Publisher: Tor Teen
Pages: 336 (Hardcover)
Series: Anna #2
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.
Hey hey, and welcome to…
The Mighty Kingdom of Spoilers… YOU ARE THUSLY WARNED!
Now you may remember that I read Anna Dressed in Blood in the not too distant past. And now I am here to spin you a yarn of lost love (of the deceased), horror-ish, and mystic druidic orders.
I am of course talking about Anna’s return in Girl of Nightmares. So lets take a look at this. In the last book Anna sacrificed herself to destroy the Obeahman and save the day… And now it’s 4 months later, Cas is up, walking around and still whining and not a lot else seems to have actually happened.
This leads me to my first problem with this book. The severe case of second book syndrome. This reads less like a sequel and more like a lot of padding before the ultimately obvious ending. But I actually enjoyed it. It was a very easy read, that burned away all too quickly. I just tire of all the self absorbed ‘woe is me, life without Anna is unbearable’ bollocks.
As this book starts, Cas seems to be stagnating to me. He is very much stuck in a rut. He’s still in Thunder Bay, he’s still going to school, and he’s still spending his free time hunting the dead. Except now he’s that focused on the events of four months ago, and that is putting others at risk. Which, y’know, is not cool. So this sets up the book, a travelling tale of 3 young adults and a knife.
The writing remains at the very close to adult end of YA, lots of cussing, lots of violence, lots of creep and some hell dimensions. But interspersed with all of this is a lot of sarcasm and dark humour that preserves the eerie atmospheric tone of the novel. Despite the lots of little things that irked me about the book though, there were a lot of ideas that I quite liked. The nod to the old joke that every pub in Scotland is haunted, having been there a few times all the pubs I went to were reputed to be. The suicide forest, this is actually a very British Urban Myth and I heard a lot of variations on it growing up.
But all of the padding that led to the conclusion, in my mind was unnecessary. It just felt like a bit of a cash in. Don’t get me wrong, I want to read more of Cas’s stories, even if he is whiny and self absorbed and obsessed with a dead girl, BUT he is likeable enough, in the way that the Winchesters of Supernatural are likable to be honest.
But the fact remains that I wanted this to be more. I wanted it to be the next level in YA horror. I wanted it to push some boundaries and to be… I don’t know just more, better, stronger… and it wasn’t. But it was still an enjoyable read despite all of my grizzling and grumbling about it. I’d still read both books again and I would recommend them… Not for everyone but I would definitely give it a nod as probably the best YA Horror mini-series that I have read.