By Kendare Blake
Hardcover: 316 pages
Publication Date: October 17, 2011
Publisher: Tor Teen
Rated: ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯
4.0 out of 5 Stars
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Categories: YA, Paranormal, Ghosts
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..
With all of the hype surrounding this book, I wasn't really expecting all that much. I've found that I don't enjoy most of these over-hyped books circling the YA genre these days, but Anna Dressed in Blood was a wonderful read! My blogger cohorts have been recommending this book left and right, and I finally got around to reading it! I've read so many reviews of this book, I felt like I already knew the characters before I read the first page; most of these reviews stated that the book was terrifying. I have to admit, I don't scare easily. In fact, I think the last time a book or movie scared me, I was 7 years old watching Freddy Krueger. But this book was pretty creepy, I must say. It didn't scare me, but at 2am alone in my house, I found myself looking behind me while walking to the kitchen in the dark.
The characters were well written, and I enjoyed reading the point of view from a male character which is rare in YA books. Cas was a little over the top with his brooding, but I suppose if put into his life, I would feel the same way. I liked the fact that he never really felt like part of the living world. Although I'm not sure how well I accept the fact that he falls in love with a creepy, blood covered, murdering ghost; but hey, who am I to judge? Anna's character is fairly insane. She has been endowed with a hefty curse that forces her to murder every person she comes in contact with, she is somehow able to spare Cas's life when he enters her home. Cas and Anna are both fascinated with each other, and their relationship develops throughout the story. The other characters are also well written and described. I found myself enjoying the mysticism, the witchcraft, and the crazy rituals that were performed. Although I find myself laughing when authors use the term, Wicca to describe some ancient mystical practice. Do your research folks! Wicca was founded less than 60 years ago, and has absolutely no roots in ancient paganism! That is one of my biggest pet peeves while reading; authors that do not fully research what they are writing about, dammit!
The world building in this book is well done; I fully enjoyed the descriptions of ghosts and what they can do. It was a completely new view on spirits and their abilities. I loved the fact that ghosts had the power to kill people, to rip their limbs from their bodies or tear them in two. Ok, so maybe I'm a bit morbid, but it was definitely a new, refreshing idea. Cas's ability to kill them was sexy as hell, regardless of his broody, grumpy personality. A 17 year old guy with an athame that travels the world slaughtering ghosts and saving the innocent; I'm in Miss Blake! All in all, I really found myself enjoying this read, with the exception of the poor research about witchcraft and mysticism. I would recommend this to all the paranormal junkies out there! It was refreshing and original!
"“But hey, at least we’ll have this strange story to tell, love and death and blood and daddy-issues. And holy crap, I’m a psychiatrist’s wet dream.”" -Cas
“I’ve seen most of what there is to be afraid of in this world, and to tell you the truth, the worst of them are the ones that make you afraid in the light. The things that your eyes see plainly and can’t forget are worse than huddled black figures left to the imagination. Imagination has a poor memory; it slinks away and goes blurry. Eyes remember for much longer.” -Cas
"Over the course of my life I've been to lots of places. Shadowed places where things have gone wrong. Sinister places where things still are. I always hate the sunlit towns, full of newly built developments with double-car garages in shades of pale eggshell, surrounded by green lawns and dotted with laughing children. Those towns aren't any less haunted than the others. They're just better liars.” -Cas
"By the time I had gotten off the phone, I knew that I was going after Anna. My gut told me that she wasn't just a story. And besides, I wanted to see her, dressed in blood.”
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