ISBN – 978-1-4063-2866-0
Publisher – Tor Teen
First Published – 2011
Pages – 316
“Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.
But she, for whatever reason, spares Cas’s life.”
Please excuse my somewhat dodgy and probably rather short review. Most of you might know I’ve been absent for a little while, so I read this ages ago and considering my terrible memory I’m sure I will forget to cover a bajillion different things that I had initially planned to.
‘Anna Dressed in Blood’ was one of the hugely hyped debuts of 2011 and I definitely felt that for the most part it lived up to that hype.
The story follows Cas, a ghost hunter, which to start with is awesome. I love ghost stories and anything creepy, and that is exactly what this book looked like - the first thing I thought of was Supernatural (the TV show, which is amazing!). However, I fell that this book fell a little flat on the creep factor.
Now don’t get me wrong, if you are easily scared, then don’t read this at night. But if you’re like me and it takes a lot to even get you remotely freaked, then sadly Anna just isn’t going to do it for you.
I don’t want to sound like that’s Kendare Blake’s fault at all. It isn’t; her writing was wonderful and it’s definitely gruesome, which I really admired. Not a lot of YA books describe people getting disemboweled these days (we totally need more of those… man, I’m such a psycho) so it was good to see someone getting into the spirit of a true horror story. But personally, I didn’t find it scary.
Cas was a really interesting character though. I loved that we got to see the whole story through his deliciously snarky head. Blake’s writing really shined here and I think it was her ability to drag my right into what Cas was feeling that sold me on her writing. His connection with Anna was brilliantly crafted and something really original.
And now the part I’ve been really wanting to talk about… Anna. Can anyone say WOW?!
Anna was definitely the highlight of this book for me. She was such a brilliantly twisted character and the slow reveal of her story was done perfectly. I loved her growth as a character and how she was so beautifully terrible when we first met her. Now that is the type of character I want to see more of. She was original, amazing and totally what I had hoped for.
I felt that she mellowed out a little too much towards the end of the book compared to how she started out, but I suppose that was inevitable and didn’t stop me loving her as a character.
There’s a definite story arc building it’s roots in Anna and it looks to be incredibly interesting. Clues are laid down, characters and presented and all in all, I can honestly say that I’m hooked. I know I wasn’t entirely sold on the creep factor, but the characters, the lovely descriptions and Kendare Blake’s spectucular and daring writing really did haul me in. I’m telling you now, this is one 2011 release you don’t want to miss.
Rating (out of 5):
” ‘But… everythingg I want to talk about I can’t say to them. It feels so separate, like I’ve touched something that’s taken the color out of me. Or maybe I’m in color now and they’re black and white.’ She turns to me. ‘We’re in on the secret, aren’t we Cas? And it’s taking us out of the world.’”
…and because this book had so many quotable things, another passage for you all…
“I’ve seen most of what there is to be afraid of in this world, and to tell you the truth, the worst of them are the ones that make you afraid in the light.”