Nov 19, 2012

Review: Girl of Nightmares 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.
***WARNING: There may be spoilers afoot...***

I have mixed feelings about the second (and final) installment of Kendare Blake's series about Anna Dressed in Blood. I loved it, but at the same time I was left feeling... like I wanted more. It just didn't reach the expectations I had formed after finishing Anna Dressed in Blood.

Cas is my favorite. He's sarcastic, brave, and has a bigger heart than he'd like to admit, although he loses some of his sharp wit due to the depression and guilt he's battling over Anna's sacrifice. Thomas and Carmel ~ I adore the dynamic between these two opposites and how they come together despite the challenges they each face. Another tidbit added to the mix was Jestine, a kick-ass young woman of the Order ~ Cas's equal (if not surpassing him) in every way.

The creepy factor is totally up to par when compared to Anna Dressed in Blood ~ an element I find myself adoring despite the chills it gives me. Cas goes about his business destroying ghosts, but Anna's connection to the athame distracts him, putting everyone around him in danger. He's obsessed with her memory and finding her. He'll bleed, take down devils, open a portal to Hell, and face an entire cult-like Order to get to her. He'll even sacrifice himself to save her.

Which is why I think the end just fell flat for me. Cas loses his mojo, standing there with his mouth bobbing open and closed like a fish, just watching his girl get her bones broken and Jestine get pummeled. Kick-ass Cas disappears in the end, until some vague memory brings him back to the business I've grown to love him for. It was weird... You'd think the rage and pain caused by hearing Anna's bones snap would do the trick, but nope, Cas becomes completely drained of his marbles because of... get this... fear. I've known Cas to be afraid, but never paralyzingly so, so it just was... weird... that he would get that way in the heat of the moment he'd been waiting and sacrificing so much for.

When he finally gets it together and does what needs to be done, he's faced with a tough choice. I get it, I totally do. But it still sucks! I know he'll be okay living with the knowledge that Anna will be happy. She'll never have to wait for Cas, she'll never have to not belong... But still.. These two had such an instantaneous connection, it would have been nice to see more to their story. It's sad but truthfully, it was inevitable.

I say I would have liked to have seen more, but I think that's coming from knowing and reading the second book. If Blake had left this as a stand-alone and just expanded in book one, I think the whole thing would have been better.

I do love these books. They are unique, funny, spooky as hell ~ and it's just difficult not to love the characters. I guess I just loved them too much, and to see it end so suddenly leaves me thinking.. That's it?

3 out of 5 stars from this reader.

Happy Reading Everyone :)

~ Keely ~

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