Book: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Series: Anna Dressed in Blood #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy / Young Adult
Buy A Copy: Amazon / Book Depository
Available Formats: Hardcover / Ebook
Edition I Reviewed: Advanced Reading Copy
Publication Date: September 1st, 2011 (Tor Teen)
How Did I Get This Book: From Publisher, For Review.
First Sentence: "The grease-slicked hair is a dead giveaway - no pun intended."
Description: 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.
Alright guys. I am going to be completely straight with you – I loved, loved, LOVED Anna Dressed in Blood. I don’t know if you are all familiar with Kendare Blake (she is also the author of Sleepwalk Society), but let me tell you a little something about her; she has an undeniable way with words. I am not kidding, she absolutely stops you in your tracks. I have a feeling that she could write about sweeping the floor and I would be fully entertained.
Blake manages to blend her writing style, subject matter, characters and dialogue perfectly to produce an eerie, exciting and dynamic story. The overall tone of Anna is reminiscent of Supernatural (where are my Winchester fans?). it’s dark, gorgeous, brutal, haunting, gripping and just downright entertaining. Blake doesn’t color inside the lines, she takes the characters and storyline places you wouldn’t expect. As I was reading, I had absolutely no idea how the book would end. Well, I take that back. I thought I knew where we were going, but then I would be completely wrong.
Cas, the main character, is such a wonderful character who is both easy to connect with and charismatic. He travels around the world hunting down and ridding the world of ghosts who have gone bad. it’s a family business – he’s father was actually killed on a job. That leaves our hero in an interesting position; he’s now both the head of the family and the numero uno hunter. Those are some big shoes to fill and he has a difficult time really facing his feelings. You root for Cas, you want things to work out for him. He’s incredibly likable and just all in all, a cool dude. He has a sadness to him that makes him vulnerable, which is the perfect contrast to his ghost-killing side. In short, it allows him to be both dynamic and relatable. Nobody is strong all the time, everyone has a weakness.
And let’s not forget about Anna. She is after all, the real star of the show. Anna, my friends is a ghost. A ghost that Cas sets out to kill. When I was first introduced to Anna, I am not going to lie, she totally freaked me out. In a good way, of course. I mean ,who doesn’t love a good villain. But what makes Anna such a wonderful character, is that she isn’t simply black-and-white. You see, she has layers my friends. I am not going to dive into her storyline, because I want you all to be as shocked and surprised by the rollercoaster ride as I was.
When looking back through my notes and reactions, I now see that there isn’t really an eloquent way to phrase how much I enjoyed Anna. I remember saying a lot of shut the front door’s and no freaking way’s. In all honesty, I could not put this book down. You could not have pried it out of my hands for anything – it was that good. So guys, do yourself a solid and go get a copy of Anna pronto. P.S., that quote list below is the narrowed down version.
Girls on the other hand, have always come easy. I don’t know why that is, exactly. Maybe it’s the outsider vibe and a well-placed brooding look.
I watch him with amusement. There’s a blue light special on territorial jocks in aisle four.
She’s standing above me the goddess of death, black lips and cold hands.
I’m staring at Anna’s house again. The logical part of my brain tells me that it’s just a house. That it’s what’s inside that makes it horrifying, that makes it dangerous, that it can’t possibly be tilting toward me like it’s hunting me through the overgrowth of weeds. It can’t possibly be trying to jerk free of its foundation and swallow me whole. But that’s what it looks like it’s doing.
I can feel that photo of Anna staring at me from sixty years ago, and I can’t help myself from wanting to protect her, wanting to save her from becoming what she already is.
The thought makes me reach back for my knife, my sharp, throat-cutting security blanket, as I look around.
I peek over the back of the couch and there she is, my goddess of death, her hair snaking out in a great black cloud, her teeth grinding hard enough to make living gums bleed.
She’s like Bruce Lee, the Hulk and Neo from The Matrix all rolled in to one.
Yes. Smashing. You’ll be just like those four chaps in the movie. You know the one, with the oversized marshmallow.
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 in black and white.
Four small flames ignite and illuminate our faces and chests, revealing expressions that are part wonder, part fear, and part feeling stupid.
But hey, at least we’ll have this strange story to tell, love and death and blood and daddy-issues. And holy crap, I’m a psychiatrist’s wet dream.
Stand my ground, is what I think. After this is over, I might puke. Assuming, of course, that I’m still alive.