Release Date: August 7, 2012
Publisher: Tor Teen
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. (courtesy of Goodreads.)
Girl of Nightmares is the sequel to Anna Dressed in Blood. And by sequel, I mean the end. Why is it that so many lackluster series stretch out over three or four novels while some strong series choose to stop at two when the readers clamor for more? On the bright side, Girl of Nightmares is a different yet equally interesting book than its predecessor and ties up all the knots in a satisfying manner.
Cas starts off this novel in a very different place than he was at the beginning of Anna Dress in Blood. Previously, he was a lone gunman, or lone ghostbuster, if you will. Now he is firmly ensconced as a member of a trio of friends: Cas, Thomas, and Carmel. And he is despondent over the loss of Anna, the ghost with whom he fell in love.
Things become disturbing when Cas realizes that Anna is not at peace. She is being tortured by the Obeahman, a demon-like super-ghost in a hellish underworld. Cas embarks on a new journey to rescue Anna from an eternity of pain. But enemies await both above and below ground to thwart his way.
I love the dynamics between Cas, Thomas, and Carmel. Thomas is awesome in his geeky side-kick goodness. Carmel pushes Cas and Thomas to be more - to be more involved in school, to go further along the ghost-hunting journey. She's a more forthright person than Thomas. But she struggles in this book to balance the happy, normal life she used to live with the more violent, dangerous one she threw herself into. It's much more realistic than having a character newly introduced to the paranormal world happily become entirely immersed. Unlike Thomas, Carmel had no exposure to witchcraft or the ideas of ghosts. And also unlike Thomas who was a loner prior to Cas and Carmel, she had less to gain. We also meet a new character: Jestine, who is ambitious and eager to take on (or perhaps usurp?) Cas's ghost-buster role. She's funny and charming but she's also ambiguous in a way that makes you want to keep reading.
Like we saw in Anna Dressed in Blood, Girl of Nightmares has plenty of action and lots of gore. I didn't find it scary at all, but horror doesn't usually frighten me. But I know many readers consider both books very scary, so it's probably just me. Regardless, there is tons of action and many surprises. The book moves at a steadily fast pace, but not so fast that I'm flipping through the book so fast that I hardly read it. Putting the action aside, the highlight of the series for me is Cas's voice. He's sarcastic and full of dark humor.
My only (sort-of) criticism is that there is a lot of swearing in this novel. It's not so much a criticism as it is a notice. The swearing does not feel gratuitous. Cas talks in the same way that a lot of teenage boys do. But it's enough swearing that it stands out from many other books I read.
If you liked Anna Dressed in Blood, you'll definitely enjoy Girl of Nightmares. Cas is lovable in his own dark way. You'll root for him to destroy the Obeahman for good and bring Anna to peace. Plus for Cas to find his own peace, his own place in the world.
Rating: 4 / 5
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