Thursday, October 18, 2012

Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake

Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
ARC received by Tor Teen via ALA
Release Date:  On Shelves Now
Reviewed by:  Middle Sis Jenn
The Sisters Say: A gritty tale of ghosts and gore
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.

“This place is the thing behind madness.  There is nothing good here.  Off the map.  If you eat frustration it chokes you.  This place exists in the wake of a scream.”  ARC, pg. 286

Grotesque and gorgeous, Kendare’s writing will drag you, kicking and screaming, into a world of ghouls and goblins; a world where evil lurks inside the shadows and death is only the beginning.  She will plunge you head first into her hell, and if you make your way out, there will be blood on your hands.  Kendare knows horror, and she doesn’t hold back—so prepare yourself for the ride of your life.

If you’ve read my review of Anna, then you know that I don’t do horror stories.  Nope.  Never.  You can paint a sign that says “Big wuss,” and point it at me, and I won’t take offense.  Because it’s the truth!  But, I took a chance on Anna, and I am so glad I did.  I loved her story, from the first meeting in the Victorian house all the way to hell.  Anna, in all her splendid gore, swept me away.  So, naturally, I went straight for the sequel, and I’m so glad I did!

While I didn’t like it as much as the first book (and I’ll explain why later), I still found myself loving this world.  I love how the world of the living and the world of the dead coexist side by side, like spoons in a drawer.  You can’t touch one without disturbing the other.  Cas understands this, but he is still willing to go to hell and back to save Anna.  And that is why I love him so much!

In GoN, you can see bits and pieces of Cas start to flake away as he falls deeper into despair over Anna.  He keeps seeing horrible visions of her, and all he wants to do is save her, like she saved him.  But, in order to do that, he must put the lives of himself and his friends in the crosshairs.  Cas is such a great hero, and I loved going on this quest with him.

And of course, you couldn’t have a great story without the Scooby gang—Thomas and Carmel.  We see Thomas break out of his mold in this book, coming to grips with his power, and learning to harness it for good.  Yet, he was still the same bashful, quirky guy that is such great comic relief.  I will admit, I got frustrated at times with Carmel in this book because I felt she was being selfish.  Now I completely understand her decisions, but I felt like she flaked when she should have been stronger.

Kendare’s writing was brilliant.  There were no loose ends, and no times when I felt like something was off.  Once I entered her world, I was caught up in it, and I could not put the book down.  I just had to know how it all ended!  I love Kendare’s writing style—I’ll call it grotesque poetry.  She knows exactly when the story needs a splash of blood and exactly when it needs a sympathetic word.  Have you ever read a quote and felt the need to close your eyes and just think on it because it was just so great?  I found myself doing that quite often (ex 1:  the quote I started the review with).  I’ll say it again, her writing style is brilliant.  BRILLIANT!

Okay…so, why did I like the first book better?  One word:  Anna.  This was the first series where my favorite character was the girl mc.  Usually, I love the guy and focus on him.  But, with this book, Anna was the star, and I was disappointed that she didn’t play a bigger role in this novel.  I wanted more scenes with her—even if they were gory because she made the passion and the fear and the danger come to life. 

I also had a slight disappointment with the ending.  It was a good ending, and I understanding why it had to end that way, but a part of me wanted something different.  I won’t tell you anything more; you’ll have to read for yourself!

So, I’ll leave you with a few more of my favorite quotes from the book:

“’We don’t have a choice,’ Thomas says.  ‘The clock ticks.  Caution’s become a luxury.” Pg 218

“But even now I feel the lake over my shoulder, sitting still and sinister as the yawning jaws of a trap.  I must prefer Superior, with her waves and rages.  She doesn’t keep her violence a secret.”  Pg 219  

“She crossed over death to call me.  I crossed through Hell to find her.”  Pg 326