GIRL OF NIGHTMARES (Anna #2)
Paranormal Young Adult
Received from publisher for review
THE STORY (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.
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
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.
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.
Girl of Nightmares is tasked with the rather difficult challenge of trying to live up to its predecessor, a story that introduced us to a terrifyingly vengeful ghost who managed to elicit sympathy from us as easily as she instilled fear. While this second book doesn’t quite fully rise to that challenge, there’s no doubt Ms. Blake is a gifted storyteller, taking us on a dark journey to save a young woman from a fate someone with an outsider's perspective might say she deserved based on her past actions and her body count. We as readers are not those outsiders however, and we will Cas to dedicate his every waking moment to finding a way to help a villainous victim who’s equal parts grotesque and charming, and all the more fascinating for her contradictory nature.
Book one was ripe with tension, the threat Anna posed to Cas feeling as real to us as if it were playing out before our eyes instead of simply in our minds, her ability to morph into a red-splattered spectre capable of rending those who trespassed in two with her bare hands ensuring our eyes remained glued to the pages without the slightest inclination to look away. With Girl of Nightmares however, some of that tension is noticeably missing, largely due to the fact that Anna herself is absent for nearly three quarters of the book, the captivating paradox she presented replaced with a melancholy sense of waiting as Cas, Thomas, and Carmel struggle to understand what’s become of her. Without Anna, our link to Cas feels incomplete, the impossibility of their connection something that constantly fed our sense of wonder and enthusiasm for their story as a whole, and while we still enjoy our time spent in Cas’s world, the threads connecting us to it are frayed and left in Anna-shaped tatters.
Though the beginning and middle of Girl of Nightmares feel a bit slow, the weight of Anna’s fate seeming to wrap around our ankles with phantom fingers to restrict our movements and halt our progress, the ending is as action-packed as they come with Cas getting a second chance to avenge those he loves. Ms. Blake leaves us with a fitting end in terms of a relationship between a living person and a ghost, giving us a sense of closure even if the romantic in us might be wishing for a few more rays of sunshine and some roses. Overall, this sequel has a difficult time emerging from the epic shadow cast by Anna Dressed in Blood, but Ms. Blake is an author whose books I will always look forward to reading.