Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Review: Anna Dressed In Blood (Anna, #1) by Kendare Blake

Published: 8-30-2011
Format: Hardcover, 316 Pages
Genre: Paranormal YA Fiction
Series: Anna
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis from goodreads:

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.

This book was superb in so many ways! I have to admit that I wasn't sure how much I would enjoy reading from a male point of view, because I tend to relate more to female characters, but I had no problems at all-- in fact, I found it refreshing to have a male's take on things. There were so many great elements to this book: ghosts, romance, action, gore, creepiness and humor. The author does a great job of explaining things and piecing together the story. This book also reminds me a lot of my all-time favorite television show, Supernatural, which is a plus for me!

Cas is a great main character. He's funny, sarcastic, badass and smart. He has embraced his calling as a ghost hunter, and he's extremely focused and passionate about his duties. So of course when Cas learns of a ghost in Ontario called Anna Dressed in Blood that viciously murders anyone who sets foot in her house, he straps on his deadly athame and travels to Thunder Bay with his mother to rid the town of her presence. But when Cas finds himself thrown into a situation with Anna, he is surprised when she spares his life, on more than one occasion. As Cas and Anna develop an inexplicable bond, he finds himself torn between what's right and wrong when the pressure to kill Anna becomes more urgent. Because there is more to Anna's tragic story than anyone can imagine, and when Cas uncovers the shocking/horrific details of Anna's murder he realizes that although she has taken many lives, she is also a victim herself and needs to be saved.

Anna is a constant presence in this book and you can't help but feel for her, despite the heinous things she's done. What's interesting is that she's part monster, and part regular girl; which makes the relationship she develops with Cas both beautiful and heartbreaking. She also becomes an important ally to Cas and his friends when they find themselves dealing with another malevolent force in town (which is, by the way, really freaking creepy!).

The surprising friendships that Cas forges were a great addition to the story as well. I was pleasantly surprised by Carmel. She proved to be a very loyal and understanding friend. Thomas, the geeky telepath, was quite a trip also, along with his colorful grandfather. Cas' mother was outstanding. She's a very strong woman and highly supportive. I can't wait to see more of these characters!

I'm eager to see what happens with Cas, Anna and their team of "ghostbusters" because this book ended with surprise, triumph and devastation. I'm sure the next book will be filled with just as many interesting things. I can't wait!


  1. I hadn't known that this novel was written in a boy's point of view! This book sounds so horrific and intriguing. So glad you enjoyed it! :)

  2. I'm so glad you liked it! I also liked that it was from Cas's point of view, you don't find a whole lot of relatable male narrartors. I can't wait for the sequel :0)

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