Girl of Nightmares (Anna, #2) by Kendare Blake
Author: Kendare Blake
Publication Date: August 7, 2012
Publisher: Tor Teen
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal
Source: Bought it
Description from Goodreads:
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.
When I read the first book Anna Dressed in Blood, I compared it to Supernatural. Especially with the ending where Anna goes to Hell and Cas desperately wants to know what became of her. I was afraid Blake was going to keep beating the dead horse with a stick exactly like Supernatural and the two of them would be trapped in a never ending loop of sacrifice. I'm glad to say that this ISN'T the case with Girl of Nightmares!
I love these cover so much. The gorgeously rendered Anna is set in a smoldering hell with tortured souls grasping at her. She has this look that lures you into the pages of her story.
It's been months after Anna's sacrifice, Cas has decided to stay in Thunder Bay, Ontario and live a semi-normal life. As normal as it gets when you hunt ghosts on the side with your mini-ghost buster club of friends: Thomas the psychic witch and Carmel the pretty and popular sidekick. What should have been a routine hunt for them, a simple lure and stab quickly dissolves into a dire situation when Anna suddenly shows up looking tortured and desperate. Anna keeps appearing, but to Cas only and his nightmares of her agony start to bleed into reality as his friends worry he's losing his mind. Cas has been hunting for answers since that night, but he pursues it ferociously now that he's seen Anna again.
Cas in the beginning is a hollow shell of the hunter he once was. The obsession and puzzle that is Anna has completely consumed him. It's made him a bit more reckless and it nearly costs him his friends. The way Blake executes the scenes with Anna pulls the reader into the love that Cas has for Anna as well as the debt he feels that needs to be paid - and a hunter always pays his debts. He has a dogged determination to figure things out, that hasn't changed and he starts regaining his confidence when a more concrete plan develops. At the end I was back to cheering for our headstrong Cas!
Thomas has grown so much over his time with Cas. He still has moments where he's a bit shy and quiet, but he's a bit more inclined to forge is own path now and he isn't going to take crap from people anymore. His loyalty to Cas was awe inspiring, he's the kind of unwavering friend that anyone would want by their side to the bitter end. Carmel will always be that character that completely surprises me. Just when I think I've gotten her figured out and I'm disappointed in her she comes back with an ass kicking vengeance!
I found that the beginning of Girl of Nightmares was a bit slow. It builds up Anna's situation interspersed with some action packed ghost hunts. It also takes a deeper look into the history of the athame. It's a knife full of secrets and those who would kill for the athame. But when all the pieces are in place in the last half of the story, Blake doesn't give you a moment's rest until Cas' blood debt is paid!
Blake always creates amazing creepy scenes, but she might have outdone herself this time with a certain forest at the end. I won't tell you what happens, but if you've ever seen the new Dr. Who episodes where they feature the Weeping Angels you'll know how terrifying it can get.
The ending was absolutely perfect, we get closure and the major strings are tied up. It's left a bit open ended so that Blake could come back to it in a whole new way if she wanted, but for now it's definitely enough.
Overall: 5/5 Steaming HOT Cups of Tea!
It started out as a 4/5 - I liked it well enough, but the ending just blew everything I thought I knew out of the water!