Title: Anna Dressed in Blood (Book 1 in Anna)
Author: Kendare Blake
Publisher: TorTeen – Tom Doherty Associates
Release Date: August 30, 2011
Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story… 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.
I didn’t really like this book. Compared to the rest of the books I’ve been reading lately, this one just wasn’t up to par. Of course, I may be a little prejudiced because I don’t really like the horror genre in general. Movies, books, TV shows, whatever, if it has spookiness and grotesquely bloody scenes, I generally don’t want any part of it.
That being said, the idea of the book intrigued me, or else I never would have picked it up. I liked the idea behind it, the basic plotline, and the characters – at least Cas, his mother, Anna, Carmel, and Thomas. Those were my favorite. Cas and Anna could really be felt through the voice coming through. However, some of the reactions to bloody scenes were completely unrealistic. Teenagers are not going to be as calm as these were in such bloody and personal situations. It was kind of annoying after I as the reader was having a stronger reaction to the descriptions than any of the characters.
This, though, brings up another point. Even though it’s not something that I love to read about, the writing was exceptional. The details and descriptions, although pretty horrifying at points, were brilliantly written. Whether or not I wanted to picture the scenes in my mind, the images were so strong and the words so forceful that I had to imagine them. So, even though there were times when I wanted to puke due to the blood and death, etc., if the horror genre is your thing, then I definitely suggest you check out this book.
**Note: Due to severe violence and grotesque/gory material, as well as some profanity, I do not recommend this book to anyone under the age of 15.