Thursday, August 25, 2011

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

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.

This is one of the best ghost stories I've read in a long time. The scenes are vivid, the tone is creepier than all-get-out, and the characters are fun. And the cover? Stunning.

I liked Cas's smart mouth and keen observations. Anna is a great character, too. Much more complex than your typical ghost. She does a fabulous job of putting Cas in his place. I absolutely *loved* how Anna’s story and Cas’s father’s story intersect. Stories that twist around in unexpected ways are my favorite kind. :)

There is so much I want to gush about in this story, but I’m worried about giving too much away. So I’ll limit myself. :) The pacing is spot-on, the clues are subtle and well-placed, and I absolutely could not put this book down. And, can I just say I think it’s awesome that Cas has a great mom? It’s so refreshing to see decent parents in YA stories.

There were only a few places where I was hoping for more, a resolution with Gideon being the biggest. Considering the way their last conversation surrounding Cas’s father ended, I was hoping to see another interaction between Cas and Gideon. If only at the very end. And, the whole Carmel/Thomas thing was predictable from the start, but I was okay with that. The ‘how’ made for a great journey.

The story is on the gory side. When you combine that with the great writing, you get some vividly gory scenes in your head. I’m not big on gore, but I was still okay with it. But if gore definitely isn’t your thing, then this might not be the story for you. Also, the f-bomb is dropped a few times, along with some other swear words and a scene depicting horrible abuse.

Still, if you like ghost stories, this is a really good one. Definitely recommended.

For a chance to win an ARC of this book, go here and fill out the form. The contest ends this saturday, so good luck!


Kelly Hashway said...

This sounds great. I'm entering now.

Midnyte Reader said...

OMG I MUST have this! Thank you for posting. I love ghost stories.

Lena Coakley said...

I'm so glad to hear this is good. I love the title and I love a good ghost story.