by Kendare Blake
Anna Dressed in Blood series; book I
I don’t really read many ghost stories. Actually, let me reiterate, I don’t read ghost stories. I’ve never really had the urge to, they just never appealed to me, but I think when I came across this book, I felt that NEED to read it (doesn’t happen often, and it’s not a feeling I ignore) so I was so happy to receive an ARC! This book is released tomorrow (Aug 30).
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.
My Expectations: High. Not terribly high because I wasn’t really sure what to expect, I just really wanted to like it.
Delivery: Ohh, it was just awesome. That ending! :)
Put-down-ability: It wasn’t extremely engaging for the first half but the second half was killer.. 4.5/10
I feel like just sticking a sticker to every copy of this book saying “I am Awesome” because dude, this book rocked.
Cas is a ghost-hunter with a few issues and a heart of gold, so naturally… Hi. *creepy stares*. The POV narration started out slightly shaky for me; I wasn’t as convinced with Cas but I thought he grew into his narration (if that makes sense) and quickly became a lovable character. Plus he has this knife. Knives are sexy*.
I liked the secondary characters of this one; I thought that Blake kept us guessing with the relationship dynamics, especially with Carmel, Thomas and Will. First impressions are never what they seem, and this is true with pretty much every character—something I loved. They weren't the absolutely most fleshed out characters ever, but they were respectable and added their little oomph to the story. And I think I need to mention Anna. ANNA. Anna Dressed in Blood because I surprised myself to falling so in love with her character. I wish I could accurately pinpoint why, but just reading about her (especially the second half) just made me ridiculously happy. Now she’s a girl with issues, starting with the fact that she kills people and isn’t even alive. But still.
Which now brings me to the plot… love! I love the whole ghost-hunting plot, but I think I loved the Anna-Cas thing even more. Things are explosive, brutal and bloody as Blake doesn’t hesitate to tease with imagery. People die. And I feel bad saying this but I was kind of going “eff yeah, that’s how ghost story is supposed to go.**” The plot was intricate without being overwhelming and was filled with some amazing twists. The ending scenes? Omg. I need a KB fangirl t-shirt.
Rating in HP Terms: Exceeds Expectations
Recommended for: fans of paranormal/supernatural YA, readers looking for a unique ghost story, male pov
8.8/10 – because I mean… *sputters*.. it’s so good! I was head over heels about the plot— it started off with a bang, slowed down a bit as pieces are being put together, then it accelerates and doesn’t seem to stop. Cas and Anna stole my heart, but I wasn’t in love with secondary characters though. The narration was solid and engaging, and the only thing I’m thinking now is… I want a sequel (yes, there is a sequel! It's called Girl of Nightmares***)!!
*just ask Nick Ryves ;)
**aka, there’s no chicken-shitting.
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