Review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

February 13, 2012

Hardcover, 316 pages
Published August 30th 2011 by Tor Teen

Rating: 4 Glasses

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 wasn't actually going to the library that day to get books, but I couldn't help myself when my feet dragged me towards the "new book" section. I know that most of the books in this "new book" section are at least a year old, but "new book" section is easier to say than "slightly new book section". Anyway, this book looked pristine, no wrinkles on the pages, no scratches on the cover. It was in perfect condition. So, I guess I did judge the book by it's cover - which I really liked as well. Plus Cassandra Clare liked so... *shrugs*

So when I finally finished reading it, it left me with that overbearing sense of, "Well, I liked it, but god that was such a bitter sweet romance." And the weird thing was I thought I would get over that feeling, but I haven't.

It's told in first person by Theseus Cassio Lowood, or Cas for short, who kills ghosts for a living and can't help moving a lot. He's witting and is really entertaining. His mom and he travel all around the world looking for ghosts that he can slay with his sword after his father died. That is, until he meets Anna. At first I didn't get the whole concept of how he kills the ghosts, but I can assure that by the second chapter you might be thoroughly freaked out. He meets Thomas, a kid at his school who can read minds, and Carmel, the queen bee who joins his group of make-shift helpers. There are a couple other interesting characters that I wished Blake talked about more, but it's mostly the teenagers that hold this book up.

Even though the names are kind of funky in the book, if you look past it, it's pretty awesome. The story moves along in a very even pace and a lot of cool twist and turns happen along the way. It's definitely not like one of those Ghost/Human love stories either. This girl has been trapped in this house for years and kills anyone who enters. She brutal and scary. Cas kills dead people for a living. You can't get a weirder couple than that. It's not love at first sight and is probably as realistic as you can get with this type of romance. Although, if I were Anna, I think I'd fall for Cas a whole lot quicker than she did. He's polite but has that whole badass thing going on and it's just... *swoon*

I think that despite its sometimes weird death scenes and a bittersweet romance (take that as you will) Anna Dressed in Blood holds its own. The writing is wonderful, it's completely original and guaranteed to be interesting enough that you won't be able to put it down.


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