Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Girl of Nightamres by Kendare Blake (Review + Interview)


Young Adult, Paranormal, Ghosts, Romance, Horror
Publication.Date:August 7, 2012
Pages:332 (hardcover)
Published By:  Tor Teen
Website:Kendare Blake 

Girl of Nightmares on Goodreads
My review copy:Obtained from local library

Where to get:

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 think I killed a girl who looked like this once.
My mom comes back in with the doctor so they can start gauzing me up. She wavers between tears and consternation. I reach out and take her hand. She'll never get used to this. It eats her up, worse than it did when it was my dad. But in one of her lectures, none of her rants about taking precautions and being more careful, has she ever asked me to stop. I thought she'd demand it after what happened with the Obeahman last fall. But she understand. It isn't fair that she has to, but it's better that she does.
The "there" that she's referring to is the Tower of London, the castle-like fortress that sits on the north bank of the Thames. It's touristy and historical, the site of numerous tortures and executions, from Lady Jane Grey to Guy Fawkes. Looking at it as we cross the Tower Bridge, I wonder how many screams have bounced off the stone walls. I wonder how much blood  the ground remembers. They used to put severed heads up on a pikes and display them on the bridge until they fell into the river. I glance down at the brown water. Somewhere underneath, old bones might still be fighting their way out of the silt.
"This is a nice little cult you've got here, Burke," I say.

"We are a sacred Order," he corrects me.

"No. You're a cult. A buttoned-up, prissy British cult, but you're still a cult."

     Anna Dressed in Blood gave me nightmares. Well, maybe not nightmares, but I didn't exactly sleep like a baby while I was reading it, and perhaps a few days afterward. Every shadow was out to get me and we didn't have a dog at the time, so I couldn't blame the noises on him. Girl of Nightmares however didn't give me the same experience.

     Cas is desperate to get Anna out of the hell she got sucked into after saving himself, Thomas, and Carmel from the Obeahman six months ago. This task is only made more difficult by the fact that everybody, with the exception of Thomas and kind of Carmel, is against it. It's quite a testament to Cas's character that he is determined to free her despite these odds: (almost) everyone against it, no one truly willing to help, no idea how to cross into Anna's hell dimension then back out. Of course it doesn't hurt that Anna keeps appearing to him, so he can't really ignore it either. Not that I'm sure he would.

     I grew to like Thomas more in Girl of Nightmares. He is bound and determined to help Cas, he doesn't even think twice about what the dangers are. He knows his grandfather isn't keen on the idea and neither is Carmel, but he feels a sense of duty to help Anna. One because he wants to help Cas and two because she saved their lives. He grew up and matured throughout the novel and quickly moved into my category of "Best Secondary Characters." Carmel on the other hand, I'm unsure about. Yes, she redeemed herself and I can understand her reasoning, but surely there must have been a better way. That's all I'm going to say about that - no spoilers here, just vague comments that make you want to pick up the book.

     I would have also liked to have seen more of Anna. Aside from her ghostly self popping up every now and then to Cas, we don't actually encounter her until very late in the novel. Anna was one of my favorite characters, so I wasn't fond of that. Of course, when we do see her, she is her charming self and you can tell that she and Cas really care for one another, despite the, hum... differences in a pulse.

     Girl of Nightmares had a lost less ghost action than Anna Dressed in Blood, so that was kind of disappointing, but I get it (though I did love the scene from inside the Tower of London). Anna Dressed in Blood is about stopping a blood thirsty ghost, Girl of Nightmares is about saving said ghost from a hell dimension. Additionally, the spotlight switches from Anna to Cas. While she is still the focus of Cas, our focus is more toward him and his need to save Anna.

     So no I wasn't up all night, but I was still engaged in the story. I wanted Cas to save Anna, I wanted them to end up together - though I had no idea how Blake was going to pull that off, I wanted Cas to completely destroy the Obeahman, I wanted to find out what Gideon is hiding, and I wanted to find out what the Order of the Blah Blah Blah (aka Order of the Biodag Dubh) has to do with everything.

     Blake's writing pulls you into this story and forces you to care for these characters. She makes them so real that you really envision high schoolers hunting and killing ghosts, while trying to save one from a hell dimension. She uses amazing descriptors to put us in the scene, her narration is snarky and humorous, and while I felt the plot dragged it places, I found myself to still be entertained.

     While I missed the creep factor from Anna Dressed in Blood, I found Girl of Nightmares to be equally entertaining and compelling, while ending the series on a wonderful note. Blake did a great job with this series as it's not your typical ghost story, but yet... it is.
3.5 if you want to get technical

Welcome to Bookish, Kendare! I'm so excited to have you here with us today! No lie, I ran around my house when you agreed. I think I scared my dog... How would you describe Anna Dressed in Blood and Girl of Nightmares to those haven't heard of it yet?

I would say, it's a gory, snarky ghost story about a ghost hunter and the ghost girl he's supposed to kill. The tagline, Just your average, boy meets girl, girl kills people story works pretty well.

These books are wonderfully scary. I'm not going to lie that when I read them, I couldn't sleep and I had some pretty messed up dreams. At one point while I was reading Anna Dressed in Blood, I woke up positive that "they" were going to get me. I still don't know who "they" were. I hated it and loved it at the same time! So I guess what I'm trying to get at is why ghosts? Do you believe in them? And what about them do you find so intriguing?

Thank you!! I'm so happy to hear this. Anna has graced the nightmares of many readers, including my husband, editor and agent. But never me. I'm waiting, but I think she knows better. To answer your question, I don't know why ghosts. I never figured on writing about them. They never really fascinated me that much. But then Anna and Cas showed up, and they sort of brought me into their world full of dead people. Sure, I guess I believe in them, though I hope that they only get lost over here sometimes, or take like, dead vacations to freak us out, because I hate to think of the afterlife as being so sad...stuck in the same house, in the same loop of time. Also, "they" are always going to get you.

I love the idea of ghosts taking dead vacations to freak us out. I could definitely see something like that happen - though who's to say it doesn't already happen? Now, when it comes to these amazing characters, who surprised you most within the series?

Carmel. Easy. I thought she was going to die, bloody, and early. Why else would I have named her Carmel?

You really like carmel candy? Now, when it comes to writing, which novel was harder to write, Anna Dressed in Blood or Girl of Nightmares?

I honestly can't remember. But Girl of Nightmares was the first sequel I've ever written, so it seems like that would have had to be harder, doesn't it? Yeah. Let's go with Girl of Nightmares.

If you could spend a day with one your characters (either this series or within Antigodess), who would you choose, where would you go, and what would you talk about?

You'd think it would be Cas, because I do know him best, and I miss him a ton, but actually, he'd just want to spend the day doing ghost research and hunting dead people, and that's not fun. So I choose Hermes, from Antigoddess, because a day with him would be an adventure. I'd wake up somewhere and not know where we were, or why I was dressed in a blue kangaroo suit, and why I had a fake passport, and we may or may not have had an orgy with the entire cast of Supernatural.

Hermes sounds like he would definitely show you an interesting time. You mind if I tag along? :)  Thank you so much interviewing with me, Kendare!

Thank you so much for having me by, Andrea! Such fun questions, and I hope you enjoy Antigoddess!

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