Title: Anna Dressed in Blood
Author: Kendare Blake
Series: Anna Dressed in Blood, #1
Genres: Horror, Young Adult
Publisher: Tor Teen (Imprint of Macmillan)
Date Published: August 30th, 2011
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.
Anna Dressed In Blood is one of those books that I just couldn’t resist. Quite honestly it’s not my normal genre. Despite loving paranormal books, I’ve never really read a book labeled as “horror”, and I’m not really into the whole ghost theme. But after seeing so many great reviews for it, I decided I’d give it a shot. Plus, the cover! I mean c’mon, how could you resist that cover? lol
I think I was sort of expecting something spookier and scarier though. Being that I’ve never really read a horror novel, I’m not exactly sure what to expect in terms of how I can be scared of a book. I know it happens, I’ve just never experienced it before. But this book didn’t really feel like a horror novel to me. It just felt like a paranormal book. The “scary” aspects weren’t really all that scary and there was even a little bit of romance.
That’s not to say it wasn’t good because I did enjoy it. But if you go into the book expecting something scary, you’ll probably be a little bit disappointed (at least in my opinion). Maybe I’m just hard to scare though! lol I’d like to think so.
But where I think this book really triumphs is with the character building. Especially when it comes to Anna and Cris. Both of their backgrounds and the whys of the things they do are really fleshed out and you really gain an understanding and empathy for both of their characters. The secondary characters, not so much, but that’s pretty expected, especially for a first-in-series.
One other thing about the book that was a little bit weak was the pace. I found the first half (150 pages or so) to be kind of slow. Despite a few wow moments, I wasn’t really impressed. Where the book starts to shine though is around page 200. The plot takes on a sort of twist and it gets to be pretty interesting.
Overall, I sadly didn’t love this as much as everyone else seems to. But I did like it a lot. I definitely am curious about what will happen next as the book left off with a bit of a cliffhanger and I really want to see where it goes. I think this was a pretty solid first-in-series but I’m hoping the next book will have a bit more action and adventure, and it would be nice to dive into the secondary characters a little bit more.
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