Review: Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake

Posted July 29, 2013 by Lisa Mandina in Review / 4 Comments

Now I know I’m way behind in just now reading this book, since it came out two years ago.  But I just finally got a copy with a gift card I won to use at Amazon, well, earlier this year I got it.  And I just finally got around to reading it, and once again, I totally can see why it was so talked about!  While the cover is really cool, I feel it is a book that may be good for boys, because the main character is a boy.  And the cover doesn’t necessarily show as one to get a boy’s attention.  But anyway, this was a good old ghost story.  But a really good one.  While there were many great pop culture references throughout the story that I loved, Ghostbusters, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I believe one really good show that it reminded me of was left out, Supernatural.
The main character is Cas Lowood.  He is a ghost hunter, one who sends them on to wherever they are supposed to be, kills them if you want to think of it that way.  His father also did this, until one ghost hunt ended his father’s life.  Now Cas’s goal is to take over for his father, and get good enough, even better than his father if possible, so that he can go back and get the one that got his dad.  Like the TV show Supernatural, Cas and his mom travel the country following legends and local ghost stories.  Often people even send letters to Cas with places he should go try.  The ghost, Anna Dressed in Blood, as she is called, seems like it must be one of those myths that are just told to get tourists.  But no, something about it seems real, there have been more people that have died lately, meaning that Cas feels it is worth checking out.  When he gets to the town, he follows a routine.  His mother is a witch, a white witch, and so has her cat, Tybalt, that travels with them, and always leads the way into houses in order to “sniff” out any entities that might already be in the houses they move into.  Because while Cas may be there to solve one ghost issue, that doesn’t mean there aren’t many others there that are simpler, but could be dangerous.  The cat doesn’t seem to find anything in their new house, other than maybe climbing up Cas’s leg at one point in the walk around the house.  So they move in, and his mother puts a spell on the house keeping things out.
The next part of Cas’s MO is to get into the school, find the most popular girl, the Queen Bee, and befriend her.  See, Cas is a good looking guy, so it’s not that hard to do.  And once he’s in, he can ask around about the local ghost stories.  But Cas also picks up a shadow right away.  A boy named Thomas, who actually is a bit of a warlock himself, and actually sent the tip that got Cas on his way to the town.  And Carmel, the Queen Bee, is very friendly.  But unfortunately she has an ex-boyfriend who is very jealous.  And so at the first party that Cas meets Carmel at, he gets a hit on the ghost story of Anna right away.  In fact, her ex, Mike, and his friends, Chase and Will take him right to Anna’s house.  And they dare him to go all the way up to the porch.  Now of course this is no big deal to Cas.  But as he is looking in the window, Mike comes up behind  him and hits him in the head with a board, knocking him into the house, and out for a bit.  As Cas comes to, he sees Anna, and she is all that she is said to be.  She comes toward him, and he fears for his life, but she stops for some reason.  Then she sees Mike at the window, and reaches out and pulls him in, and tears him in two.  Cas tries to get out, but is still too out of it from being hit in the head.  Thomas runs up and pulls him out.  Everyone else has seen what has happened, but runs, not wanting to deal with Anna.  Right away, the next day/night, Cas goes back.  He wants to talk to Anna, he needs to know what makes her so powerful, because as it is, he knows there is no way he has the strength to kill her.  And also, why didn’t she kill him, why did she let him live?  But it’s more than that.  He feels a connection to her, something different about her.  And it’s not just that this ghost, Anna, is different, he seems to have picked up his own Scooby Gang (thank my love of Buffy the Vampire Slayer for that title), something he’s never had to deal with, something that may make his job that much harder, or maybe they will come in handy, and actually help him with this new ghost.
The story was great, all the back story worked perfectly, it all set up to make you like Anna, or at least it made me like her.  And so I hoped that maybe Cas could save her, and just fix whatever was the problem behind her horrible wrath.  Again, I loved this story, and despite the somewhat “girly” cover, I will be recommending it to boys who like a good ghost story.

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4 responses to “Review: Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake

  1. I loved this book! It was creepy and romantic at the same time. I was curious about Blake not mentioning Supernatural as well, since that's all I thought of while reading the book: Cas, ghosts, hunting down things. Either way, glad you enjoyed it!

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