Title: Anna Dressed in Blood
Series: Anna #1
Author: Kendare Blake
Published: August 30th 2011 by Tor Teen
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance
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’ve been wanting to read this book for a while, but for some reason just never got around to it. It’s quick read in that the pacing is very fast, especially in the beginning.
16 Year old Cas Lowood relies on information from his informants on where ghost activity need his expertise. One such piece of information sends him to Thunder City to put an end to the local ghost legend of Anna Korlov, or as she’s called: Anna Dressed in Blood.
Even before he gets there, Cas knows this ghost is different. He doesn’t know how, or why, but he’s determined to find out. At first meeting, Anna is every bit as terrifying as her legend proclaims. She’s strong too, ripping a boy in half right in front of Cas. Strangest of all? She lets Cas go.
When he returns again, Cas finds a different scene. A different Anna. He meets the girl beneath the murderous rages, and the more he learns about her, the less sure he is that he can actually kill and put an end to her killing spree.
This is kind of a difficult book to opinionate (shh, totally a word). I really liked the beginning, with the poor hitchhiker ghosts. I really liked the first meeting with Anna, she was completely badass and would send even the toughest monster killer scurrying.
Then she became nice, and made me feel for her tragic story. Her murder was a horrible one indeed. Not so much in brutality, but the betrayal of it. That’s the problem with ghosts, they are either monstrous, or they try to make you feel bad for them. Anna is a little bit of both.
The kissing kind of grossed me out. I don’t think that was quite the sort of squirming I was supposed to have. Sorry.
The main thing I didn’t like about the story is how blase everyone is over the deaths of a couple of teens. Their own friends barely care! Yeah, I know, the dead characters are pretty much cannon fodder, and of the unlikable variety at that. Still, it bothered me.
I was also bothered by how much wasn’t answered or explained, but I’ve been told the second book, Girl of Nightmares covers most of it, so I am not going to complain about that. Hope to pick up the next book soon.
Oh, and I liked Cas’ mom. She sells witchcraft supplies online, and anoints him with rosemary oil to keep him safe while ghost-hunting.
Kendare Blake is an import from South Korea who was raised in the United States by caucasian parents. You know, that old chestnut. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Ithaca College and a Master’s degree in Writing from Middlesex University in London. She brakes for animals, the largest of which was a deer, which sadly didn’t make it, and the smallest of which was a mouse, which did, but it took forever. Amongst her likes are Greek Mythology, rare red meat and veganism. She also enjoys girls who can think with the boys like Ayn Rand, and boys who scare the morality into people, like Bret Easton Ellis.