Title: Anna Dressed in Blood
Author: Kendare Blake
Publisher: Tor Teen
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 read this book after the first two books in the Ghost and the Goth trilogy, which are a light, fun look at ghosts. This book is in no way light or fun. Instead, this is like a horror movie, only I imagine what’s happening in my head, which might be worse than seeing it on a screen, and I’m not smart enough to read it in the bright daylight rather than right before bed, when it’s dark outside and I’m the only one awake, which is something I try to avoid when watching scary movies.
If you think that means I didn’t like this book, you’re wrong. This was a terrifying, terrific debut, full of horrifying ghosts and a rag-tag team of ‘Ghostbusters’ (don’t say that to Cas, the protagonist, though, because he doesn’t like being compared to them). Even after reading blurbs on the back from fellow authors who declared it was frightening and not the type of book to read before bed, I didn’t expect just how scary it would be. Maybe this is a slight spoiler, but the title ghost literally rips someone in half. And, if that wasn’t bad enough, Kendare Blake is very descriptive. I loved reading this book, but there were some moments when I was staring at the book, mouth wide open and shocked at what I just read, in a good, disgusted way.
From the very first chapter, I was hooked and wanted to know what was going to happen to Cas. This was a fast read because I had to know what was going to happen next. There were plenty of twists and interesting characters to hold my attention until the very end, which has me now anxiously waiting for the sequel. The only problem I had was how the characters sometimes seemed neglected in terms of being fleshed out. They were interesting and I cared about most of them, but I wish they seemed more realistic than they did. Of course, if they show up in the sequel, I’ll probably learn more about them, so I hope that’ll be the case.
So, after I finished this book, I can easily give an amazing piece of advice in regards to this book: don’t read it in the dark, when you’re alone and ready to go to sleep as soon as you finish reading. If you’re looking for a fun book about a ghost and a ghost-hunter falling in love, this is not the book for you, but it was certainly the right kind of book for me, even if it terrified me at the same time.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars