Girl of Nightmares is the sequel and finale to “Anna Dressed in Blood” about months after Cas Lowood saw the last of his love, Anna Korlov and Cas have been mourning ever since. His friends, Thomas and Carmel brought him out to get into the rhythm of his usual life as a slayer and went on a trip to kill a vengeful ghost…. until when he tried to banish a pitchfork-weilding ghost, he heard Anna’s scream from its mouth. Scared out of his mind, he began to see flashes of Anna being tortured in every possible way that his family and friends started to get worried. With Cas being unable to let Anna go, he began to assumed that his visions of Anna isn’t just a hallucination and the reality was Anna was trapped somewhere asking for Cas help. And Cas will do anything he can to help her, even in death.
Although I would dare to say Kendare Blake’s “Anna Dressed in Blood” have been my favourite YA horror book last year, unfortunately, I wouldn’t say it for this book. In fact, if you love “Anna Dressed in Blood” and expect it to carry the same charisma that it held, well, you’ll be disappointed like I was when I finished with this book. I was psyched with the book (for a year I think) and I anticipate the supernatural mystery and thrill from the first book in this book but there’s barely enough of that in this book. In fact, the author changed the genre from “YA Horror with minimal Romance Drama” with “YA Drama and Romance with minimal horror”. I am not impressed at all. I had it all with these predictable romance-angst tripe in all of the YA genre and why do you expect me to take up this shit again and destroy what make the first book absolutely awesome?
Unlike the first book, Cas in this book is absolutely a chore to read in first POV. I truly like the parallel I made between Anna Dressed in Blood’s Cas and Sherrilyn Kenyon’s younger Nick Gautier but in this book, Cas is like a different being. I know that he is sad about Anna’s second death and freaked out with Anna came to haunt him again because of some technicalities but its like reading a boy point of view with specifically trying to impress the girl YA readers but inserting his emotional sensitivity near enough for female readers to feel empathy with a boy who was probably a real jackass to everyone if we didn’t know his story.
I do know boys are sensitive creatures but reading the book is like reading the female-anonymous-written-for-tv’s Stefan’s Diaries books. I am a girl, I am in literal sense a young adult but I’m flexible and definitely a reader of many books. I do enjoy every kind of genre or types of books on this earth written to whoever the author had in mind. But personally, I don’t need authors writing with specific demographic in mind. I don’t want to be stereotyped as a YA reader who wanted to read about a guy pining for his dead lover. There are hundreds of books written just about that and I was open-minded this whole time except I never expected the blurb is in literal sense is about a guy who can’t and don’t want to move on from his deader than dead girlfriend that spans from the 336 pages of it.
To add more to the sting, there’s probably very minimal main character development for Cas despite being a lengthy novel. Throughout half of the book, I was more interested with the minor characters developments. It was like when I was following CW’s Supernatural and suddenly on the season 5’s climax, the writers suddenly repeated the same tripe that was season 3 in season 6 and 7. It’s so frustrating.
The only thing that was worth reading the book was the Aoikigahara-like scene.
I do seek to experience the ability of an author to surprise me that made me an avid reader seeking the thrill of it like a drug. But this is just poor attempt to please certain group of people. I am a certain group of people who love the first book so this is a big deal for me. I do want more Anna in a series called “Anna Dressed in Blood” but at least, I do want the YA Horror and Cas’s swag back. I’m not sure if I’m going to do a rereading to this book but minimal details of gore is not enough to make the already fan-servicing book worth the effort.
Compared to the first book, this second and last book is really is a poor incarnation of a great start. I would still maintain “Anna Dressed in Blood” is one of my favourite 2011 book but “Girl of Nightmares” is probably one of a disappointment of the year which that I had subconsciously anticipate for being a second book. But the content and form of the book does not disappoint me enough to distract me from the storyline which is interesting but not intriguing enough to renew the character interest in me.