Saturday, October 15, 2011

Review: Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake

Synopsis (Goodreads):
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. 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.
My Thoughts:  Wow.  There's something about this book that sucked me in very quickly and kept me glued to the pages.  Was it Cas?  Anna's terrible, tragic story?  The world that Kendare Blake has created?  All of the above, maybe?  I don't know.  What I do know is that I loved every minute I spent with Cas and Anna and the odd band of individuals that gathered around them.  From the prom queen to the boy who dabbles in witchcraft they all tugged at me in one way or another.

It begins with Cas.  The boy who kills ghosts.  His power gives him a purpose in life that few kids his age have.  To an extent it dictates his life - it keeps him separate and moving from place to place.  He feels an obligation to use his power to help those who know nothing of the supernatural world that surrounds them.  That's honorable, but it's wearing on him slowly but surely.  When he comes into contact with Anna he sees something in her that he's not ready to face.  He sees a ghost who is driven to kill in a way that the other ghosts he's dispatched aren't, one that he finds himself liking despite her murderous rampages.  You wouldn't think that would work, but it does.  It most definitely does.

Anna herself isn't unlikable.  I usually don't say that about things that like to rip living things in half... actually, I've ended up liking the violent, feral killer-types on more than one occasion.  What does that say about me as a person?  Don't answer that.  Anyway.  As Anna's story begins to unfold you start to feel for her.  She's as much a victim as the people she's brutally murdered.  The circumstances behind what made her a killer aren't pretty and the things she's done because of them aren't pretty, but Anna is an interesting, intriguing character.

I was completely captivated by this book.  It was dark and full of blood and death.  It was gruesome at times and captivating throughout.  I am so ready for book 2 now.

More books by Kendare Blake

Reading challenges: The Horror & Urban Fantasy Challenge, The Morbid Romantica Challenge, The YA Reading Challenge


  1. My review should basically say: "Go read Kelly's review. She says it the best."

  2. Amanda: Yeah. For once I didn't write a review all about how I'm scared of clowns and spiders. :P Thank you, btw!

  3. I FINALLY finished today and wow! What friggin' ride. So looking forward to book 2. Have you seen the cover?

    @Amanda - LOL! That's what mine would look like. ;)

  4. Jen D.: Gorgeous, isn't it? I loved how dark and brutal this book was. I'm so glad we all read it!

  5. Me too! I just need to practice my speed reading for the next time we decide to do a group read. ;-)