Review: Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake

Posted 20 September, 2012 by Heather in Blog, Featured, Heather, Heather Book Review, Pushy, Pushy Book Review / 13 Comments

Girl of Nightmares (Anna #2)

(Goodreads, Amazon)

by Kendare Blake

(Goodreads, Amazon, Audio, Website)

Published August 2012 by Tor Teen

Heather bought her hardcover copy, Pushy received an audiobook in exchange for an honest review from AudioGo.

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.

Our Thoughts:

Heather: I’ve been waiting for the sequel to Anna Dressed in Blood for what seemed like forever. I even downloaded the audiobook for ADiB so I could reacquaint myself with this story right before the sequel, Girl of Nightmares, came out. While it was great to hear Cas’ journey with Thomas, Carmel, and Anna again, the narrator was a bit irritating, so I knew that I’d be reading this one and definitely not listening. Plus, I knew that I wouldn’t have the patience to listen to that many hours when I could finish this book in three or four.

Pushy:  For me, audio is the way to go.  I get through SO many more books on Audio these days (the other driver on the Tri-state frown on me reading my Kindle while I drive…jerks!). And, like you, I FLIPPING ADORED Anna Dressed in Blood and could not WAIT to jump back into this world!

Heather: Kendare Blake takes my two favorite things: horror and humor, and she mixes them together in just the right amounts to be brutal and light in all of the right spots. In Girl of Nightmares, it’s several months after Anna opened up a portal to hell and dragged the Obeahman down with her. Cas isn’t dealing with her sacrifice so well–sure, he and his mother have put down roots in Thunder Bay, and he is now ghost hunting on the weekends with the addition of Thomas and Carmel to his team–but he is a shell of his former self. Cas isn’t on top of his game, and he does stupid things that put everyone in danger, especially after he starts dreaming of Anna being tortured. Carmel’s attempts at getting Cas to move on from Anna and date other girls don’t help either when he isn’t even capable of acting like a normal boy for just one night, and it doesn’t take long for him to be a social pariah again.

Pushy: I love Kendare Blake’s dialog skills. Honestly, Cas is so much like you, Heather, which is why he’s such a pleasure to read. All of Ms. Blake’s characters are so funny and wry to the point of down-right snarky and you know I loved every second of that!!

Heather: And that is why I love Cas so much–we have the same level of snark and smart ass in our every day conversations that we’re kindred spirits. This book is light on Anna if you’re looking for that, but it is big on Cas’ devotion to her and his need to get her out of wherever she wound up. He really tortures himself about this throughout the book more than any ghost or person could ever beat him up, and that’s what this installment is really about–Cas’ emotional journey. He’s seeking closure for a lot of things–with Anna, his father, how the athama actually works, what’s his place in the world.

Pushy: One of the things I loved about this book was seeing what the aftermath of Anna’s sacrifice had on Cas’s interactions with not just Anna but Carmel and Thomas and even his mom. Meeting Anna, falling in love with her, fundamentally changed Cas and it was fascinating to see into the answer of, “Then what?”

Heather: Girl of Nightmares wasn’t as action and tension packed as Anna Dressed in Blood. And I was fine with that. To me, this was really Cas’ hero’s journey, with a good dose of Carmel and Thomas’ relationship thrown in. You also got to learn a good deal about Thomas’ Uncle Morfran and Gideon, who knows way more about the athame and the elusive order that forged the knife than he’s letting on.

Pushy: The back ground was fascinating, but it was when Cas goes in search of answers that the story got truly amazing!! Creepy and wonderful and a BIG 5 stars (or dolls or whatever)!

Heather: I give this one a creepy five out of five. Kendare Blake has managed to do what a lot of authors haven’t well: write a sequel where the characters are engaging and evolving while the book is almost completely different from the first one. Girl of Nightmares is entertaining, creepy at times, self-reflective when need be, and tough as nails when the time is right. I’m definitely on board for more of Cas Lowood’s adventures if the author decides to write more, but this is a two book series, which does leave me a bit sad. But the ending of this book is satisfying, fitting, and completely appropriate.

Get your own audiobook at AudioGO: Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake (unabridged, 10hrs 4min)

This is the very first time I would not recommend going with the Audio version of a book.

Normally I adore audio: a good narrator brings a story to life, breathing personality and depth into characters and setting a rhythm and pace that moves the book along.  Using their craft, they moderate between tense dramatic scenes and more languid ones, improving both with what they bring to the scenes.

Unfortunately that was not the case with this narrator. His monotonous rhythm and inability to vary his voice between characters was just unpleasant. And his attempt at a British accent fell flat.  Very much so.

While it pains me to say how much I disliked this audiobook, particularly because AudioGO has some great titles with some seriously professional voice talent, this time I have to say, save yourself the trouble and just go with the print version.

Now go and get lost…in a book!



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I'm a PhD chemist who loves sarcasm, music, and books-paranormal, mystery, thriller, suspense, horror, and romance. Most of my free time is spent at the martial arts studio these days--whether practicing Combat Hapkido or reading books while watching my son's Taekwondo classes, or even working up a sweat with Kickboxing for fun. Goodreads

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13 Responses to “Review: Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake”

  1. Yes!! horror and humor for me as well and I loved this series! I loved this one a bit more than Anna, too because it was a bit darker. Great review it’s an entertaining review style >.<

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    Heather 9/20/2012

    I think I liked this one just as much as I liked Anna, Giselle, but because it was just so different than the first one. I’m glad you like our review style. We like to go back and forth when more than one of us reviews 🙂
    Heather recently posted..Review: Girl of Nightmares by Kendare BlakeMy Profile

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  2. Ugh, that’s too bad it was a bad narrator. That can definitely ruin a story.
    I agree that Kendare is ace with dialogue. I love the funny things her characters say.
    I enjoyed this but not as much as the first one.
    Candace recently posted..Review: The Unnaturalists by Tiffany TrentMy Profile

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    Heather 9/20/2012

    The narrator was not fun to listen to at all, Candace. Anna Dressed in Blood was the first audiobook that I listened to ever, and it almost made me not want to listen to another book. Listening to the audio version of Daughter of Smoke and Bone fixed that problem right up 😉 which happened to be from Audiogo as well. I’m not sure why this narrator was so lackluster, he just couldn’t bring Cas’ lovely snark to life at all.
    Heather recently posted..Review: Girl of Nightmares by Kendare BlakeMy Profile

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  3. How great that this worked perfectly as a second book – that it was unique and stood on its own. It definitely is rare. I need to get to this one. i loved the first book.
    Alison (AlisonCanRead) recently posted..Belles by Jen CalonitaMy Profile

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    Heather 9/20/2012

    Definitely get this one, Alison. It’s a great ending to their journey, especially if you loved the first book.
    Heather recently posted..Review: Girl of Nightmares by Kendare BlakeMy Profile

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  4. I am glad this was a five star read for you, it wasn’t so much for me, I just didn’t think it had that same tension and edge of your seat feel, and it didn’t elicit the same amount of emotion for me, either. Lovely review, though!
    Heidi recently posted..Stormdancer (The Lotus War #1) by Jay KristoffMy Profile

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    Heather 9/20/2012

    Thanks for stopping by, Heidi. I liked that this one was so different than the first one, and it just worked for me.
    Heather recently posted..Review: Girl of Nightmares by Kendare BlakeMy Profile

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  5. I love how Cas is so devoted to Anna but I worry that he’s going to be obsessed with someone he can’t have. The first book was soooo good and I loved all the characters so I’m going in with a seriously vested interest. I hope I love it as much as you all!
    Mary @ BookSwarm recently posted..Speed date with Anna: HAUNTED by Jeanne C. SteinMy Profile

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    Heather 9/20/2012

    You get to see just how deeply that affects Cas in this book, Mary. I hope you love this one too–it is a little different in tone, and Cas is a bit depressed for a chunk of the book, but it’s good.
    Heather recently posted..Review: Girl of Nightmares by Kendare BlakeMy Profile

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  6. Love the double team review! I am having a hard time getting into this one but with your perspectives, maybe I’ll be able to see it differently. I guess I was looking for Anna Dressed in Blood part two. And it isn’t that. So I’ll open my mind a little more and take a fresh stab at it. Love the black freaky dolls!

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    Heather 9/21/2012

    This was definitely not ADiB #2, it was completely different. And once you get past that, I think you can appreciate this book for what it is.

    And I love the creepy 5 rating dolls. I use them whenever I get the chance 😉
    Heather recently posted..Review and Giveaway – Paradox by Claudia LefeveMy Profile

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