Review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Published by Tor Teen on October 17th 2011
Genre(s): YA, Horror, Paranormal, Fantasy
Pages: 320 pages
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library book

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.

This was a very interesting read, and I don’t think I’ve read anything quite like it. There were some bits I’m not too fond of, but not all of it was bad. There are some plot holes, but I liked the characters and the writing.

The story follows Cas Lowood, who is a teenage ghost hunter. He travels the country with his mother, doing what he can to protect the public from the supernatural. After the death of his father, he’s hunting more fiercely than ever, to avenge him by killing the ghost that tore apart his family.

Off of a tip from an old friend, he moves into Thunder Bay, Ontario (Canada represent!) to hunt a ghost named Anna Dressed in Blood. There, he meets and makes new friends, enemies … and possibly a supernatural girlfriend?

I peek over the back of the couch and there she is, my goddess of death, her hair snaking out in a great black cloud, her teeth grinding hard enough to make living gums bleed.

Alright, Cas, whatever floats your boat.

One of my biggest qualms of this novel is the plot holes. There are some huge gaps in the story that left some pretty important concepts unexplained. Like, I don’t understand the attraction between Cas and Anna, at all. It was basically insta-love, but the author tried to make it into much more, which made it even more confusing. There’s some connection between the two, but it’s not well explained.

Then there’s some big thing relating to the monster that killed Cas’s dad, but I don’t quite understand what happened with that either. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me.

Other than that, I do like the characters, and they made the story more enjoyable. The cliche is there; Carmel, the popular girl who turns out to be down-to-Earth; Thomas, the social outcast that is actually quite fun to be around; dumb jocks who mess everything up. But the dialogue is witty and character relations were fun to follow as they developed. Cas is not my favourite protagonist, but the rest of the cast made up for it.

The writing is decent; lots of creepy lines and humorous ones as well.

I’ve been Obeahed by an Obeahman? Is this like how the Smurfs say they smurfing smurfed all the time?

Overall, this was a 3.5 stars for me. I would recommend it if you’re looking for some soft horror and a not-so-serious plot. While it won’t be of much priority, I kind of still want to read the second book just to see what will become of the characters.

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