Girl of Nightmares (Anna Dressed in Blood 2) :Review
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.
The sequel to Anna Dressed In Blood. A male protagonist wielding a powerful knife, with a slightly caustic voice and wedded to a job that could skin him alive any time. A female protagonist dressed in blood, her soul darkened by a curse, yet sweet and curious.
There was no choice for me but to return to this series.
Girl of Nightmares is as fun as Anna Dressed In Blood, with an ending that I totally, absolutely respected Blake for having the guts to put own in a YA book. It is an ending that deviates from the candy hued happily ever afters of YA lit, but let's get to the ending later.
At the end of ADIB, Anna and the evil Obeahman dude perishes in a pit and is "triple lindied" into Hell, to quote Supernatural (which the series sometimes seems eerily similar to) And at the beginning of Girl of Nightmares, Cas (a.k.a cross of Sam and Dean Winchester) is slowly losing it. He sees Anna everywhere, in a multitude of horrifying scenarios, being tortured by the Obeahman. This serves for some pretty scary stuff early on, but these are only cookies. The chocolate brownies show up later.
Before he can be carted off to a therapist, though, he manages to kind of convince trusty Thomas and Carmel (read Ron and prettier Hermione), the second and third partners in his odd ghost busting little trio, that Anna needs to be let out, somehow. How he manages to open a gateway into hell with the help of a shady yet underdeveloped creepy Order forms the rest of the story, occasionally interspersed with character drama. The chocolate brownies are nearly all concentrated into the last half, trust me.
Although I liked Girl of Nightmares, I guess it might be already apparent from the subtle sarcasm that I didn't love it. Not like ADIB. Girl of Nightmares seemed to borrow so much from shows I've already seen and books I've already read. I could write a whole review on how it borrows from Supernatural (especially the hell, hallucination stuff and Cas's " I can't leave this job " attitude), sometimes the Grudge (creepy girl in white with crazy stick out joints), and the Order stuff is just unoriginal, it's nothing really new. Even the spooky ghosties seem like old friends that I'm revisiting.
I liked the book because of Cas, he's a fun narrator. There's some nice, dark humor. There's some angst. At the end of the book, there's a cool climax in Hell with some Priori Incantatem kind of thing. There's an amazing, mature ending that is never seen much in YA.
I wish there had been more of Cas's mother (coz I kind of love her), more about the Order, and I wish that the new character Jestine simply didn't annoy the heck out of me. Even Anna seemed not wholly the Anna I loved, maybe it's because she's in Hell, but could it have been done better?
Mostly, I just missed the atmosphere of ADIB. Sorely.
Nekro pulls off another crazy awesome cover, full marks for that. But this book, sadly, deserves maybe 3.5 stars, in my opinion.