Spoiler Alert: This book is the sequel to “Anna Dressed in Blood”, the first in the series and this review gives away what happens at the end of that book. So if you plan on reading Anna Dressed in Blood (which I heartily recommend), you may not wish to proceed forward with this review.
Okay, so you’ve been warned.
The Girl of Nightmares begins several months after the massive battle that took place at the end of Anna Dressed in Blood, and Cass, Thomas, and Caramel are still dealing with the fallout.
The blurb is as follows:
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.
Is Anna Really Gone?
It’s been four months since Anna sacrificed herself to save Cas and his friends, and Cas is trying to come to terms with losing Anna. But he’s having a terrible time of it, and he can’t seem to get her out of his mind. Moreover, he’s been seeing her and hearing her voice everywhere, both while he’s awake and in his dreams. It must be his imagination or hallucinations, he thinks. Anna is gone for good. Everyone tells him that Anna is gone for good. So it must be true.
Finally, however, Anna manages to appear to him in person and communicate with him, but only for a moment — and from what Cas can gather, Anna is in a terrible place, is in terrible trouble and is suffering horribly. She’s trapped. And only Cass can set her free.
This is perhaps the most dangerous situation that Cass has ever gotten involved with and from what he’s been told, moving forward with this venture will result in a terrible price (“there’s always a price”). Everyone tells him to let it go, to let Anna go, to walk away. . . but he can’t do it. This is Anna, after all — the only girl he’s ever loved.
But as he soon learns, he can’t rescue her alone. He needs the help of a creepy somewhat cultish esoteric Order who may not have Cas’s best interests at heart; in fact, some of the members would be well-served by (and are hoping for) his death.
The Main Event
Against the advice of his family and friends, he decides to forge ahead and undertake the dangerous journey along with a member of the Order (Jess, who was trained by the order to replace Cas) to rescue Anna from the horrible place in which she’s been trapped.
This is where the story really heats up as there is a desperate race for time, and Cas has no choice but to put his trust in the Order.
If he doesn’t manage to find and rescue Anna within the allotted amount of time, he dies. And if he does manage to rescue Anna and bring her back, there’s a very good chance that the Order will try to kill her. But he’s determined, so he goes deeper into the darkness then he’s ever gone before.
The first book (Anna Dressed in Blood) was a complete novel in an of itself, and the ending seemed well-wrapped up and final — so I was surprised to learn that The Girl of Nightmares was actually a continuation of that first book — an amazing sequel to a powerful first book which completely sucked me in.
I loved the new worlds that Blake created in this book, including the Suicide Forest and Hell itself. There were also plenty of surprises in the story, and we learn more about Cass’s father, Gideon’s history, the history of the Athame and the old Order which ties them all together.
Reading about Cass, Thomas and Carmel felt like I was reuniting with old, dear friends, a testament to the author’s character building ability. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about my favorite characters once again, and it was interesting to see how they matured from the first book.
Like the first book, The Girl of Nightmares is told from Cas’s first-person point of view, and he’s once again an excellent narrator. Like the other characters, I loved seeing how much Cas had changed and grown over the past several months.
The Girl of Nightmares was eerie, gripping and suspenseful, with vivid, believable characters and entertaining dialogue. It was scary and quite tense in places and kept me on the edge of my seat, dying to know what was going to happen next. The plot was fast-paced and exciting, with plenty of twists and turns to add mystery and surprise to the story.
It was a roller-coaster ride of a story; at times, light and full of humor that made me laugh out loud; other times, full-on terror that made me leery of turning to the next page. The pacing was perfect and at no point during the story did I feel bored or disinterested.
I felt that the story of Anna and Cas was nicely wrapped up at the end resulting in a satisfying though bittersweet conclusion. That being said, the story felt resolved and complete to me, though I suppose it’s possible there could be another book. If so, I’d definitely rush out to get it, I love this world that Ms. Blake has created that much. Kendare Blake is definitely on my insta-buy list.
This is another 5-star book for me. Recommended!
You can check out the Girl of Nightmares HERE.