Friday, November 4, 2011

Review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Title: Anna Dressed in Blood
Author: Kendare Blake
Publisher: Tor Teen
Published Date: August 30th 2011

There are certain books that you wish you could give more than five stars to. Anna Dressed in Blood is one of those books.

I've been meaning to read Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake since well before it was released. Just the cover alone was enough to pull me in, but the story was what kept me reading late into the night. (Even if late at night is not the best time to read Anna if your as much of a scaredy cat as me!)

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.
                                                   ~ Courtesy of Goodreads

Anna Dressed in Blood was so much more than I was expecting it to be. And I was expecting it to be pretty good so that's saying a lot. I loved Cas! He was strong, funny and incredibly self aware (but not in a completely unrealistic way). He just knew who he was and what he was capable of. But he wasn't stubborn or pigheaded about his beliefs. He was able to change his opinion of Anna once he got to know her... even though she was a ghost and did murder people.

Anna was the biggest surprise I found in the book. The story is pretty much what you expect. Ghost hunter boy moves to town to kill murderous dead girl and ends up falling in love instead. But what I wasn't expecting was for Anna to be so badass! She was amazing, from trying to tame herself to keep from killing innocents to whooping on other ghosts. And with all of the people she's killed in the sixty or so years she's been dead, she really is a good person. She just happens to be stuck in a bad situation.

For some reason, I'm always sort of weirded out by books where the girl is the physically stronger one in the relationship. But, while this is the case when it comes to Anna and Cas, for some reason I was completely fine with it. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that Blake didn't add in the standard boy-gets-injured-so-strong-girl-has-to-carry-him-to-safety scene. I hate those scenes so much. They usually feel forced and unnatural. But Blake didn't try to emasculate Cas in order to make Anna seem stronger. Anna IS stronger, and it comes across in Blake's writing. But Cas is strong, too. He's a ghost hunter, he fights and kills ghosts for a living, he better be strong or else he'd be dead!

When I started reading I immediately noticed a few similarities between Anna Dressed in Blood and the television show Supernatural. The book opens up with the main character picking up a ghost hitchhiker, the first episode of Supernatural starts with–you guessed it!–a ghostly hitchhiker. The show's hitchhiker is known as the Lady Dressed in White. Anna, when she's not dressed in blood, is wearing a white dress. Anna's house reminded me a lot of the house that the ghost hitchhiker takes Sam and Dean to in the pilot episode. There were a few more subtler similarities, but, by far, the most obvious similarity was the main characters name. Cas. Castiel... who is an angel in Supernatural. Are you seeing this too? Not that Cas was necessarily named after Castiel. Actually Cas's name is completely unique. His full name is actually Theseus Cassio because his dad loved Greek culture and his mom loved Shakespeare, but still...

If you have ever hated a character and just wished they'd get ripped into pieces just so they'd go away and stop being so annoying, then this book is going to amuse you. It happens multiple times. So if your not a fan of gore maybe pass on this one. There is also some foul language used in the book, but I don't think it detracted from the story. In fact, I think it added to it. You don't see a boy ripped in half by a ghost and not drop an f-bomb or two. It you're put off by the language then I can guarantee this book isn't for you in the first place. Too much violence and gore. But if your okay with that or willing to overlook it for the sake of a fantastic story then you should definitely give Anna a chance.


  1. Yay! I'm so excited. I just ordered this book off amazon after hearing so many wonderful reviews for it. Your's just validated my purchase. I wish I got to this book right before Halloween, the creepiness and gore makes me think it would have been perfect to read then, but I'm still really psyched for this book! Great review =)

    Kristan @ Lost Amongst the Shelves

  2. @Kristan Anna was the perfect book to read during Halloween. That's when I read it and I'm glad I did. As creepy as it is, I'm sure reading it during Halloween upped the creep factor a few notches.

  3. I've seen ADIB popping up everywhere this week, but this is the first review I've read. It sounds seriously cool. Thanks for a great review :)

  4. Hiya :D really good review :D I'm now following your blog, very pretty header btw :) mine is

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