Book Review: Anna Dressed in Blood

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Anna Dressed in Blood Cover

Title: Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1)

Author: Kendare Blake

Summary: [from GoodReads]

 Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story…

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.

My Review

I’m not big on scary book in the literal sense. I’m okay with most monsters, but thrillers are pretty much out. That generally includes ghost stories (I was that kid at 5th grade camp who actually believed in those and stayed up all night trying not to wet my pants every time the wind howled or a branch scratched the window). But with so many people recommending it to me, I knew I had to give it a try.

The thing I really appreciated about this book is that it’s spooky without being terrifying. What Anna does to people as a ghost is awful, but we get to see her in another light with Cas. Instead of being afraid for her, I felt sorry for her. She didn’t want to do those evil things, so I wanted to help her more than she scared me. It was enough to make me flip through the few gory bits that had my stomach turning, so I could read about the more fun stuff.

I will say that this book wasn’t the blow-me-away success that most other people seem to find it. It was a fun book, had a little bit of a scare, and I did like it. But at the same time, it falls squarely into the YA Paranormal category that I overdosed on this summer. The high-school romance with a supernatural creature thing still turns me off a little. For example: logistics. She’s a GHOST for crying out loud. Okay so obviously she’s corporeal some of the time, but how does Cas think this is ever going to work out in a good way? SHE TEARS PEOPLE IN HALF!!! Admittedly against her will, but still!

Putting all of my own personal problems aside, Anna Dressed in Blood was very well written and executed. If you’re looking for a fun Halloween scare, this is definitely the book for you!

Leave a Reply

8 Responses to “Book Review: Anna Dressed in Blood”

  1. “Okay so obviously she’s corporeal some of the time, but how does Cas think this is ever going to work out in a good way?”

    That, I think, is part of the tragedy of this book. Also, that’s a question that’s answered in the next book.

    • Anne says:

      Aha! So I’m asking the right questions! That’s always good to know 😛 I will definitely be reading the next book eventually, so maybe I’ll get some answers :)

  2. That’s one of the things I’ve never gotten when it comes to romance in ghost stories — the romance between a real person and a ghost. It just doesn’t make sense to me! But I did like this book and it wasn’t too scary. I have a fine time with scary books because I don’t scare easily. I’ve had PLENTY of scary moments growing up, but with reading, I just don’t get scared.

    I’m glad you liked this!

    • Anne says:

      I’m finding more and more that reading scary stuff is much better than experiencing it any other way – I still won’t see horror movies, because generally there’s lots of gore (I still have nightmares about the one scene in Hostel something or other that we were forced to watch in my pop culture class). It’s easier for me to keep it at a remove if I’m just reading, you know?

  3. Alexa says:

    I think I felt the same way about this book that you did. I liked it and thought Anna was pretty darn cool but I really didn’t find it to add much to the genre it is part of.

    Thanks for the great review, glad you still enjoyed the story even if you were not blow away by it

    • Anne says:

      Glad to hear I’m not alone! I’ve heard so many people rave about this book that a tiny part of me wondered what I missed that made it just short of awesome.

  4. christina says:

    I was actually surprised at how gory this was for a YA novel. That alone impressed my love-all-things-gore-and-ghost soul.

    I’ll eventually read the second in the series, but am also pleased that the ending was NOT a cliffhanger.

  5. […] week I reviewed: Dark Shadows (an awful AWFUL movie!), Anna Dressed in Blood (a creepy thriller) and The Knife of Never Letting Go (a book about mind reading, which is also […]

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