Girl Of Nightmares | Thoughts
"I don't feel anything this time. I don't wonder where the knife is sending him. When he wavers right out of existence like a ripple of heat, I'm just glad he's gone. He almost killed my friends. Fuck that guy."
I love how much Cas makes me laugh. Even reading this quote I saved has me laughing again. Girl of Nightmares picks up a few months after Cas & Co have broken the curse that held Anna captive in the Victorian, forcing her to murder anyone who entered. Cas mourns the loss of Anna, and not just as a lost love. He's certain she's suffering, and after several encounters that show Anna in various states of torture, he knows he cannot leave her in whatever Hell she opened up and dragged the Obeahman to.
“I love her.”
“That doesn’t mean to me what it does to other people.”
Despite everyone around him trying to convince him to move on, that her sacrifice was so he could live, he has questions that need answers. More than Anna, his questions concern just why the Obeahman was connected to his athame, and where exactly he was sending the ghosts he killed. Plus, he can't shake the incomplete feeling that he was not the one to defeat the Obeahman, and it needs to be him. For his father, for poor little Tybalt (they should have listened to the cat complaining about that attic damnit!), and for all the power the Obeahman has been absorbing since linking himself to the athame.
“It’s true what they say about answers only leading to more questions. There will always be more to find out, more to learn, more to do.”
Let's talk about the Obeahman for a minute. A ghost, but more present and deadly than any Cas has encountered before. Eyes sewn shut yet aware of every movement, and oh yes, he eats his victims.
And Anna is trapped with him in another dimension, call it Hell, or purgatory, or just a blank void layered atop ours where the Obeahman rips her apart, piece by piece, over and over again.
This sequel isn't necessarily darker than Anna Dressed in Blood, but it is a different dark. I played it safe and only read this in the bright daylight, and good call because there were two scenes in particular that made me shudder even then. A suicide forest of the dead jumping closer every time you turn your eyes away, and a skittering murderer in a black labyrinth...eesh. Creepy is an understatement.
What I especially loved about Girl of Nightmares is the character developments and changes to the friend dynamic. Nothing ever stays the same, and the struggle Carmel goes through as she weighs the two parts of her life is completely understandable. Once again, being in Cas' thoughts as he measures the situation with only the facts lets us stick to the matters at hand. Cas understands her reasons, does not blame her, and needs to move on to his mission. No drama necessary.
As with Anna I found the pacing perfect, the mystery surrounding the Order and the ominous undertone of voodoo and dark magic setting just the right amount of suspense. The introduction of new characters that will mean something for the future are thankfully subtle, and there is never a question or doubt in Cas' goal to save Anna from her torment. As we moved closer to the end, I found myself growing sadder...but in that happy sad way. I wasn't sure what Blake had in store, but I knew there were only so many options. I teared up. Not gonna lie. But I thought it was a perfect conclusion to their story.
“What?" she asks, but I don't answer. Instead I kiss her, one time, and try to tell her in that single gesture everything that she'll forget as soon as she turns away. I tell her I love her.”
I've been especially loving duologies. But I'll miss these characters, and find myself wishing for just one more...*Spoilery Questions* Did the Order really leave Cas alone after Jestine succeeds in her mission to create another athame? How are Cas and Jestine getting along, two edges to the same blade yet with views that differ at a core level? I suppose without Anna, though, I'd feel like something was missing.
*sigh* Into the Will Read Again shelf Anna goes!
“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.”