Release Date: August 30, 2011
Pages: 316 (ARC)
Publisher: Tor Teen
Most Appropriate For Ages: 14+
Where I Got It: For review from publisher
Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.I love horror movies, and horror movies about supernatural creatures seem to be even better (see: Paranormal Activity), as do movies with gore (see: every horror movie ever). So, naturally, I was really excited to read Anna Dressed in Blood, and it's awesome characters made it even better than I'd hoped for.
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. 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: 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.
But she, for whatever reason, spares Cas's life.
I love Cas. I hadn't realized how much I'd been craving an awesome teen guy point-of-view until I had one. He was sarcastic and realistic and just genuinely awesome. Each of the side characters were fun too, and I especially loved that Carmel was popular but also gave the finger to the popular-girl stereotype. But let us not forget Anna. An interesting ghost with a good backstory? Seriously, how often do you find that?
The plot was brilliant. Even though I've read a couple ghost stories already, it was fresh and new, and there was never a dull moment. Whether it was a fight scene (which maybe seemed a little rushed at times to me at times) or just reading the character's banter, I was always entertained.
Anna Dressed In Blood is reminiscent of a not-overly-scary movie and some shows like Buffy and Supernatural, but with a cast of fantastic characters and a unique ghost, really it's all it's own. This was a deliciously twisted and exciting debut from Kendare Blake, and I can't wait for her next book.
Plot: Fresh and fast-paced.
Writing: Good, very authentic teen voice.
Ending: Sequel please?
Kid friendly? There's some swearing, as well as gore.
Should I read it? If it sounds like it's for you, then don't hesitate.