate search for a way to help Anna takes him and his friends on a dangerous journey across the ocean where a mysterious Order, old and new friends and maybe even Hell await them.
The story of ghost-hunting, athame weidling Cas Lowood and the fiery, captivating ghost-girl he loves, returns with a bang, punch and kick. All of Kendare Blake's razor sharp, smart writing; mastery of chills and thrills; superb world-building and character development and enthralling imagination from the first book seamlessly continue in this sequel. Girl of Nightmares easily matches its predecessor when it comes to addicting storytelling, yet this sequel has a very different feel and vibe from Anna Dressed in Blood...which, isn't a bad thing.
In the first book, the scares and chills were very much in your face in a deliciously exciting and thrilling way, whereas, in this book the creepiness and spine-tinglingness is more subtle. Instead of expecting a OMG-squealing-like-a-little-girl moment to pop up on every page, the chilling and frightening essence in this book seems to linger in the shadows, around the corners and underneath every line. Instead of grabbing you by the heart or throat, the quiet, creeping air of this story, which feels very much like its own substational, corporeal thing or character, seems to sneakily wrap itself around you and, by the time you notice it's there, it already has you completely...which, I think is far scarier of the two.
Blake takes readers and her characters deeper into the world between the living and dead and does so with such hauntingly beautiful and darkly enchanting imagery. But Blake also proves to be a master of creating emotional and psychological complexities as well. Cas's journey in this book is as much an emotional one as it is a supernaturally thrilling and scary one.
Cas continues to be one of my favorite male protags ever; he grows and develops so much in this book. I love how layered and real Cas feels. Blake does a wonderful job of balancing his strength with his vulnerability. This is a hero that continues to be irresistibly likable, relatable and easy to root for. Thomas and Carmel make the perfect sidekicks and friends for Cas. I love how well this trio meshes and works together, even though they're all so very different. A new character joins the trio in this book- Jestine. Jestine is such a dynamic, fun girl. I love her feistiness, humor and easy going attitude, but I also found her unpredictability intriguing. She really kept me and Cas on our toes.
And of course, there's Anna. Anna Korlov. Anna Dressed in Blood. Anna in Hell. Anna isn't as front and center in this book as she was in the first one, but that doesn't mean her presence isn't always felt. It definitely is. We see a different side of Anna in this book, a more vulnerable and slightly timid side, making her that much more dimensional and complex. Like Cas, I too, have fallen completely in love with the spellbinding and beautiful Anna. I love how much I love this ghost-girl!
The last few chapters had me quickly turning pages in the wee hours of the night with a racing heart and wide eyes, unable to put the book down until the very end. And that ending?! So sad, so hopeful, so unexpected, so so so good.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS: Girl of Nightmares is a reader's dream come true: an addicting, enticing, superbly written and developed book, with a story to die for! Fans of Anna Dressed in Blood will not be disappointed by this sequel. An absolute MUST read sequel in a MUST read series!
Do you hear that? That's the sound of me eating my words. Girl of Nightmares truly surprised me. I'll be honest and say I wasn't expecting to love or even like it because originally Anna Dressed in Blood and I didn't get along. While everyone else ran around screaming high praises for it, I was left on the side lines. And I hate being on the sides lines. No matter how much I tried to love Anna Dressed in Blood I couldn't. It had too many open ends and I'm of the belief that even when you are reading a series each book must stand on its own merit. So I was disappointed, but I also wanted to give the second book a try because regardless of my initial reservations, it wasn't a bad book. And after that fun interview we did, I was convinced to try again. So imagine my delight when I started reading Girl of Nightmares and discovered how much I was enjoying it. When I finished I felt like I had been on one epic ghost-busting adventure. And it was awesome.
Girl of Nightmares takes place six months after the events in Anna Dressed in Blood with Cas attempting to get on with his life without Anna. Unfortunately, that's not going so well for him since he continues to witness Anna being tortured in his sleep and while he is awake. I'm not going to go off and describe the blurb for you, but I will say Cas gets to the bottom of EVERYTHING in Girl of Nightmares.
Everything that I complained about in Anna Dressed in Blood were addressed in Girl of Nightmares. The plot is solid with no inconsistencies that I could see. In fact, I really loved the plot because there wasn't a dull moment. That partly has something to do with there being a lot of loose ends to cover: the mystery surrounding the athame, where Anna went, Cas' background, ect. Despite there being so many issues needing to be addressed, I never once felt like Blake info dumped or rushed through explanations. It was all very smooth and engaging. I didn't want to put my book down, but well, I have kids, so it was unavoidable. And that made me cranky. Also, this book was creepy! Do yourself a big favor and do NOT read the "Suicide Forest" scene late at night. *shudders*
Don't ask, just obey...
The characters have seen a considerable amount of character development, most notably being both Cas and Carmel. Cas is no longer the cocky little prick who all girls fawn over like he's God's gift to womenkind. In Girl of Nightmares he is a broken character struggling to let go of Anna. He obsesses over it constantly to the point where it interferes with his ability to ghost hunt. This was a Cas I could easily sympathize with and I wanted him to find a way for both Anna and him to be happy. As for Carmel... I can't really say much without giving away huge spoilers, but she was a badass. You will love her.
The best part of Girl of Nightmares was the hilarious dialogue. These characters feel so real to me because Blake has sat down and given them so much personality. Laughing is pretty much a given when reading Girl of Nightmares. You can't get around it. But that's okay because you want the humor when you in the midst of being scared shitless.
The ending was perfect. I can't say anything about it because I refuse to ruin the book for anyone, but I think fans will be very happy and satisfied. Or not. Who's to say? Lol.
But I would like to share with you a piece of wisdom. After finishing Girl of Nightmares I happened to learn one big lesson:
Reading this book in the second floor hallway right above the stairs at night, while my entire household was sleeping soundly, wasn't one of my best ideas. Learn from me.
This ARC was generously given to Kat and I by Kendare Blake. This in no way swayed my views of the book. In fact, I think she was expecting me to dislike it, but she'll just have to settle for my glowing review.
More reviews and other fantastical things at Cudlebuggery Book Blog.
He did seem a bit stilted reading, sometimes, however. And every once in a while I wasn't able to tell if he was reading something that was in Cas' head or if it was something that was said out loud. Maybe that's just because I am still getting used to audiobooks (I had shunned them for the longest time) though. Still, overall good reading.
Actual Story - This book was a bit harder for me to get through than I had originally anticipated. To start off, I hadn't been expecting a follow up book. 'Anna Dressed in Blood' didn't end perfectly, but I was actually ok with it. When word of 'Girl of Nightmares' came out, and especially after seeing the amazing cover, I was super excited for it. Finally we would get a chance to get to know Anna better.
No such luck. Most of the time is spent with Cas searching for a way to get to Anna. I think it's noble that he wants to save her from a life of torment, especially after she had saved all of them, but I didn't understand his attraction for her. I was hoping that getting to know her better would reveal that, but it didn't happen.
Don't get me wrong, Ms. Blake has created an interesting segment of the ghost hunting world with the athame and everything, but even though a considerable amount of time in the book was spent discovering that world, it wasn't enough for me. Maybe I'm just too used to sweeping epic fantasies and am unjustly applying that standard to this one, but all the same, it was interesting and I wanted more but didn't get it.
As with the first book, this is for mature audiences. Still in the YA category, but certainly the swearing and gore put it pretty high. I will say this though, the gore wasn't overly done. This is a ghost book after all, so there had to be some, but I didn't feel that it was overly focused on or anything, which was nice. Set the tone, but didn't progress past that.
Two final points are that the story kind of dragged for me and Cas didn't man up nearly as much as I expected him to, he just kind of stubbornly insisted on doing things the hard way.
For all that though, I'm glad that I read the book, if only to find out what happens (nothing earth shattering, but it does have more closure than the first book).
NOTE: a complimentary file was provided by AudioGo for an honest review