Title: Anna Dressed in Blood
Author: Kendare Blake
Publisher: Tor Teen
Pub. Date: 8.30.2011
Description (from Goodreads):
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.
I'm the biggest wuss ever, so I rarely ever pick up horror novels, but it was absolutely impossible for me to ignore a book with a cover this gorgeous. Plus I kept seeing tweets and reviews gushing over the greatness of ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD. All this goes to show that, for better or worse, both cover art and bloggers can have a pretty big impact on a reader!
I honestly wasn't expecting this book to be as gruesome as it was. It isn't the jumping out and whatnot that makes me skip horror under normal circumstances, it's the gore. My imagination is just a bit too vivid... But, though there were a couple spots where I set the book aside for a moment or two The gory scenes weren't overly long or extravagant, which made them easier for me to stomach. One should note, however, that my idea of gory is actually quite tame... I have a sneaking suspicion most readers wouldn't bat an eye at these scenes that had me taking a moment to collect myself.
The only part of ANNA that I wasn't completely sold on was the romantic plot line. At first I wondered how Blake pull off a romance between a bloodthirsty spirit and a teenaged ghost killer, but she actually made it seem surprisingly possible. Still, I didn't buy it... the love story just didn't fit for me. I think, that in my mind, romance and horror are too distant to mesh convincingly.
Overall, this was a fantastically creepy debut and I'll definitely be reading Kendare's next novel.
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