Title: Anna Dressed in Blood
Author: Kendare Blake
Publication Date: October 17, 2011
Publisher: Orchard Books
Genre/themes: Young Adult, Paranormal, Ghosts, Horror, Supernatural
Source: From my own bookshelf
Series?: Yes, book 1 in the Anna series
You can add this book to Goodreads by clicking the cover.
Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered 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. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, 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, now stained red and dripping with 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.
This was the first time that I ventured into the world of YA Horror. I must so that it thought it was good book to begin with.
This book is about Cas. I am happy that this book features a boy as the main character as YA is female POV heavy. Cas lives with his mom and his job is to kill murderous ghosts. He does nothing to the good ghosts that just hang around doing whatever they do. No, he only kills those ghosts that threaten humans. One of his jobs is to kill Anna but there everything changes. I really liked Cas. When we meet him he has this castle build around him. He moves so often for his job that making friends or getting attached is just not worth it. But Thunder Bay is different. Slowly, Cas’ walls break down and he gets friends: Thomas and Carmel.
The side characters were really interesting. Thomas and Carmel started out as cliché characters. The sulky, nerdy boy and the popular high school queen. They proved me wrong. With each page Thomas became more confident and Carmel was despite her position as a popular girl, really likable. The three of them grow really close. At first I though that there were some hints to a love triangle but luckily there wasn’t. Yeah!
Back to Cas and his job as a ghost hunter. As a precaution I read this book during the day, because I know myself and I am a chicken when it comes to scary stuff. I must say that his was not as scary as I thought it would be. There was one scary bit about 50 pages from the end, but that turned much less scary that anticipated. There were however some gory parts, so this is definitely not a book for younger readers, the warning on the cover is there for a reason! I thought the description of the ghosts and creepy things was done very well. Kendare Blake created a chilling atmosphere, but for me it never became downright scary. That turned out for the best because know I actually want to try some more horror, although I except that there are going be scarier books in the genre.
I was however not entirely sure about Cas’ relationship. It felt a little rushed. It wasn’t exactly insta-love but the attraction was just too sudden. And the object of his affection was just a little weird. I don’t know. If you read it, what did you think (No spoilers for others please!)?
All in all this was a solid intro to YA horror. I already bought The Girl of Nightmares, book 2 in this duology, which I hope to finish soon. Want to know what happens next! I give this book 4 stars.