Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: August 7th 2012
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.
I am so very glad that I had Girl of Nightmares on hand when I finished Anna Dressed in Blood! I really liked Anna, but Girl of Nightmares just went above and beyond. Blake really developed as an author, and it showed in everything from world building to character development. The stakes were higher, the mystery went a little deeper, the answers were harder.
Blake does an excellent job of jumping right back into the thick of things while still giving a new reader (or the reader who's read Anna quite a while ago) a basic refresher on everything that went down in the first novel. It's also been long enough since the events of Anna that the characters have had time to settle into their new identities and relationships. The characters each had a complexity in Girl of Nightmares that wasn't necessarily allowed in Anna. (And I was especially pleased with the struggles faced by Carmel -- they made her infinitely more human and awesome at the same time.)
Likewise, the plot jumped a number of levels in complexity; and all the odd little holes in Blake's world from Anna were skillfully explained and filled in. Some reviewers have complained that the pace of Girl of Nightmares was substantially slower than Anna Dressed in Blood, and that it was less scary. I, however, found these changes to be improvements. Everything included was needed to see the plot progress.
Knowing that this was a duology, and how very much Blake had left undone at the end of Anna, I was a little concerned that she couldn't tie everything up in 332 pages. I should have had a little more faith. It would be a lie to say that it all came out perfectly happy for everyone, but it at least ended satisfactorily. (With room for further books set in the world if Blake should so choose!) I highly recommend this duo of books, and can't wait to pass this one along to the nephews!
Rating: 4 of 5 stars ~ It was great! I might even re-read it.
Review also appears on Goodreads; I purchased my copy for Nook from Barnes and Noble, with a gift card from my Dad. Thanks Dad!.