Review: Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake

Saturday, July 21, 2012 8:41 PM
Title: Anna Dressed in Blood
Author: Kendare Blake
Published: October 17, 2011
Publisher: Tor Teen
Series: Anna #1
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Pages: 316
Source: Purchased
Rating: 4 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
“Yes. Smashing. You’ll be just like those four chaps in the movie. You know the one, with the oversized marshmallow.”
― Kendare Blake, Anna Dressed in Blood 

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, 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. (Goodreads)
My Thoughts
Anna Dressed in Blood was an amusing and heartfelt read. Overall, it was a fun read. Blake added a lot of humor, from the names of the characters to the banter exchanged between them. I mean who in their right mind names their child Theseus Cassio? Yes, I understand if you love Greek mythology and Shakespeare. Me too! But do you hate your child? I think the repeated insults about his name and the reminders of its silliness was well-done and humorous. As for Cas's friends, I really liked Thomas. He was the perfect sidekick with his undying loyalty and his nerd factor. Come on, he read minds, but he also got weak in the knees whenever he saw his crush Carmel. He was adorable and the perfect friend for Cas with all his weirdness. Thomas actually reminded me of Xander from my favorite show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He had the great jokes, but he had no fashion sense AT ALL.

Hello, Thomas/Xander. 

I loved how Cas found friends in Thomas and Carmel. It was touching to see Cas actually interact with the living which the reader can assume doesn't happen often. He doesn't stick around in one place for long, and friends aren't exactly an option. That he finally found friends and the friendships were so convincing was absolutely adorable. When he realized that Thomas was probably his BFF, I almost cried out AWWWWW. Bromance. And as for Carmel, she was not as annoying as I thought she would be. Yes, her name is obnoxious. Worse than Theseus Cassio in my opinion. But Carmel proved herself as Anna Dressed in Blood progressed. She was sassy and a fighter. Plus, she was loyal to her friends and not a complete bitch. She was more than just a rich girl who's full of herself. 

As for the rest of the characters in Anna Dressed in Blood, I especially loved Cas's mom because her maternal nature and her concern for Cas were realistic. She cared for her son, and it was nice to see a close mom son relationship. Plus, she wasn't exactly normal herself with her witchy ways. I found all of her superstitions, constantly touching his forehead with oil and doing protection spells or whatever, funny because it was the concerned, overprotective mother but it was also amusing because she hardly resembled the norm. And then there's Tybalt who was one wicked cool feline. He smelled spirits, which is an awesome skill for a cat. Also, he pissed off Cas from time to time, and that was hilarious.

Now, last but not least, Anna, the true star of Anna Dressed in Blood. I loved Anna. She was tough, otherworldly in power, but she had flaws. To think that a murderous ghost could feel jealously is cute and also funny. She was sweet and endearing. She was strong and fierce, almost downright frightening covered all in blood with her hair swimming in the air like tentacles, but she was still burdened by loss and so much grief. Who said you can't have a conscience while also being dead? 

My only complaint with this book was the stereotypical jocks and popular girls. Plus, Cas thought he was the shit. He was a little too full of it. The jocks, besides Will, were just a little too thickheaded for my liking. They reminded me of cavemen at times. This girl, she mine. Not that they sounded like that or they said that exactly, but you get the idea. And Carmel's clique was stereotypical as well. The way they fawned over Cas made me want to gag a bit. Plus, Cas was just so much Dean Winchester. 

The lost father who he wanted to please even when dead. The lack of friends or companions. The suffering and loneliness but also the self-absorption. 
“Sweetheart, my father and I have put more ghosts in the ground than you can count."
Is he trying to get laid? Sweetheart? While I found him amusing most of the time, sometimes I was really awestruck by how full of it he really was.

Nonetheless, I highly recommend Anna Dressed in Blood. While it wasn't as scary as I predicted, it definitely had a couple of creepy moments when I was reading alone at night. Gotta stop doing that! The villain is definitely worth your time reading about. He's one tough ghost. I can't wait for the sequel, Girl of Nightmares, and its expected publication date is August 7th! Great summer of reading here!

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