Friday, January 13, 2012
Anna Dressed in Blood, by Kendare Blake
Release date: August 30th 2011
Published by: Tor Teen
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 5/5 stars
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.
Anna Dressed in Blood, by its cover and synopsis, seemed like a creepy book. And indeed, it was – in a very good way. To say that this is one of the best books I’ve read in 2012 so far it’s an understatement. I believe Anna Dressed in Blood is the best book about ghosts that I’ve read.
The characters, for once – especially the MC – were realistic and felt right for the story. I don’t usually read books with male POV’s, not out of prejudice or anything, but because I don’t stumble across those a lot. Percy Jackson, Across the Universe and Angel Fire were the only ones I have experience with, and Cas’ point of view was surprisingly refreshing. It was so well written that it didn’t, even for a second, look girly. I was hyper aware as I was reading that it was a boy narrating the facts, because while Kendare Blake’s writing is full of details, the focus was on the right places. That alone pleased me immeasurably.
Now that I’ve mentioned the writing, can I say that some scenes scared the hell out of me? Horror and thriller aren’t usually my choice of reading, and Anna Dressed in Blood caught me off guard. The descriptions added suspense to the setting and made my imagination run wild, especially when, um, body parts and blood was related. This turned the story pleasantly frightening, I assure you.
It’s impossible not to be touched after discovering what really happened to Anna. The girl didn’t deserve that kind of end, and it broke my heart to see how she felt about herself and Cas. His job is to kill ghosts and send them elsewhere, but even he felt sorry for Anna. The background, not only Anna’s, but of all the characters, was really realistic. It was nice to see, for once, the Queen Bee of high school not being a bitch.
Is it only me, or have someone else gotten this Supernatural thingy while reading it? I kept thinking about Sam and Dean every time Cas took his knife out of his pocket and called someone for advice and information. Yep, I’m crazy about Supernatural, and this book resembled the Winchester’s life a lot more than I thought it would. Also, the fact that his nickname is Cas made me think of Castiel every single time :D
I’m really broken-hearted about the ending, though. What the hell? was the first thing that passed through my mind, and I’m curious about how this series will progress. I can’t wait for the sequel, and gladly, I won’t have to wait too long. Anna Dressed in Blood was fantastic in a lot of ways, creepy scenes or not, and Kendare Blake kept me hooked till the end. And am I the only one who loves Cas? Seriously, the boy is awesome. I think I’m developing a crush. Oh, well.