AUTHOR Kendare Blake
PUBLICATION August 30, 2011 by Tor Teen
READ July 29 - 30, 2012
Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story...Anna Dressed In Blood has been on my radar for quite some time now. Why didn't I pick it up before now? Well, I wasn't certain that I would be able to buy into the "ghost hunter falls for ghost" thing. I mean, it sounds pretty ridiculous to me still, after finishing the novel. But Kendare Blake made it work, she took a ridiculous premise and she weaved a novel that I ate up hungrily and now that I am done? I. Want. More. This novel was INTENSE, as an avid horror fan I tend to be let down by the typical YA version of the genre. But I can honestly say that this novel gave me the willies. The descriptions are vivid and terrifying, from the disemboweling of a character to the grotesque deaths that Cas is witness to throughout the years.
Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder 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: move, 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, but now stained red and dripping 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.
And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.
Cas is our MC, our Male MC, yes we are treated to the male perspective here folks and he was awesome! He was sarcastic and sure of himself. I will admit at the beginning of the novel his self-assurance was a bit off-putting and I wasn't sure how he and I would get along. But as it went on, I realized he had every right to have the confidence that he had, he kicked ghost-ass, you can't really get more kick-ass than that. I really warmed up to him and his sarcasm had me laughing out loud at times which really served to lighten up the novel a bit. While we had our creepy deaths and ghosts lurking in the shadows, we also had Cas making light of the situation with his witty remarks. He was a loner of a boy when the novel started out, moving around all the time and never wanting to get attached to anyone because he didn't want to get himself in a situation where he would miss someone. But Thunder Bay changes his regular routine and he goes from a lone wolf to having a pack of his very own.
The people that Cas meets in Thunder Bay are varied and served to give his character a lot of depth. The beautiful "queen-bee" Carmel is someone who changes immensely throughout the novel and proves that she is not just your run-of-the-mill snob. She has an admirer in one of Cas' new found friends, Thomas. Thomas was adorable and loveable. He was a socially awkward boy who finally found a place for himself in Cas' dark and twisted reality. His mind-reading threw me for a loop at first but there is a lot of supernatural in this novel and it all fits together so well. The group spends their days at high school so of course we are also treated to the regular jocks and stuck-up girls and they are written into the story in a great way and they all play their respective parts.
Anna Dressed in Blood has the perfect balance of scary and funny, on one page you will be clutching your blanket to your chin and on the next you'll be laughing at some funny remark. This marriage of the two made for a reading experience that I will remember and recommend to anyone looking for an alluring read.