Title: Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1)
Author: Kendare Blake
Genres: YA, ghosts, horror, urban fantasy, paranormal romance
Summary: 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.
First, two physical aspects about the book that caught my eye. The cover is pretty awesome. All black and white, but Anna's dress is dripping with red. Something is blowing across the page and her hair is wind-blown, but yet her dress is completely still. I could go on but really, the more you look at it, the creepier it gets. The other things is, the font inside the book is blood-red. Honestly, that's what first made me want to read it.
Now, about the actual story. I am not a true fan of ghost stories. They tend to scare the hell out of me, so I avoid them. This one though, I couldn't put down. So even though it's a total page-turner, I was clutching my stomach half the time, and couldn't read it once the sun went down. That’s why it took me almost five days to read it. But for those who aren’t a complete wimp when it comes to gore, you will no doubt love it. That’s the only thing that really bothered me in the book.
I also don't often read books in the POV of a teenage boy. Usually because I can't relate to them, or those books don't have the plots I like. I can't even remember the last YA book I read with a guy's point of view. Anna Dressed in Blood was nice because it gave me a break from the classic:
Boy: "I'm a monster, stay away from me."
Girl: "Oh, you’re not a monster!"
The roles are reversed. The girl (the sort-of dead love interest) is the monster, and it's more like:
Girl: "I really don't want to kill you, but get out of my house, or I'll have to rip you in half like I did your friend. Got it?"
Boy: "Don't worry, if you try, I'll kill you with my awesome Wiccan knife."
Girl: "Hey, I think we could get along..."
The supporting characters started out annoying. Just a little. Caramel was a little too nosy and kept getting in the way, so I have to agree with Cas on that angle. But as the story progresses I liked them more, especially Thomas! And Tybalt. He is Cas’s cat, so maybe he doesn’t count.
Imagine me reading through the book, screaming and laughing at the same time. That’s how I read Anna Dressed in Blood. I can’t wait till the second book comes out, Girl of Nightmares.
4.5 out of 5 only because of the amount of goriness. My tolerance levels are low.
You might also like Shattered Souls, or Hereafter. Both ghost stories, but mild in comparison to this...
Always leave the light on,
Fun fact! For those who believe in ghosts...