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I Belong

Review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

TitleAnna Dressed in Blood

Author: Kendare Blake

GenreYA Horror/Paranormal

Series: Anna (Book 1)

Publication Date: August 30, 2011

Format: Hardcover, 316 Pages

ISBN-100765328658 (Tor Teen)

ISBN-13: 978-0765328656 (Tor Teen)

Reviewed by: Bridget


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.

Quick & Dirty: Hauntingly beautiful love story filled with lots of creepy moments, sweet romance, fun characters and a very unique story.

Opening Sentence: The grease-slicked hair is a dead giveaway—no pun intended.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Cas Lowood has a pretty crazy job.  He comes from a long line of ghost hunters.  Cas inherited the job when he was 7 years old and his father was brutally murdered by a ghost.  He never truly got over what happened to his father and he vowed to one day return to finish the job his father started.  He is now 17 years old and travels the country with his mother, finding and disposing of the dead. He gets a new tip about a rather vicious ghost living in Thunder Bay.  Cas figures it is going to be just like any other job, but what he finds is something he never expected.

Anna Kova, or locally known as Anna Dressed in Blood is unlike any ghost Cas has ever met. When she was 16 years old she had her throat slit.  She still wears the beautiful white dress she was murdered in but now it is stained with her blood. Now she haunts the house she once called home and kills anyone that enters it accept for Cas.  She is no normal ghost, she is filled with rage and immense power, but there is also an underlying sense of innocence to Anna.  Cas will have to travel outside of his comfort zone to defeat her.  He will have to ask others for help and protect the one thing he never thought a ghost could affect; his heart.

Cas is the hero in our story and the book is also told from his POV. Cas knows how to get what he wants.  He is charming, easy on the eyes, and a ghost hunter.  He doesn’t allow himself the pleasure of having friends.  He has never really seen the point, because as soon as his current mission is complete he will be moving on to another place.  Ghost hunting helps him to connect with the father he barely got to know.  It is something that they had in common, and the unresolved murder of his father keeps him motivated.  He knows that his father’s killer is still out there, and one day Cas plans to destroy the monster that took his father from him.  Cas was an easy character to connect with.  He has a strong voice and a likable personality.  He is funny and witty, but also loyal and kind.  I loved his character and I am excited to get back inside his head in the sequel.

Anna is a very interesting character.  In a way she is the villain of the story, but she is also a victim.  She was brutally murdered and now she haunts the one place she hated most in life — her home.  Anna’s life story is a tragic one and now she has become a monster.  She is forced to kill anyone that enters her house and she has been dead for over 50 years.  Cas is the first person in all that time that she is able to resist killing, and she finds him intriguing.  He brings out the human side to her and it turns out she is a very sweet and caring ghost.  I loved the complexity to Anna’s personality it made her very unique and different.

This was a very creepy, enjoyable read. First off, I am going to say that this book is really scary.  There are some scenes in the book that made me want to run and hide because they horrified me so much.  I don’t usually like any kind of scary movies or books, but Anna Dressed in Blood won me over.  With its wonderful cast of characters, action packed plot, and the unexpected romantic twists this book is a must read for any fans of YA paranormal books.  The writing is engaging and the book was really hard to put down.  The ending was very satisfying, but I am interested to see where the story goes in the sequel.  Also the cover of this book is perfect, not only is it gorgeous, it also fits the story perfectly.  I would highly recommend this to anyone that is a fan of horror or paranormal books, but beware you will get a pretty good scare from reading it.

Notable Scene:

Anna has pulled Mike through the window and into the house. He’s screaming and bawling like a caught animal, twisting in her grip and trying to keep from looking at her face. His struggles don’t seem to bother her. Her arms are as immobile as marble.

“Let me go,” he stammers. “Let me go, man, it was just a joke! It was just a joke!”

She sets him on his feet. He’s bleeding from cuts on his face and hands. He takes one step backward. Anna bares her teeth. I hear my voice coming from somewhere else, telling her to stop or just screaming, and Mike doesn’t have any time to scream before she thrusts her hands into his chest, tearing through skin and muscle. She pushes her arms out to the sides, like she’s forcing her way through a closing door, and Mike Andover is torn in half. Both halves fall to their knees, jerking and skittering like insect parts.

Anna Series:

1. Anna Dressed in Blood

2. Girl of Nightmares

FTC Advisory: Tor Teen/Macmillan provided me with a copy of Anna Dressed in Blood. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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