Monday, November 12, 2012
Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
WARNING:SPOILERS FOR 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.
Anna Dressed in Blood was my favourite book of last year - hands down. In fact Liz and I have a little Anna fan club going on - no, really, we have badges and everything. I was so looking forward to reading book two and getting immersed in the world again. At the end of book one, Anna has sacrificed herself by passing on to another place taking the awful Obeahman with her. Cas is aware that he should be moving on, his athame has been purified so he can get back to the business of sending malevolent ghosts on their way - right? Well, not quite because Anna is turning up in Cas's dreams and eventually into his daylight hours and it's obvious that she hasn't passed on to a peaceful place. He's tormented with the knowledge that she's clearly in trouble but he can't help. He turns to his friends, Thomas and Carmel who encourage him to let it go. Even Gideon, his dad's advisor and voodoo practitioner Morfran warn him about messing with the door to the other side.
Cas won't let it go though, of course, and his search for help takes him to London so my wish at the end of book one to find out more about Gideon is fulfilled. However, it's in the UK that the story gets very scary. I compared Kendare Blake to Stephen King before and I say it again now - this lady can certainly write horror. I got chills as they entered the forests of Scotland - it was, without a doubt, one of the creepiest passages I've read. I won't spoil it for you but I think what happens to them there is loosely based on a real forest in Japan that I saw on television years ago. I also especially enjoyed the trip they make to see Thomas's aunt - I'll never look at gingersnaps the same way again!
I really enjoyed this book. My enjoyment of YA, whether it be contemporary, horror or fantasy, is always based upon the journey that the protagonist makes. Girl of Nightmares portrays some of the heartbreaking aspects of growing up - like first loves and succumbing to peer pressure. I loved the characters even more in book two despite the fact that I wanted to bash their heads together. There wasn't the urgency for me in this book though, despite the subject matter and their journey. At times it's quite a somber read with little let-up and when I finished I did a little internet searching to find that (as far as I'm aware) there'll be no book three. I feel that there should be another. Of course I'm going to say this, I'm heavily invested in Anna and the gang. However, if this is to be a duo then once I've come to terms with that I'm sure I'll be happy with the outcome. I can't say more without giving it away - there's so much I want to discuss with you about this!
Anna, Cas, Thomas and Carmel - I've loved you guys - farewell.