Series: Anna (#1)
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release date: August 30, 2011
Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.As soon as I started reading Anna Dressed in Blood, I was completely sucked into the story. At first, I wasn't too sure about Cas having to find a hitchhiking ghost who kills people, because that's a well-known urban legend, but I loved what Kendare Blake did with it. She took the urban legend and made it interesting, and she pulled me into the story and kept me there until the last page.
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 ghost stories, as long as they're fiction (ghosts tend to really creep me out). Anna Dressed in Blood is no exception. As far as ghost stories go, this is one of my favorites. I loved all the layers of Anna that we got to see as her story developed. I loved it that even though she had this incredible power and rage and had done some horrible things, I still liked her. She had a scary side, but she also had an innocent side, and I felt so much sympathy for her.
All the characters in this book were great. Cas was an awesome narrator. He was strong and determined. He knew what he wanted and he went after it. But he didn't have all the answers, either, and I appreciated that. The supporting cast of characters was equally awesome. I enjoyed watching the relationships among all the characters develop, and I loved it that not all the characters knew everything, but what one character didn't know, another character did. The characters were able to share their knowledge with each other to come up with solutions, and as a result they all complemented each other so well.
The best part of Anna Dressed in Blood is that Kendare Blake doesn't hold anything back. Murder is gruesome, and she doesn't gloss over it. When we find out how Anna died, we don't get a pretty little picture of it. We get the whole, horrible, gruesome image. It would have been so easy for Kendare Blake to tell us in one sentence who killed Anna and why, but she doesn't do that. Instead, she lets us actually see it happen. I loved that, because it made Anna's character that much better for me. It helped me understand Anna better.
Anna Dressed in Blood is a fabulous debut. I was a little worried that the book wouldn't live up to all the hype it's been getting, but it did. I can't wait to read more of Kendare Blake.