My rating in stars: 3,5 stars
My rating in words: I liked it
What it’s about:
WARNING: this will contain spoilers for book 1, Anna Dressed in Blood. Spoiler-free for Book 2, Girl of Nightmares.
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 love her.”
“That doesn’t mean to me what it does to other people.”
I absolutely adored Anna Dressed in Blood and couldn’t wait to continue the story with Girl of Nightmares. Because I just needed more. But, even though I liked it fine, this story unfortunately did not live up to the original.
If I can re-use my Supernatural-comparison, I’d say Anna Dressed in Blood is like Supernatural seasons 1-5 and Girl of Nightmares is like Supernatural seasons 6-10. Still the same characters you fell in love with, still the same amazing world, still plenty to enjoy, but also somehow missing a bit of the magic that made you fall in love with it in the first place.
For me, Anna Dressed in Blood was the highlight of this duology. It was amazing and awesome and I can’t express my love for it enough. But maybe my expectations for the sequel were too high. Maybe I shouldn’t have expected more of the same. So while I personally don’t think it’s absolutely necessary to read the second part in the duology, I’ll still give you a few arguments why you should and then you can make up your own mind.
- Cas. I don’t care that he spent most of the book moping around or thinking he was going crazy. He’s still the same sarcastically snarky, badass hunter I fell in love with.
- The friendship. The friendship between Cas, Thomas and Carmel was one of the best things in the first book. And it’s still very much present in book two. It’s not perfect, and they have some hiccups in their relationship, but it is realistic and glorious in its’ own way.
- More Gideon. Gideon was the only person in Anna who felt a bit underdeveloped. We never really got to know him, but it was always clear there was so much more to be told about him. And Girl of Nightmares definitely delivers on the Gideon-front.
- The ending. The last 25% of this book was glorious and made up for the slightly disappointing first 75%. I thought it was a perfect ending to the duology.
So please don’t get me wrong. I still enjoyed Girl of Nightmares. It had a lot of things going for it that made it a good book. But unfortunately it was also missing some things that took Anna Dressed in Blood from good to absolutely amazing. The story moved a bit too slowly, there were not enough creepy scenes, not enough nail-biting suspense and most of all, not enough Anna.
In conclusion: I definitely recommend Anna Dressed in Blood. I’d recommend Girl of Nightmares if you loved Anna Dressed in Blood and you’re not ready to let go of the characters and/or if you’re not yet satisfied with the ending of Anna. But if you’re only looking for more of the same, then maybe Girl of Nightmares is not for you.
“I’m just saying it doesn’t always have to be spirits and magic. Sometimes hauntings are in your mind. It doesn’t make them less real.”
“Your morality isn’t the only morality in the world. Just because it’s yours doesn’t mean it’s right.”
“His skin is black as a struck match, cracked and oozing liquid metal heat, like he’s covered by a cooling layer of lava. The eyes stand out bright white. I can’t make out from this distance if they have corneas. God I hope they have corneas. I hate that creepy weird-eye shit.”
“She crossed over death to call me. I crossed through Hell to find her.”
“Damsels? You get sliced open, burned, and dashed against rocks about a thousand times or so. Then we’ll see who the damsel is.”