Sunday, 2 September 2012
Author: Kendare Blake
Published: August 12th 2012
By: Tor Teen
First line: I think I killed a girl who looked like this once.
Last line: My way is clear.
Fave line: Every time I question him about the feasibility, he smiles at me like he's Yoda and I'm just a dumbass without the Force.
Anna Dressed in Blood was one of my unexpected pleasures last year. I loved Blake’s style of writing which seemed akin to classic horror for the YA reader. In it she created characters that you either loved or hated with a passion and the conclusion to the tale was wrapped up deliciously so I was surprised (and at the same time delighted!) to find out that there was going to be a sequel even though I couldn’t imagine where she could take the story given the ending of the first in the series. The cover for the sequel is just as beautiful as the latter, in fact it was the cover that caused me to pick it up in the first place and I’m so glad I did.
Girl of Nightmares takes us forward six months. Carmel and Thomas are now part of a newly-created team who work to send spirits on their way whilst at the same time acting as a support network for Cas. Cas on the other hand is trapped in the past. Unable to get over the loss of Anna he struggles to begin new relationships and to add further woe he is seeing Anna everywhere. Anna however, is not the Anna he expected to see. Rather than being free we find her suffering in hell and begging to be released. As if Cas would need to be asked a second time.
The sequel is far more action than horror packed as Cas and his friends attempt to find a solution to Anna’s suffering. During the course of the journey he confronts his own past as well as that of his family’s the story culminating in a scene which was beautifully written from the perspective of all the major players, particularly Thomas I felt who really came into his own during Girl of Nightmares and although I wouldn’t have thought it possible it made me like him even more. I loved that Cas stuck the principles his family chose to live by even when the pressure against him seems insurmountable. His stubbornness just made you root for him more.
There are a range of new characters in this story. I had a love/hate relationship with Jestine. I loved her for enthusiasm and for the strength of her character whilst hating the reason for her being there, that is to replace Cas when he fails in his mission and becomes another victim of ‘the underworld’. I was also riled by Carmel more than once and at times felt like screaming at her, but thinking back now I guess that any character that invokes a reaction has essentially done their job. I also liked the suicide forest and the Order of the Black Dagger who bought a deliciously threatening air to the quest that Cas is on. Finally however, I LOVED the ending! It wasn’t until I reached the end that I realised that this was a series of two and if I’m honest I like that everything was wrapped up so neatly in a shorter series. Did I get the ending I wanted? I guess that would have to be a No! Yes! No! Yes! Kind of response. Did it leave me feeling warm and fuzzy? That would be a resounding yes!
If you haven’t read the Anna series I would seriously recommend that you do. Kendare Blake writes beautifully and creates the darkest most intricate worlds and plots and if you’ve read Anna and enjoyed it, I think you’ll love Girl of Nightmares just as much.
4/5 What a beautiful ending to a stunning story. I’ll miss Cas and Anna but I can’t wait to see what Blake comes up with next!
Posted by SallySmurf at 8:05 pm