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Sunday, August 10, 2014

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Review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Anna #1
Author:
Kendare Blake
Publication Date: October 17, 2011
Publisher: Tom Doherty

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.

Yet she spares Cas's life.

Anna Dressed in Blood is perhaps one of the creepiest books I've read so far this year. In case anyone's wondering, I did sleep well. Quite well. Although maybe I've jumped a few times while reading Anna Dressed in Blood, because it was that creepy.

Cas being a ghost hunter doesn't sound too scary, but he's not a typical ghost hunter. He hunts down ghosts harming innocent people and kills them himself before they cause more damage, all with an athame passed after his father's death. Anna Korlov, otherwise known as Anna Dressed in Blood, is his latest ghost, and perhaps his greatest challenge yet. At least until his past – the ghost that killed his father – comes after him as well.

What can I say about this book? I mean, making a ghost-shaped word cloud probably isn't going to cut it, right? Although I suppose it's probably creative.

I guess I can start out with what intrigued me to read Anna Dressed in Blood. It's not because of book club (though that was part of the reason) – I was intrigued by the concept of a character hunting down murderous ghosts instead of the other way around like it is in typical horror novels, whether it's by summoning or by said character's family moving into a haunted place.

Anna's a complex character based on how she died, and I'm not going to be giving that away since it's a spoiler! ^o^ For decades her house has been empty, aside from the occasional runaway or hiker who just wanted to sleep for night. None of them make it out because she murders them brutally. But Cas is the first person she's able to show her true side to – the side that doesn't want to murder anyone. Call me weird, but I did like how a kid poses a challenge for Cas. She throws him about her house like a ping pong ball every time he attempts to kill her.

The plot's with twists too. While everyone's busy worrying about Anna – and with good reason – no one realizes Cas's past has caught up with him as well until something happens and Anna proves she didn't do anything. But it's a good change when you realize the truth the exact same time the main character does.

End/Epilogue

With everything that happens before the epilogue, I'm just as curious as Cas, Thomas and Carmel with where Anna may have gone. But I'm also intrigued what happens to her – I have questions that I'm bound to be looking the answers for in the hopefully chilling sequel!

4.5 Owls


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Sophia

Sophia is the owner and founder of Bookwyrming Thoughts, but also found on various parts of the internet. She's a 19-year-old communications major who has weird humor and doesn't fit the Asian stereotype (maybe a little). Books, chocolate, technology, and music are among some of her favorite things. For more of her work, visit her personal website.