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Girl of Nightmaresby Kendare Blake
Reading Group Guide
* Note that these questions reveal much of the novels plot; to preserve your reading pleasure, please dont look at these questions until after youve finished reading the book.
1. In the opening chapter of Girl of Nightmares, Carmel tries to help Cas develop a normal social life. What are three reasons this is a doomed effort?
2. Why is Cass encounter with the ghost in the Grand Marais barn unusual? How does it affect his relationships with Thomas and Carmel?
3. Why do you think Gideon and Morfran are so reticent to discuss Cass lingering sense of Annas presence? What finally makes Cas decide to travel to England?
4. Who is Jestine? Does the fact that she is being groomed to “replace” Cas alter your understanding of his power or the nature of the athame? Explain your answer.
5. Why does the Order want Cas? What do you think Cas hopes to find in agreeing to take the journey to find them? Do you think he is right to allow Jestine to lead them? Why or why not?
6. How does Jestine betray Cas and his friend when they stop at the inn en route to the Order? What does this reveal about the very different understanding Cas and Jestine have of ghosts?
7. In Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas says to Anna, “Im the only one in the world who can do this. Doesnt that mean its what Im supposed to do?” (p. 139) Can you imagine Jestine saying a similar thing to Cas in Girl of Nightmares? How might Cas and Jestine explain this notion of obligation in different ways?
8. How does Cas at first misunderstand the nature of the ritual the Order asks him to undergo? Why do you think he chooses Thomas to be his anchor instead of Gideon?
9. What is the Obeahman? How is he different than an “ordinary” ghost? How is the Obeahman tied to Anna and to the athame? How does Cas free the other ghosts? Do Cass actions toward the Obeahman change the athame itself?
10. What happens in the final moments Anna and Cas share before he returns to his friends? What do you think it means that Cas can see himself in the doorway to the Victorian house, as well as hear himself beckon from the chamber where Thomas and the others wait?
11. Do you think Carmel will remain loyal to Cas—and to Thomas—after the novel concludes? Do you think she has a right to a “normal” life without the risks and heartaches that the boys magical powers cause them to suffer? What advice would you give to Carmel?
12. Do you think Cas is right in his distaste for the Order? If you were Cas, would you choose to abandon the order entirely or would you take a different approach? Explain your answer.
13. Girl of Nightmares asks an important moral question: Is a doctrine true simply because it has been taught to you since you were small? What, if anything, makes one ideology more “right” than another?
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