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Monday, September 19, 2011

Anna Dressed in Blood - Review

Anna Dressed in Blood
by Kendare Blake
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: August 30, 2011

Format: Hardcover, 316 pages

Source: Bought from Barnes & Noble

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. 
- Summary from Goodreads 

What I liked / didn't like / was indifferent about

  1. ( ) The Main Character(s) - I loved Cas. Sometimes males aren't portrayed realistically in YA fiction, but he was. He's stubborn, protective, and has a strong moral compass. I felt that his character was fairly straightforward, but Anna on the other hand was incredibly complex. I enjoyed finding out *why* she does the things she does. I even enjoyed reading about the secondary characters in the story, from Cas's cranky spirit sniffing cat to the new friends/allies he makes at school. 

       2. ( ) The Relationships (family, friends, romantic, etc.) - I loved the exchanges between Anna and Cas. They were filled with suspense, and you could tell that Cas felt an internal struggle on how to handle Anna. 
.     3. (  ) The Setting - I was surprised when I realized that this book was set primarily in Canada! I  generally don't envision Canada as a paranormal nesting ground, I'd usually expect those to be in the deep  south US or in London, but this book proved me wrong. On another note, I consider Anna's house a setting  within itself - it's definitely the most disturbing haunted house I have ever read about. 

4.     4. ( ) The Action/Plot - This book was filled with action. Some of it was related to Anna, but not all. I can't say much more than that without spoiling things. 

   5. () The Writing - Ms. Blake's writing is fluid and descriptive. I could perfectly envision the scenes she wrote. 

     6. () The Pacing - While there was plenty of action in the book, the pacing of the main story line was somewhat slow for my taste. We didn't even meet Anna until about 50 pages in.

        7. ( ) Uniqueness of the Story - This story was unique in that it was actually SCARY. There are few YA novels that can boast that. I've also never seen the ghost hunter aspect written about in YA before. 

      8. () Did the book make me FEEL something? - Most definitely. I felt for Anna. Pick up this book, and you'll know why!

9.     9. () Ending / Cliffhanger - I liked that this book didn't end with a HUGE cliffhanger likes some books do. Some story lines were tied up, while others were left open. Perfect, in my opinion.

        10. () The cover  - I LOVE the cover! I bought it in hardcover from B&N specifically for the cover. I love the image of Anna in her white dress with blood flying around. I also enjoyed seeing an actual picture of her house.
   Overall, I thought this was a fantastic debut! I haven't been this creeped out by a book in a while, and I can't wait to find out what happens next.
   Would I read this book a second/third/fourth time? Possibly, but I'm fairly sure I can remember what happened without reading it again.
I would recommend this to people scary movies, complex characters, and who can handle a bit of blood and gore.

Anna Dressed in Blood gets 9 / 10 caffeinated smiley faces        
☺/ 10



  1. Just started reading this book so I found this review very helpful, thanks! :)

  2. I think this is a must read for me, it looks sooo good :D

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