By Kendare Blake
Girl of Nightmares is the sequel to Anna Dressed in Blood, which I enjoyed as my palette cleanser after a brutal few months with Atlas Shrugged. Anna Dressed in Blood was an awesome way to recover from Ayn Rand, but wasn’t so engaging that I was intending to read the sequel. However, I was looking for casual reading over the holidays, so I picked it up on a whim at the library, figuring it would be a fun distraction.
And it was! It was actually even better than the first book! My one complaint about Anna Dressed in Blood was awfully vague, just that the pace of the plotting seemed odd to me in a way I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Well, I’ve figured out what the plotting issue was because Girl of Nightmares doesn’t have it at all. So, here’s the thing, I like a very linear storyline: protagonist has a problem, works towards a solutions, and finally succeeds. It is a little simple, perhaps, but that’s how I like it. Anna Dressed in Blood had a lot of red herrings as the protagonist and supporting characters tried to figure out what challenge they were facing and then how to solve it, but this book is more straight-forward.
Girl of Nightmares starts just a couple of months after the end of Anna Dressed in Blood, and picks up the same story, so is definitely not a standalone. I can’t really describe the plot at all without spoiling Anna Dressed in Blood, so I’m not going to do that, beyond saying that the other thing I really like is that this book is sort of the flipside of the first book. The first book follows the protagonist Cas as he hunts murderous ghosts and sends them to the afterlife; in Girl of Nightmares, Cas is trying to bring a ghost back from the afterlife. I just love that kind of mirror-image reversal treatment in sequels!
Cas also travels to London to meet with a group that sounds very similar to the Watcher Council, and any similarity to Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a-okay with me!