Series: Anna #1
Published by Tor Teen on 2011-08-30
Genres: Horror & Ghost Stories, Paranormal, Young Adult
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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.
Anna Dressed in Blood is one of those books that you see all over the place and seems almost like required reading for fans of YA. I’m glad I was finally able to read it. I didn’t completely love it but it did keep me engaged and wondering what was going to happen next. I never wanted to put the book down. But it also isn’t one I’ll pick up to read again.
Anna Dressed in Blood is actually told from a male point of view, a teenager named Cas. Cas is a ghost hunter. He hunts ghosts around the world who are killing people and “kills” them with his athame. Cas’ athame, and his destiny as a ghost hunter, came from his father who was brutally murdered by a mysterious ghost when Cas was 7. Since then, he’s been secretly researching this ghost so that one day he can hunt it down and kill it. In the meantime, he comes across a ghost named Anna who was murdered in 1958 and has been hanging around her house killing anyone that comes by since then. He thinks she’ll be a standard “kill” but she turns out to be different than anything he’s seen before. He feels a strange pull toward her and she doesn’t kill him when he ends up in her house. Together, they work to figure out what has made Anna different from the other ghosts Cas has met and find a way to free her.
I really enjoyed this book. I don’t read many ghost books but this was definitely one of the better ones I’ve seen. The characters were really well developed and pretty unique. I love male point of view books and Cas was great. He was emotional and honest and not over-the-top teenage boy. Anna was a great heroine who was complex and interesting and struggled with her past and what she wanted with her future. The supporting characters were also great, especially Thomas, although I wasn’t a fan of Will. And as far as ghost stories go, it was just the right amount of creepy.
In the end, Anna Dressed in Blood was an enjoyable, well-written book but I just didn’t fall in love with it. I gave it 3.5 stars because it was interesting and engaging and offered intriguing characters and situations, but it just didn’t grab me and make me love it. I do recommend it, especially if you enjoy YA paranormal books with a hint of romance. And as far as male POVs, it was one of my favorites. I’m definitely looking forward to reading more about Anna in Girl of Nightmares and more from Kendare Blake (her book Antigoddess comes out in September!).