Months ago, Anna Korlov opened a door to Hell and disappeared, but ghost hunter Cas Lowood can’t move on. That’s because Anna, the most fierce and powerful ghost that the first-person, present-tense narrator, Cas, had ever meet before that time, was different from the others. She could have easily killed him but for some reason allowed him to live, and even saved his life a couple of times in Kendare Blake’s first novel in the series, Anna Dressed In Blood. I, along with many other readers, was blown away by Anna Dressed In Blood, and I thought it would be a difficult task, indeed, for the author to match or surpass the quality and suspense of her first book–but, with Girl of Nightmares,she has done just that.
This book takes up basically where Anna Dressed In Blood left off. Cas and his friends, Thomas and Carmel, are trying to get back into the swing of high school life, and they try to set Cas up on a date, but it doesn’t go very well. That’s because Cas still loves the dead girl, Anna, and he begins to imagine he sees and hears her everywhere he goes. Is she somehow still trying to communicate with him, or is it just Cas’s imagination?
He sees Anna in his dreams, and in his nightmares; but, something seems to be terribly wrong. Anna seems to be getting tortured, and torn apart, and Cas wants to do whatever he can to stop her from suffering any longer. It’s the least he can do, for someone who’s saved his life, and for someone he’s grown to love.
Cas was given a weapon by his father, an athame. It’s a special knife that can ship ghosts off to a different astral plane if it strikes them. However, it also was linked to a powerful entity called the “Obeahman.” Each ghost that Cas “killed” with his athame went to feed the Obeahman and make it more powerful, though he didn’t know it at the time.
Cas still goes out on missions to rid the world of dangerous ghosts, as he did in Anna Dressed In Blood, but he now takes Thomas and Carmel along with him. He takes too many chances, though, and his actions and sometimes his inability to act fast enough put the lives of his friends at risk. As Anna is in Hell, she doesn’t have near as major of a role in Girl of Nightmaresas she had in Anna Dressed In Blood Cas is a strong, three-dimensional character, and his two friends really come into their own, also, especially Thomas. Thomas’s skills at witchcraft gets better in this sequel, and his ability to cast spells helps save the trio on more than one occasion.
When Cas discovers that Anna is trapped in Hell and is being tortured, what lengths will he go to save her? If it means having to sacrifice his own life to be with Anna, or to save her from Hell, will Cas be willing to do it, for the love of his life?
Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake is that rare gem of a sequel that is even better than the first book of the series. I loved reading Anna Dressed In Blood. In some ways, especially as it introduced the characters, including Anna, it will always be my favorite book in the series. But, the author knew what she was doing by making Cas the central character of the series. It can take off in so many directions, as Cas and his friends have further adventures in busting ghosts.
Girl of Nightmares is a spooky paranormal novel that can be read as a stand-alone, but I highly recommend that you also read the first book in the series, Anna Dressed In Blood. They are both great books to read at this time of the year, around Halloween, or any time of the year. Kendare Blake is a fantastically talented author, and I look forward to reading and reviewing more books from her in the coming years.