Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake

Publication Date: August 7th, 2012
Tor Teen
Format: Hardcover, 332 pages
RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars
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.

Girl of Nightmares starts off almost where Anna left off. Cas is being plagued by nightmares and visions of his twice-dead girlfriend. He knows it’s a call from the other side that he couldn’t ignore and he would do just about anything for Anna to find her peace.

In this book, we get a bit more into the history of the athame; how it’s connected to the person that wielded it. What we thought was nothing but a ghost detector and ultimately the instrument that can send souls to their destinations turned out to be so much more. It’s a weapon that holds the key to freeing trapped souls – especially those that are being tormented in the after life.

This sequel was just as gory and violent as its predecessor. Though, this one was far more disturbing, I thought. It hurts to see the different ways in which Anna was being tortured in the hands of Obeahman. It’s a recurring nightmare that starts as soon as it ends. The reader can truly understand Cas’ desperation to save her; it’s like a constant ache about a loved one that won’t go away. The world here is a bit more complex, as the author took us into the far reaches of purgatory, aka, Minnesota. I’m kidding. Stow your rotten tomatoes, please.

Here, Ms. Blake introduces Suicide Forest – a place I thought only existed in Japan. This one is in Scotland. And let me tell you, it’s a terrifying, spine-tingling experience reading the scenes as these crazy kids walked through the haunted woods. The author has a way of letting it all play out in a way that was as realistic as though you were there yourself.

The place where Anna ended up was a bit of a horror-fest as well, all thanks to Blake’s fluid prose that was a vivid representation of what I thought hell would be. Heh. I’m Catholic. I’m guilt-ridden and fearful of the Book of Revelations. Sue me.

As usual, Thomas and Carmel contributed to turning Cas a bit more human. They worked hard for him to have a life, futile, though as it were. He’s infinitely determined to save Anna no matter what the cost. Even with droves of people who were against it. But I should mention that I wasn’t happy with the lack of Anna in this book. She’s there like the ghost that she is: a figment of our imagination that haunted Cas with every turn of the page.

VERDICT: What else can I say about these books that hasn’t already been said?  If you’re like me, who continues to hunt the bookstores with a nice horror read, then these two books would just be enough to sate your need. Girl of Nightmares will haunt you with its beautiful writing, unforgettable characters and bone-chilling thrills at every page. Must read.

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