Anna Dressed in Blood
by Kendare Blake
Plot Summary:Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder 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: move, 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, but now stained red and dripping 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.
And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.
Expectations:PictureMeReading’s fabulous review was a great recommendation and when I received the book, my Mom got to read it before me and also loved it (she’s also started the second book before me!!), so two glowing reviews was very encouraging and I had high hopes that I would enjoy this story.
Review:Cas is the real star of this book. With his snarkiness as he goes about his job sending ghosts to where they should be it sounds like it would be horrifying as well as exciting, but with Cas it is also funny. The set-up of the Lowood family being the new family in town (as they constantly travel to hunt ghosts) is familiar, along with the dynamic of people gravitating towards the new kid, Cas. Cas becomes fast friends with the popular girl (for reasons relating to his work) and when the first meeting with Anna Dressed in Blood occurs, the book takes a fantastic turn from the familiar. Anna is terrifying yet with Cas she becomes more of a lost soul that is easy to relate to. It is also easy to see why Cas increasingly finds it difficult to deal with her like any other ghost.
The horror aspect in this book was unexpectedly descriptive, as Anna is quite a rage-filled ghost, but it also made the danger visceral and explicit. There is suspense and plot twists that make Anna Dressed in Blood an exciting page-turner, almost up to the last page. I can’t wait to read the next in the series!