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Girl of Nightmares

Girl of Nightmares

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Girl of Nightmares

4/5 (65 évaluations)
306 pages
5 heures
Aug 7, 2012


Girl of Nightmares is the thrilling sequel to Kendare Blake's critically acclaimed Anna Dressed in Blood.

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.

Aug 7, 2012

À propos de l'auteur

Kendare Blake is originally from South Korea, but was brought up in the US. She has a BA in Business from Ithaca College in New York and an MA in Writing from Middlesex University in London. She is the author of Anna Dressed in Blood, Girl of Nightmares and Antigoddess, all published by Orchard Books. Kendare's fantasy quartet Three Dark Crowns includes Three Dark Crowns, One Dark Throne and Two Dark Reigns and is a New York Times-bestselling series. She lives with her husband in Kent, Washington.

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  • This place is the thing behind madness. There is nothing good here. Off the map. If you eat frustration it chokes you. This place exists in the wake of a scream.(Listen to my voice. Listen. I’m here. It’s difficult, but you have to make it. In your mind.

  • There’s no doubt in his eyes. He’s absolutely certain that the plan will go from A to B, and everything will work out with rainbows and pots of gold. It’s like he’s completely forgotten just how many people I got killed last fall.

  • I don’t know what about bitter brown water is supposed to be soothing. But I make a show of sighing and settling farther into my chair.

  • I lay awake until time didn’t exist, listening to Thomas’s gentle snore. When sleep did come, it was light and laced with menace.

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Girl of Nightmares - Kendare Blake



I think I killed a girl who looked like this once.

Yeah. Her name was Emily Danagger. She’d been murdered in her early teens, by a contractor working on her parents’ house. Her body was stuffed into the attic wall and plastered over.

I blink and mutter a vague answer to whatever question the girl next to me just asked. Emily’s cheekbones were higher. And the nose is different. But the shape of the face is so similar, it’s like I’m staring at the girl I tracked into the upstairs guest room. It took the better part of an hour, hacking with the athame at wall after wall as she seeped out of it, quietly trying to get behind me.

I love monster movies, says the girl beside me whose name I can’t remember. Jigsaw and Jason are definitely my favorites. What about you?

I don’t much care for monster movies, I reply, and don’t mention that neither Jigsaw nor Jason is technically a monster. I like explosions, special effects.

Cait Hecht. That’s this girl’s name. She’s another junior at Winston Churchill. She has hazel eyes, sort of too big for her face, but pretty. I don’t know what color Emily Danagger’s eyes were. By the time I met her, all the blood had leaked out of them. I remember her face, pale but not sightless, materializing through faded flower-print wallpaper. Now it seems dumb, but at the time it was the most intense game of dead-girl whack-a-mole ever. I was covered in sweat. It was a long time ago, when I was younger and more easily rattled. It would still be years before I’d go up against ghosts of any real strength—ghosts like Anna Korlov, the girl who could have torn out my spine anytime she liked, but wound up saving me instead.

I’m sitting in the corner booth of a coffee shop off Bay Street. Carmel’s across from me with two of her friends, Jo and Chad, who I think have been a couple since seventh grade. Gross. Beside me, Cait Hecht is supposed to be my date. We just saw a movie; I don’t remember what it was about but I think there were giant dogs in it. She’s talking to me with oversized gestures, cocked eyebrows, and teeth made perfect by a childhood full of retainers, trying to keep my attention. But all I can think is how much she looks like Emily Danagger, except far less interesting.

So, she says awkwardly, how’s your coffee?

It’s good, I reply. I try to smile. None of this is her fault. Carmel’s the one who talked me into this farce, and I’m the one who went along with it to shut her up. I feel like an ass for wasting Cait’s time. I feel like a bigger ass for secretly comparing her to a dead girl I killed four years ago.

The conversation stalls. I take a long drink of my coffee, which really is good. Full of sugar and whipped cream and hazelnut. Under the table, Carmel kicks me and I almost spill it down my chin. When I look up she’s talking to Jo and Chad, but she meant to do it. I’m not being a proper date. There’s a tic starting underneath her left eye.

I briefly contemplate making polite conversation. But I don’t want to encourage this, or lead Cait on. It’s a mystery why she wanted to go out with me anyway. After what happened to Mike, Will, and Chase last year—Mike getting murdered by Anna, and Will and Chase eaten by the ghost that killed my father—I’m the pariah of Winston Churchill. I was never linked to their murders, but everyone suspects. They know that those guys hated me, and that they ended up dead.

There are actual theories about what might have happened, big, swirling rumors that circulate and grow before finally reaching epically ridiculous proportions and dying off. It was drugs, people whisper. No, no, it was an underground sex ring. Cas was supplying them with amphetamines so they could perform better. He’s like a druggie pimp.

People pass me in the halls and avoid my eyes. They whisper in my wake. Sometimes I second-guess my decision to finish high school in Thunder Bay. I can’t stand that these idiots have all these theories, most of them outlandish to the extreme, yet none of them have thought to mention the ghost story that they all knew. No one has ever talked about Anna Dressed in Blood. That, at least, would be a rumor worth listening to.

Some days, I open my mouth to tell my mom to get ready, to find us another house in another city where I could be hunting any number of the murderous dead. We’d have packed up months ago had it not been for Thomas and Carmel. Despite all efforts to the contrary, I’ve come to rely on Thomas Sabin and Carmel Jones. It’s weird to think that the girl across the table, giving me secret dagger eyes, started out as just a mark. Just a way to know the town. It’s weird to think that I once saw Thomas, my best friend, as an annoying, psychic tagalong.

Carmel nudges me again and I glance at the clock. Barely five minutes have passed since the last time I looked. I think it might be broken. When Cait’s fingers slide against my wrist, I pull away and take a drink of my coffee. I don’t miss the embarrassed and uncomfortable shift of her body when I do it.

All of a sudden, Carmel says loudly, I don’t think Cas has even researched colleges yet. Have you, Cas? She kicks me harder this time. What is she talking about? I’m still a junior. Why would I be thinking about college? Of course, Carmel has probably had her future planned out since preschool.

I’m thinking about St. Lawrence, Cait says when I just sit there. "My dad says St. Clair might be better. But I don’t know what he means by better."

Mm, I say. Carmel’s looking at me like I’m some kind of idiot. I almost laugh. She means well, but I have absolutely zero to say to these people. I wish Thomas were here. When the phone in my pocket starts buzzing, I jump up from the table too fast. They’ll start talking about me the minute I’m out the door, wondering what my problem is, and Carmel will tell them I’m just nervous. Whatever.

It’s Thomas calling.

Hey, I say. Are you mind reading again, or is this just good timing?

That bad, huh?

No worse than I thought it would be. What’s up?

I can almost feel him shrug through the phone. Nothing. Just thought you might want an escape route. I got the car out of the shop this afternoon. It could probably take us down to Grand Marais now.

It’s on the tip of my tongue to say, "What do you mean, probably?" when the door of the coffee shop opens and Carmel glides out.

Oh, shit, I mutter.


Carmel’s coming.

She stops in front of me with her arms crossed over her chest. Thomas’s tiny voice is chirping, wanting to know what’s going on, whether he should swing by my house and pick me up, or not. Before Carmel can say anything, I put the phone back to my ear and tell him yes.

*   *   *

Carmel makes our excuses for us. In her Audi, she manages to keep up the silent treatment for all of forty seconds as she drives through the Thunder Bay streets. As we go, there’s that odd coincidence of the streetlights turning on just ahead of us, like an enchanted escort. The roads are wet, still crunchy with lingering ice patches at the shoulders. Summer vacation starts in two weeks, but the town doesn’t seem to know it. Late May and temps still dip below freezing at night. The only indication that winter is ending are the storms: screaming, wind-driven things that go out over the lake and swing back in again, rinsing away the wreck of winter sludge. I wasn’t ready for so many months of cold. It clamps around the city like a fist.

Why did you even bother to come? Carmel asks. If you were just going to act like that? You made Cait feel really bad.

"We made Cait feel really bad. I never wanted to do this in the first place. You were the one who got her hopes up."

She’s liked you since chemistry last semester, Carmel says, scowling.

Then you should have told her what an ass I am. Made me sound like a moronic jerk.

Better to let her see it for herself. You barely said five words to anyone. She’s got this disappointed squint on her face that’s hovering close to disgust. Then her expression softens and she pushes her blond hair off of her shoulder. I just thought it would be nice if you got out and met some new people.

I meet plenty of new people.

I mean living people.

I stare straight ahead. Maybe she meant that as a jibe about Anna, and maybe she didn’t. But it pisses me off. Carmel wants me to forget. To forget that Anna saved all of our lives, that she sacrificed herself and dragged the Obeahman down to Hell. Carmel, Thomas, and I have been trying to figure out what happened to her after that night, without much luck. I guess Carmel thinks it’s time to stop looking and let her go. But I won’t. Whether I’m supposed to or not doesn’t matter.

You didn’t have to leave, you know, I say. I could’ve had Thomas pick me up there. Or I could have walked.

Carmel chews her pretty lip, used to getting her way. We’ve been friends for most of the year now, and she still gets this puzzled puppy face when I don’t just do what she says. It’s strangely endearing.

It’s cold out. And it was boring anyway. She’s unruffled in her camel peacoat and red mittens. The red scarf at her neck is carefully knotted, despite the fact that we left in a hurry. I was just doing Cait a favor. I got her the date. It isn’t our fault if she couldn’t dazzle you with her charm.

She has good teeth, I offer. Carmel grins.

Maybe it was a bad idea. You shouldn’t force it, right? she says, and I pretend not to notice the hopeful glance she gives me, like I should keep this conversation going. There’s nowhere for it to go.

When we get to my house, Thomas’s beat-up Tempo is parked in the driveway. I can see his silhouette inside, talking to my mom’s. Carmel pulls in right behind it. I expected to be dropped at the curb.

We’ll take my car. I’m going with you, she says, and gets out. I don’t object. Despite my best intentions, Carmel and Thomas have joined the ranks. After what happened with Anna, and the Obeahman, cutting them out wasn’t really an option.

Inside the house, Thomas looks like one big wrinkle plopped down on the sofa. He stands up when he sees Carmel, and his eyes do their usual googly routine before he adjusts his glasses and goes back to normal. My mom is sitting in the chair, looking comfortable and motherly in a wrap sweater. I don’t know where people get these ideas that witches all wear a metric ton of eyeliner and bounce around in velvet capes. She smiles at us and tactfully asks how the movie was, rather than how the date went.

I shrug. I didn’t really get it, I say.

She sighs. So, Thomas tells me that you’re going to Grand Marais.

Seems like as good a night as any, I say. I look at Thomas. Carmel’s coming too. So we can take her car.

Good, he replies. If we take mine we’ll probably wind up on the side of the road before we even cross the border.

There’s a brief moment of awkwardness as we wait for my mom to leave. She’s not a civilian by any means, but I try not to bother her with details. After my near death this past fall, her auburn hair has become peppered with white.

Finally she stands and presses three small but very smelly velvet bags into my hand. I know what they are without looking. Fresh, herbal blends of her classic protection spell, one for each of us. She touches my forehead with a fingertip.

Keep them safe, she whispers. And you too. She turns back to Thomas. And now I should get to work on more candles for your grandfather’s shop.

The prosperity ones have been going faster than we can get them on shelves. He grins.

And they’re so simple. Lemon and basil. A lodestone core. I’ll stop in with another batch by Tuesday. She goes up the stairs, to the room she’s taken over for spell work. It’s full of block wax and oils and dusty bottles of herbs. I hear that other mothers have entire rooms designated for sewing. That must be weird.

I’ll help you pack the candles when I get back, I say as she vanishes up the stairs. I wish she’d get another cat. There’s a cat-shaped hole where Tybalt used to be, floating in her footsteps. But I suppose it’s only been six months since he died. Maybe that’s still too soon.

So, are we ready? Thomas asks. Under his arm there’s a canvas messenger bag. Every scrap of info we get on a particular ghost, a particular job, he stuffs inside that bag. I hate to think how quickly he’d be tied to a stake and burned if anyone ever got hold of it. Without looking into the mess, he reaches in and does his creepy psychic thing, where his fingertips find whatever he’s after, every time, like that girl from Poltergeist.

Grand Marais, Carmel murmurs as he hands the papers to her. Most of it is a letter from a professor of psychology at Rosebridge Graduate School, an old crony of my dad’s, who, before buckling down and shaping young minds, expanded his own by participating in trance circles led by my parents in the early 80s. In the letter, he talks about a ghost in Grand Marais, Minnesota, rumored to inhabit an abandoned barn. Six deaths have occurred on the property over the last three decades. Three of them have been deemed as under suspicious circumstances.

So what, six deaths. Stats like that don’t make my usual A-list. But now that I’m rooted in Thunder Bay, my options are limited to a few road trips a year and places I can get to over the weekend.

So, it kills by making people have accidents? Carmel says, reading over the letter. Most of the barn’s victims appeared to be accidental. A farmer was working on his tractor when the thing slipped off the bricks and pinned him. Four years later, the farmer’s wife fell chest-down on a pitchfork. How do we know they aren’t really accidents? Grand Marais is a long drive for a no-show.

Carmel always calls the ghosts it. Never he or she and rarely by name.

Like we have anything better to do? I say. In my backpack, the athame shifts. The knowledge of it there, tucked into its leather sheath, sharp as a razor without ever needing to be sharpened, makes me uneasy. It almost makes me wish I were back on that damned date.

Ever since the confrontation with the Obeahman, when I found out that the knife had been linked to him, I … I don’t know. It’s not that I’m afraid of it. It still feels like it’s mine. And Gideon assures me that the link between it and the Obeahman has been severed, that the ghosts I kill now no longer go to him, feeding him and increasing his power. Now they go where they were supposed to go. If anyone would know, it would be Gideon, over in London, knee-deep in musty books. He was with my dad since the beginning. But when I needed a second opinion, Thomas and I went to the antique shop and listened to his grandfather Morfran run through a speech about how energy is contained on certain planes, and that the Obeahman and the athame don’t exist on the same plane anymore. Whatever that means.

So I’m not afraid of it. But sometimes I feel its power reach out and give me a shove. It’s a little bit more than an inanimate thing, and sometimes I wonder what it wants.

Still, Carmel says, even if it is a ghost, it only kills once every few years? What if it doesn’t want to kill us?

Well, Thomas starts sheepishly, after the last time we came up empty-handed, I started working on this. He reaches into the pocket of his Army surplus jacket and pulls out a circular piece of light-colored stone. It’s flat and about one inch thick, like a large, fat coin. There’s a symbol carved into one side, something that looks like a modified Celtic knot.

A runestone, I say.

It’s pretty, Carmel says, and Thomas hands it to her. It really is well done. The carving is exact, and he’s polished it so it shines white.

It’s a lure.

Carmel passes it to me. A rune to lure them out, sort of like ghostly catnip. Very clever, if it works. I turn it over in my hand. It’s cool to the touch and heavy as a hen’s egg.

So, Thomas says, taking the runestone back and pocketing it. Do you want to try it?

I look at the two of them and nod.

Let’s get going.

*   *   *

The drive to Grand Marais, Minnesota, is long, and boring in the dark. Boughs of pine trees flicker in and out of the headlights, and watching the dotted line is starting to make me motion-sick. For most of the ride down I try to sleep in the backseat, or at least feign sleep, alternately eavesdropping on and tuning out their conversation. When they whisper, I know they’re talking about Anna, but they never use her name. I hear Carmel say it’s hopeless, that we’ll never find out where she went, and that even if we could, maybe we shouldn’t. Thomas doesn’t argue much; he never does where Carmel is concerned. That kind of talk used to make me angry. Now it’s just commonplace.

Turn off, Thomas says. I think that might be the road.

I crane my head over the seat as Carmel tries to navigate the Audi down something that isn’t so much a road as a mud-rutted four-by-four trail. The car has all-wheel drive, but this still poses a high risk of getting stuck. They must’ve had heavy rain here in the last day or so, and the tracks are covered over with puddles. I’m just about to tell Carmel to forget it, and to try to back out, when something black flashes up in the headlights.

We skid to a stop. Is that it? Carmel asks. It is an enormous black barn, standing at the edge of a barren field with dead stalks of plants shooting up like stray hairs. The house that it must have belonged to, along with any other buildings, has long since been torn down. All that remains is the barn, dark and alone, waiting for us in front of a forest of silent trees.

Matches the description, I say.

Description nothing, Thomas says, rooting around in his messenger bag. We got the sketch, remember? He pulls it out and Carmel flips on the dome light. I wish she hadn’t. There’s an instant sensation of being watched, like the light just gave away all of our secrets. Carmel’s hand jerks to turn it off, but I put my hand on her shoulder.

Too late.

Thomas holds the sketch up to the window, comparing it to the shadowy figure of the barn. In my opinion, it isn’t much use. It’s rough, and done in charcoal so everything is just a different shade of black. It came in the mail along with the tip, and is the product of a psychic trance. Somebody drew out his vision while he was having it. He probably should have opened his eyes and looked down at the paper. The sketch has a definite dreamlike quality, a blurring of the edges and lots of harsh lines. It looks like it was done by a four-year-old. But as I compare them, the barn and the sketch start to look more and more similar, like it isn’t really the shape that matters so much as whatever is behind the shape.

This is stupid. How many times did my father tell me that places can’t be bad? I reach into my backpack and grab the athame, then get out of the car. The puddles reach up to my shoelaces, and my feet are soaked by the time I get to the Audi’s trunk. Both Carmel’s and Thomas’s cars have been outfitted and stocked like survival outposts, with flares and blankets and enough first-aid supplies to satisfy the most paranoid hypochondriac. Thomas is beside me, stepping gingerly through the mud. Carmel pops the trunk, and we grab three flashlights and a camping lantern. We walk together in the dark, feeling our feet go numb and listening to our socks squelch inside our shoes. It’s wet and cold. Stubborn snow patches still cling to the bases of the trees and around the sides of the barn.

I’m struck again by how ominous the barn looks. Worse even than Anna’s falling-down Victorian house. It crouches like a spider, waiting for us to get just close enough, pretending to be inanimate. But that’s stupid. It’s just the cold and the dark getting under my skin. Still, I wouldn’t necessarily give a thumbs-down if someone decided to come out here with gasoline and a match.

Here. I hand Thomas and Carmel their fresh protection spells. Thomas puts his in his pants pocket. Carmel holds hers like a rosary. We turn on the lantern and flashlights just outside the door, which creaks back and forth like a come-hither finger. Stay close, I whisper, and they press in on either side.

I tell myself every time that we’re crazy for doing this, Carmel mutters. Every time, I think that I’ll just wait in the car.

It’s not like you to stay on the sidelines, Thomas whispers, and on my other side, I sense Carmel’s smile.

Get a room, I mutter, and reach forward to pull open the door.

Thomas has this annoying habit of going in hot, flashing his beam of light every which way at a million miles an hour, like he’s expecting to bust a ghost mid-haunt or something. But ghosts are shy. Or if not shy, at least cautious. Never in my life have I opened a door and found myself staring directly into a dead face. I have, however, stepped inside and instantly known I was being watched. Which is what happens now.

It’s a strange sensation, that feeling of intense awareness from somewhere behind you. When you’re watched by the dead, the sensation is weirder, because you can’t pinpoint which direction it’s coming from. It’s just there. Annoying, but there’s nothing you can do about it. Sort of like Thomas’s

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65 évaluations / 58 Avis
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Avis des lecteurs

  • (5/5)
    In this installment of the Anna series, Cas cannot live with the idea of Anna sacrificing herself for him and his friends and being sent to god knows where. Everyone wants him to forget her but his guilt, and missing her prevents him from letting go. He keeps seeing her everywhere, she's haunting him and he has to see her suffer unspeakable torture.

    Cas is persistent and pushes those in the know to help him contact Anna and bring her back. Cas vows to go to any lengths to have Anna back even if it means his life. Cas cannot accept what he's learning about his Athame, people are making it sound sentient and evil, but to him it's just a knife, his knife, but a treasured possession nonetheless. If that's not all, Cas learns there is more behind the knife's creation that was withheld from him and there's a group that has a lot to do with the Athame's existence that want's to replace him but he can only be replaced after his death.

    I think Cas has more room to learn how to have a conversation with the living, he holds back a lot. He's shuts down and doesn't seem to want to deal, but he's getting there. I would have loved to see the growth in him that he suddenly had at the end of the story, didn't see the decision he made coming.

    Don't know if there is another book, it ended with a sort of completion but to me a bit open ended. I feel there is more to this secret group behind the Athame and it's wielder. If the story continues I would like to learn more about this secret group and if Anna continues to have a part in Cas' life. Still liking the story a lot and if there is more I would love to read it.
  • (2/5)
    I enjoyed the first book of this series so I was excited to read the second one. Man, I did not enjoy this one. It had too much ya angst that is so popular. Meh
  • (5/5)
    I enjoyed this book as much as I did the first book in the series. I love a good ghost story. The only down side, there were only two books in this series. : ( I give this book 5 of 5 stars.
  • (4/5)
    I've read Anna in Dressed in blood a while back and really enjoyed it. I started reading the sequel Girl of Nightmares a few weeks ago but had to take a break from it because I actually had a nightmare after reading the first 10 chapters. Yep, I'm such a scaredy-cat, and this isn't my usual cup of tea, but I want to read something different from time to time. Anyway, I managed to finish this book nightmare-free, and though it's not as terrifying and as action-packed as the first book, I'm satisfied with how it ended.
  • (3/5)
    This book was ok. I simply cannot get over my dislike of the main character, Cas. I wish I could be reading a book from Anna's, Carmel's, or best yet Justine's point of view. This book gets three stars for the girl's alone. Everything else was terrible.
  • (2/5)
    Better then I thought it would be but it still had a very Supernatural-y (as in the tv show) vibe
  • (2/5)
    I was a bit disappointed in this book. I expected it to be as good as the first, and I was let down. Don't get me wrong, I liked it, but it didn't leave me feeling all warm & fuzzy like I usually do when I read a good book.

    I felt the pacing was a bit slow. There was too much wording and not enough action like there was in the first book.

    The characters seemed fairly dull in this book. Anna was hardly in this book which I also didn't like. The only character I really liked was Jestine.

    It was a good idea for a plot but it wasn't executed well enough in my opinion. The story seemed to drag in a lot of places.

    However, the ending is pretty good, as are the last few characters.
  • (3/5)
    Had high hopes for this one. Slow and a much different feel than Anna Dressed in Blood. I listened to this on audio, and the narrator's accents are atrocious.
  • (3/5)
    This is going to be a really tough review to write, since I all but flipped out praising Kendare Blake's first book, Anna Dressed in Blood. I was so very excited to see what happened to Anna and Cas after the cliffhanger that Blake left for us in the last book. As soon as I was able to get my hands on a copy of Girl of Nightmares I did! I was eager for more of the stuff of nightmares that drew me in the first time around.

    What I found though was a much different book. Anna and Cas are both back. However this time they're so different, and I'll admit that it threw me off a bit. If you'll remember from my review of the first book, I loved Cas' cocky demeanor and lone wolf attitude. What can I say? I'm a sucker for boys like that. The Cas that comes through in this book is a much more lonely and sad boy. Broken, sad, a little like a lonely puppy. Where was my Cas? In the same respect, Anna was there, but also not. I can't explain without spoiling, but I missed her so much.

    After a few chapters I finally got used to Cas' new attitude, and was okay with it. Blake does a great job of showing his deep need to find Anna. So I kept reading on, hoping for some scary scenes to keep me up and night and sadly nothing happened. Seriously. There are multiple chapters where nothing exciting happens at all. Now, yes, I understand why. Kendare Blake spends a lot of this book explaining the history behind Cas' athame. She also introduces a new threat in the form of a sinister society with tons of secrets. However without the visceral imagery, the haunting happenings, and the Anna/Cas interaction, I found myself bored. It made for a slow read.

    It's actually not surprising to me that I didn't love Girl of Nightmares as much as Blake's first book. I loved Cas as a ghost busting bad-ass. I adored Anna as a vicious yet gorgeous apparition. Everything that I loved about Anna Dressed in Blood was missing here. I applaud the character development, and can't deny that I enjoyed learning about the athame's past. Still, this wasn't my favorite sequel. This is worth a read for closure alone though, especially if you were waiting as eagerly as I was.
  • (3/5)
    As fun as the first one - maybe it was more of a Buffy episode though.
  • (3/5)
    Girl of Nightmares is a YA paranormal horror novel that’s not quite as good as its predecessor, Anna Dressed in Blood, but does the necessary job of tying up loose plot threads. You absolutely need to have read Anna Dressed in Blood before picking up Girl of Nightmares.Girl of Nightmares starts six months after the end of Anna Dressed in Blood. Cas is worried about what became of Anna and what her sacrifice meant when he suddenly starts seeing her all over the place. He becomes determined to get her out of whatever hell she’s trapped in, no matter the cost to himself.Girl of Nightmares does wrap everything up well. The last few chapters were worthwhile, and there were some good scenes closer to the end. Unfortunately, nothing’s exciting until about two thirds of the way through. The subplot with Carmel in that time felt unnecessary and damaging for her character, especially since it had no lasting consequences and everyone seemed to have forgotten about it by the end.One of the things I really loved about Anna Dressed in Blood was Anna herself. By the nature of the story line, she wasn’t in Girl of Nightmares nearly as much, and I think it suffered from the lack. Girl of Nightmares also didn’t have the same creepy thriller vibe going on, which ties in a lot with the slowness of the first two thirds.Girl of Nightmares did go a lot more into the mythology of the world and how everything worked. However, the greater explanation didn’t make up for the lack of action or the haunting atmosphere that permeated the first book.If you read Anna Dressed in Blood, you’ll still probably want to read Girl of Nightmares to get closure on the story lines. If you haven’t read either of them, I would suggest it despite my problems with this second installment, given the fun I had with the first book.Originally posted on The Illustrated Page.
  • (4/5)
    Actual rating: 3.5 starsFor more reviews, Cover Snark and more, visit A Reader of Fictions.The ending of Anna Dressed in Blood meant that the sequel could really go either way for me, depending on how Blake resolved things. Because she’s awesome, I liked Girl of Nightmares just as well as Anna Dressed in Blood, though for slightly different reasons. The books are a bit different in some ways, but I think both quite good. I don’t know if this sequel was entirely necessary, but it’s good enough that that doesn’t really matter much. Girl of Nightmares probably won’t give you nightmares, but it might keep you up late reading.Kendare Blake’s Anna duology is one of the rare times in paranormal where I think the romance is just what it should be. Most authors would come up with some magical ending, pull the HEA out of the hellmouth. I like that things aren’t that simple in Girl of Nightmares. The ending’s satisfying but it’s not perfect or magical. It’s realistic, so far as a story about going to find a ghost in hell can be. Romance is Cas’ driving force in Girl of Nightmares, but it’s not the driving force of the series.Speaking of romance, I really appreciate Carmel’s character in a whole lot of ways. I didn’t really talk about her in book one because I wanted to finish out her character arc. She’s this perfect, popular girl on the surface. She could so easily have been a stereotypical queen bee. Instead, shes’ a loyal friend and a fiend with a bat. For the terrible circumstances she winds up in with Cas and Thomas, she hardly complains and she helps save the day a lot, despite being basically the only non-magical person to matter in the series. In no way is she ever the damsel in distress. I also LOVE that she was not in the book to be a love interest for Cas and that she goes for the less obvious guy.If what you loved best about Anna Dressed in Blood was the scary ghost stuff, then Girl of Nightmares will probably be a bit of a let down. There are a few scary ghosts scenes, but it’s not nearly so gory or consistent. The plot’s a bit more meandering, with Thomas heading on a journey to figure out how to rescue Anna from hell. The plot works in the long run, I think, but in the middle it does feel as though it hits doldrums.The characterization could still be better in the series, however. I still don’t really have any sense of who Cas is at all. He’s not quite flat, but he’s definitely not real. Blake excels at setting and horror, but the characters are not there yet. Of course, these are her first two published books, so I’m sure she’ll grow better at this as time goes by. Despite being a character-focused reader, there was enough to love in both of these books to keep me interested without the emotional connection.Ultimately, what I love about this series ender is that Kendare Blake dared to go with a less traditional ending. The Anna series is good for horror fans, quick and fun.
  • (4/5)

    This and other reviews can be found on Reading Between Classes

    Cover Impressions: So pretty and creepy and oh so enticing. This cover fits very well with the previous Anna book and they both look lovely on my shelf - I just keep staring at them.

    The Gist: Cas can't say goodbye to the girl who sacrificed her soul to save the lives of him and his friends. When images of Anna start invading his life like waking nightmares, he realized that he will do anything to get her back - even walking into the depths of Hell.


    Girl of Nightmares is one of those books that, no matter how busy my life was, I couldn't bare to put it down. I loved Anna Dressed in Blood and was really looking forward to jumping back into this world.

    I was little disappointed with the amount of time that was dedicated to Anna. I understand that we had to be introduced to a new character (will she get her own spin off?), but I wasn't particularly fond of Jestine and I missed my Anna! Cas was his old sarcastic self, but a little more angsty as he tries to figure out his feelings for Anna and whines a little more about how no one will give him any information. Thomas and Carmel continue to be great characters, though they don't get a lot of action in this book.

    In comparison with Anna Dressed in Blood, this installment is much more of an adventure or mystery than a horror story. There are horrific elements right from the beginning, but no real action or re-action to them until about halfway through. That being said, the inclusion of The Suicide Forest (which I can only assume was based on the forest in Japan) was fantastically done and super creepy. Once Cas managed to make his way into Hell (if that is what it was), things fell off for me. I felt like things happened a little too quickly and I was unable to stop and take a breath. I really wanted a minute or two to spend with Anna and for her and Cas to re-connect, but everything was a bit too fast-paced for that to happen.

    As a teacher, I have a bit of an issue with the amount of swearing that Cas does. I understand that it is unrealistic to expect teenagers not to utter that famed four letter word, but Cas' swearing is a little too frequent and a little too varied. Because I am constantly worried about the reaction of parents to the books that I provide for my students, this alone is enough to stop me from keeping the Anna books on my shelves - and that disappoints me, because I have students that I think would really love them.

    Teaching/Parental Notes:

    Age: 16 and up
    Gender: Both
    Sex: Kissing
    Violence: Blood-letting, Torture, Knifeplay, Battle with Supernatural Entities
    Inappropriate Language: Shit, Ass, Piss, Fuck, Dick, Jesus, Bastard
    Substance Use/Abuse: Smoking

    Notable Quotables:
    "It's the Monday of the last week of the year and if I have to sign one more yearbook I'm going to sign it in the owner's blood."
  • (5/5)
    Girl of Nightmares

    This was an awesome sequel to Anna dressed in blood !!

    However it was slower than the first book for me .. and lets be honest here i just wanted more of Anna !

    So in Girl of Nightmares , Anna is gone or so we think....

    Cas can't move on and he keep seeing Anna in everything and in everyone ! something is wrong and he can feel it ...

    Anna once saved his life and now it's his turn to return the favor ...

    In his quest to help Anna , Cas will meet new friends , rethink old ones.

    Cas will also get more answer about he origin of the athame !!

    in conclusion Girl of Nightmares is as much of a fun and exciting read as Anna dressed in Blood was !!

    Kendare Blake is an amazing writer and i hope to be reading a lot more from her in the future
  • (4/5)
    I can't really compared Girl of Nightmares to Anna Dressed in Blood, it felt different somehow, even though the characters were basically the same. Anna is back - kind of - and Cas will do anything to save her, even if it means going against what everyone is telling him.

    This time around, I found that I had no interest in the Cas/Anna story. I didn't really find the mystery in this installment as intriguing as the first book, and there where times when Cas seemed less of the assertive fighter he was in the first book and a bit of a whiner. However, I wouldn't call this behaviour completely impossible, he is still young, regardless of what he has seen, but in my head I built him up as a strong (and headstrong) character, it was a bit odd to see some holes.

    However, I still enjoyed the book. There were a few new characters introduced, Cas and company visit my London, favourite place on earth next to New York, and we get a better understanding of the history of the athame; which was definitely interesting!

    I do enjoy Kendare's writing style and the layers she intertwines into her story, this element is very present in Girl of Nightmare. I think if readers enjoyed Anna Dressed in Blood they will like this book as well. For me, while I didn't think the mystery in this book was as good as the first, I still am very interested in seeing what happens to Cas and his friends in the next installment.
  • (3/5)
    The Ghost Hunters are Back! -3.5 stars...

    Cas and his crew of ghost hunters are back in the final book in the Anna Dressed in Blood Duology. Anna sacrificed herself in the last book to save Cas and now he's seeing her everywhere he goes. He thinks something is wrong and she's not where she's suppose to be and has somehow ended up in an evil place instead...

    So I never really fell in love with either book but I really liked the characters a lot; enough to see what they were up to in this last book. I would say Cas and Thomas are my favorite characters. Cas has this sassy, sarcastic personality that's pretty hilarious and Thomas is his best friend that can pretty much read minds so he always knows what Cas is thinking. The two of them together really made the story. I listened to the audio version and the narrator is pretty good so you really get the full effect of the personalities of all of the characters. What I really enjoyed the most about this one was when Cas and the rest of his ghost hunter crew traveled to London and then a haunted forest in the Scottish Highlands. I didn't think either book was really scary though. They were both fun and a little creepy here and there so if you're looking for a "keep the lights on" type of book, I would probably choose something else.

  • (5/5)
    In this installment of the Anna series, Cas cannot live with the idea of Anna sacrificing herself for him and his friends and being sent to god knows where. Everyone wants him to forget her but his guilt, and missing her prevents him from letting go. He keeps seeing her everywhere, she's haunting him and he has to see her suffer unspeakable torture.

    Cas is persistent and pushes those in the know to help him contact Anna and bring her back. Cas vows to go to any lengths to have Anna back even if it means his life. Cas cannot accept what he's learning about his Athame, people are making it sound sentient and evil, but to him it's just a knife, his knife, but a treasured possession nonetheless. If that's not all, Cas learns there is more behind the knife's creation that was withheld from him and there's a group that has a lot to do with the Athame's existence that want's to replace him but he can only be replaced after his death.

    I think Cas has more room to learn how to have a conversation with the living, he holds back a lot. He's shuts down and doesn't seem to want to deal, but he's getting there. I would have loved to see the growth in him that he suddenly had at the end of the story, didn't see the decision he made coming.

    Don't know if there is another book, it ended with a sort of completion but to me a bit open ended. I feel there is more to this secret group behind the Athame and it's wielder. If the story continues I would like to learn more about this secret group and if Anna continues to have a part in Cas' life. Still liking the story a lot and if there is more I would love to read it.
  • (5/5)
    It is recommended you read Anna Dressed in Blood before you read this one.(Possible spoilers. You’ve been warned)I loved loved loved this book!!! I demand another one! (although I believe it’s only a duology - for now)The creepy factor was good and well done throughout the novel. (The forest part..oh my lord that was so well written I’ll be remembering that scene for a while now). This is definitely a book you would read for the fall, it’s got perfect atmosphere and mood. Cas as a character pulls the book through and does the book justice. His relationship was Anna is well done. It’s bittersweet but you know it was bound to happen. As for the other characters, wasn’t too crazy about Carmel’s actions. What the heck...how she brushed off Thomas just made me so mad I wanted to go in and tell her to smarten up and stop being such a twit. Another character I enjoyed reading was Jestine. She’s a female version of Cas and it was nice of both of them trading barbs here and there. Wish we could see more of her (in the future perhaps? One day? Please?)Overall, great ending, great read. Fighting scenes were also notable. Sad to see this go but who knows I hope to see Cas in the future!
  • (4/5)
    Cass Lowood has now become used to life in Thunder Bay. He's finished a school year in the same school for the first time in years. He has friends: the beautiful and popular Carmel Jones and nerdy voodoo teenage witch Thomas Sabin. The three have tried to move on from the devastating events in Anna Dressed in Blood. They've been going to school by day and killing ghosts by night. But when Anna starts haunting Cass, he becomes obsessed with saving her from whatever hell she is suffering. His quest to save her drives a wedge between him and his friends, and leads him across the ocean to follow ominous clues sent by anonymous people.I enjoyed Girl of Nightmares even more than Anna Dressed in Blood. I began the book with an attachment to all the characters, and was genuinely concerned about Anna's fate. Cass, Carmel, and Thomas begin to develop more rounded personalities in this book - showing sides of themselves that weren't obvious in the first book. Girl of Nightmares had a good mixture of action and intrigue, which kept me turning the pages. I'm hoping there will be another book coming up soon.
  • (4/5)
    Really good. In Girl of Nightmares, Cas tries to live a normal life after Anna dragged the Obeahman to the other side. But he can't. He starts seeing visions of her being tortured, and Cas believes this is trying Anna to get his attention. Cas thinks that Anna needs his help, and Anna is not where she is supposed to be. So, Cas tries to find a way to open a door to the other side to get Anna back. But there is a group of people who don't want that to happen, they believe that it is wrong to bring someone back from the other side, and that Cas has tainted the purpose of the athame by deciding who to kill (instead of just killing every ghost he sees). They've even trained a replacement for him, named Jestine.
    What I liked: Jestine's personality. I got so used to Cas, Carmel, and Thomas as a team, so when Jestine was introduced into the book, I was surprized, but I thought Jestine was a nice addition to their group. She made things seem lighter, and made the story more interesting.
    What I disliked: Although this book was awesome, I still feel that it wasn't as great as the first one, which had more action in it. Another thing I was slightly upset about was how Jestine and Cas ended off. From what I've read, I don't think they will be keeping in touch...which sucks.
    I'm sad to see this series end, and I hope there will be more, but if not, Girl of Nightmares had a wonderful ending.
  • (3/5)
    I had some problems with this one. I'm not sure if it was the book or the narrator or both.
  • (2/5)
    It was an okay book. It had its moments.
  • (4/5)
    I wanted so badly for this book to end differently! I wanted Anna and Cas to be together in some form! Major heartbreak.
  • (4/5)
    Cas is being haunted by Anna, who is being tortured by the Obeahman. He can't let go and he can't move on knowing that she is in the wrong place. He starts asking questions and upsetting many people in the realm of those who do magic. Cas, Thomas, and later Carmel travel to England to see Gideon and find out about the Order who have rules and a philosophy about being "the warrior" and using the athame. A compelling, dark story of a quest to save a friend.
  • (3/5)
    The sequel to Anna Dressed in Blood, in which Cas and his friends try to save Anna from being trapped in Hell.Stylistically, this is more of the same as first book, but with less backstory and more meebling on what to do. The first big chunk of the book mostly consists of Cas, Thomas and Carmel disagreeing on whether or not to look for a way to save Anna/bring Anna back and why, but things improve once that's done and they head to London for more information. Still, we see a lot less of Anna in this book, and she was my favorite character, so it wasn't quite as fun as the first one overall. Also, I took off a .5 star because I hated Jestine. Cas describes all the things she does that annoys him or makes him not trust her, and it irritated me that the plot still treats her like a potential love interest despite that.
  • (3/5)
    Anna was my favorite character in Anna Dressed in Blood, and this book distinctly lacks the presence of Anna for most of it. I just couldn't get excited about the Order or anything associated with it. I did, however, like the ending; I thought that that was probably the best that could have happened, considering the circumstances.
  • (3/5)

    Girl of Nightmares is the sequel and finale to "Anna Dressed in Blood" about months after Cas Lowood saw the last of his love, Anna Korlov and Cas have been mourning ever since. His friends, Thomas and Carmel brought him out to get into the rhythm of his usual life as a slayer and went on a trip to kill a vengeful ghost.... until when he tried to banish a pitchfork-weilding ghost, he heard Anna's scream from its mouth. Scared out of his mind, he began to see flashes of Anna being tortured in every possible way that his family and friends started to get worried. With Cas being unable to let Anna go, he began to assumed that his visions of Anna isn't just a hallucination and the reality was Anna was trapped somewhere asking for Cas help. And Cas will do anything he can to help her, even in death.

    Although I would dare to say Kendare Blake's "Anna Dressed in Blood" have been my favourite YA horror book last year, unfortunately, I wouldn't say it for this book. In fact, if you love "Anna Dressed in Blood" and expect it to carry the same charisma that it held, well, you'll be disappointed like I was when I finished with this book. I was psyched with the book (for a year I think) and I anticipate the supernatural mystery and thrill from the first book in this book but there's barely enough of that in this book. In fact, the author changed the genre from "YA Horror with minimal Romance Drama" with "YA Drama and Romance with minimal horror". I am not impressed at all. I had it all with these predictable romance-angst tripe in all of the YA genre and why do you expect me to take up this shit again and destroy what make the first book absolutely awesome?

    Unlike the first book, Cas in this book is absolutely a chore to read in first POV. I truly like the parallel I made between Anna Dressed in Blood's Cas and Sherrilyn Kenyon's younger Nick Gautier but in this book, Cas is like a different being. I know that he is sad about Anna's second death and freaked out with Anna came to haunt him again because of some technicalities but its like reading a boy point of view with specifically trying to impress the girl YA readers but inserting his emotional sensitivity near enough for female readers to feel empathy with a boy who was probably a real jackass to everyone if we didn't know his story.

    I do know boys are sensitive creatures but reading the book is like reading the female-anonymous-written-for-tv's Stefan's Diaries books. I am a girl, I am in literal sense a young adult but I'm flexible and definitely a reader of many books. I do enjoy every kind of genre or types of books on this earth written to whoever the author had in mind. But personally, I don't need authors writing with specific demographic in mind. I don't want to be stereotyped as a YA reader who wanted to read about a guy pining for his dead lover. There are hundreds of books written just about that and I was open-minded this whole time except I never expected the blurb is in literal sense is about a guy who can't and don't want to move on from his deader than dead girlfriend that spans from the 336 pages of it.

    To add more to the sting, there's probably very minimal main character development for Cas despite being a lengthy novel. Throughout half of the book, I was more interested with the minor characters developments. It was like when I was following CW's Supernatural and suddenly on the season 5's climax, the writers suddenly repeated the same tripe that was season 3 in season 6 and 7. It's so frustrating.

    The only thing that was worth reading the book was the Aoikigahara-like scene.

    I do seek to experience the ability of an author to surprise me that made me an avid reader seeking the thrill of it like a drug. But this is just poor attempt to please certain group of people. I am a certain group of people who love the first book so this is a big deal for me. I do want more Anna in a series called "Anna Dressed in Blood" but at least, I do want the YA Horror and Cas's swag back. I'm not sure if I'm going to do a rereading to this book but minimal details of gore is not enough to make the already fan-servicing book worth the effort.

    Compared to the first book, this second and last book is really is a poor incarnation of a great start. I would still maintain "Anna Dressed in Blood" is one of my favourite 2011 book but "Girl of Nightmares" is probably one of a disappointment of the year which that I had subconsciously anticipate for being a second book. But the content and form of the book does not disappoint me enough to distract me from the storyline which is interesting but not intriguing enough to renew the character interest in me.
  • (3/5)
    This book was a good sequel and tied up the story nicely, but overall? I didn't find it as interesting as the first book. Where Anna Dressed in Blood was full of action and excitement, Girl of Nightmares was more centered around feelings, thoughts, and mysteries. There were a few creepy moments, and things got intense in the last quarter or so of the book, but it just didn't hold my attention as much as the first book. I did like the book on its own, but it just wasn't what I expected after reading Anna Dressed in Blood.
  • (5/5)
    You guys. This is a really good sequel. The characters have grown, both in how they carry themselves and how they interact with each other, but not in a way that feels like the author is trying to re-write them to work within a new story. If that makes sense.

    Thomas and Carmel have the Xander/Cordelia thing going on pretty hard-core early on, and Cas is freaking everyone out by being a jerk and losing his focus on the job--nearly getting himself and his friends killed in the process. Everything starts to fall apart just in time for shit to get really, really ugly. And when shit gets ugly, this book blossoms into something magical and tender and creepy as fuck.

    Incidental characters from Anna are fleshed out, but again, not in a way that negates what was established in the previous book, and new characters--like Justine, the mysterious teen witch who covets Cas's powers--add a nice texture to this story, effectively keeping it from feeling like a rehashing of the prior novel.

    I am an unapologetic hater of trilogies and series that run on well past the point where the story should be put to bed (UGH Game of Thrones), but Kendare Blake's writing puts the Anna books in the Discworld category for me--I can't imagine that I could ever tire of this universe of characters. I hope she decides to continue writing these stories.
  • (4/5)
    This book took a little too long to get where it was supposed to go, but once it was there, I couldn't stop reading. Cas Lowood is an intriguing character who has grown over the course of these two books (this and Anna Dressed in Blood). All the characters are well rounded with distinct voices and their actions are believable. I don't want to spoil anything, but I love it when a book surprises me. I love having deep feelings for characters... I imagine I'll be in book hangover mode for a few days.