Thursday, October 4, 2012
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Title: Anna Dressed in Blood
Author: Kendare Blake
Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story...
Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder 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: move, 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, but now stained red and dripping 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.
And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.
Anna Dressed in Blood on Goodreads
Anna Dressed in Blood on Amazon
Kendare Blake's Website
She turns to me. "We're in on the secret now, aren't we Cas? And it's taking us out of the world."
"That's usually the way it works," I say softly.
When I first started reading this book I was a bit apprehensive about it. I don't mind ghost stories, but I had a hard time wrapping my mind around ghosts that are tangible and 'killable' I suppose. I get the idea of banishment and spells, but stabbing with a knife? It was weird, at first.
But then I got sucked in to this story and it all made sense.
Cas is a teenage boy and this book is told from his point of view. He has inherited the job of killing murderous ghosts after his father was killed by a particularly nasty one. He and his quirky pagan/white witch mother travel around the country seeking out ghosts.
His journeys land him in Thunder Bay (Canada) where he finds out about a ghost named Anna, who was killed while wearing a white dress. The dress is now bathed in her blood which earned her the nickname Anna Dressed in Blood. Anna haunts her old house and murders everyone who enters.
For some reason she doesn't kill him.
"Go," she orders, queen of her dead castle. "I don't want to kill you. And it seems that I don't have to, for some reason. So go."
Cas sets out to find out the story of Anna, and that's where this book truly shines. Along the way he meets up with a few new friends (classmates from his school) who are both interesting and fun and not the stereotypical cliche friends we get in every YA novel.
Carmel is the preppy cheerleader/popular girl/prom queen, but she's so much more than that. I'm so glad that Blake didn't turn her in to a Cordelia (from Buffy) and made Carmel a smart and funny person as well as being the popular girl. I'm looking forward to seeing more of Carmel in the sequel!
I'm not going to say anything more about the plot, because I don't want to ruin anything, but the story is just beautifully told and fun to read. It's scary, but not overly so. It's romantic, but not to the point of being sappy. The words are just not coming to me! I'll say this... it's unique. And I mean that in the good way!
Every time I open a new book I'm always hoping it will be amazing. I always want to read that next amazing book that leaves me thinking about it long after I've finished. The kind that I want to re-read as soon as I finish it. And again a few days later. And again the next week.
This is one of those books.
In a genre so full of the same cliche tropes over and over, this book truly stands out as that special something.
5 of 5 stars.
Link to Kala's review on Goodreads: