Saturday, 25 January 2014

Review || Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake

Girl of Nightmares (Anna #2) by Kendare Blake ★★☆☆☆
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.


This wasn't a bad book by any means. And it's not like it wasn't enjoyable at times. But I don't know, it just never really felt necessary to me. Does that make any sense?

Okay, let me explain. Anna Dressed in Blood didn't answer all the questions, and I get that. What happened to Anna? What happens to any ghost after the athame does its job? What's with the athame anyway? This book answers those questions, and does a pretty good job with it too. I appreciated the backstory and history into this universe. It was something that I'd been curious about in Anna.

But truthfully? This just feels like part 2 of the same book. I don't mean to say that's a bad thing, though. I felt the ending of Anna was accelerated and abrupt. Sure, it tied off the plot strings loosely, but it was still obviously done with haste. And yes, I recognize that it was done for the sake of the sequel.

But again, this is where I struggle with the necessary bit. With some fiddling and reworking, I think Anna and Nightmares could've been one (admittedly big) packaged deal. One standalone. Give me the mythos and backstory. Make me wonder what's happened to Anna. Deliver on the twists of the Obeahman and make them hurt. Show me Carmel's reluctance, Cas' mother's struggle, Morfran's voodoo. Do something more compelling than just dropping Jestine in my lap.

I understand why this was two books, but I think it would've been a stronger package otherwise. I never felt as gripped by this book as I did with Anna. While the last 50 pages or so certainly got me turning them with speed, it wasn't until almost the very end that I really felt anything for these characters again. Which is a shame.

That said, it was a satisfying ending. Questions were answered and there certainly is closure. Without spoiling anything, I have to admit that I'm pleased with the direction Blake took this for the ending. I think anything else would've been too cheesy or overwrought.

Still, I can't help but feel a little let down by this sequel.