Friday, 28 September 2012

Review: Anna Dressed in Blood

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.

Title: Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna ~ Book 1)
Author: Kendare Blake
Publication Date: August 30 2011
Publisher: Tor Teen 
Length: 369 Pages
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Buy ItAmazon US / Amazon UK

Source: Purchased (Kindle Edition)
Cover Love: Absolutely Gorgeous! The red is striking against the black and white.
Point of View: 1st person, following Cas

My Rating: 5 Stars

I have never seen a ghost and I have never personally met anybody that has claimed to have ever seen a ghost.  I think this is why ghosts stories spook me.  It is the fear of the unknown.  I would like to convince myself that I do not believe in ghosts and that the things that go bump in the night are just in my imagination.  And as strange as it may sound I think if I were to actually see a ghost or have an experience then I would not be as spooked as I am about them.   It would at least clarify the situation for me and I wouldn't be as worried about what may or may not be out there.  But for now... I am a big wuss when it comes to ghosts.

So why then have I read a book called Anna Dressed in Blood which is about a ghost?  Because at the end of the day the synopsis sounded intriguing and I knew I had to put my reservations aside and give it a shot.

I am so glad that I did because this book was awesome.  Let's meet the characters shall we?

Cas (full name Theseus Cassio) is a ghost killer.  I wouldn't use the words ghost hunter to describe him and please do not call him a Ghostbuster... he hates that!  This is what his father did and what his father's father did and so on.  Sadly his father was killed when he was younger and now at 17 he has been following in his father's footsteps for many years.  He treats each case as a stepping stone to getting stronger and faster so that he can one day go back to Baton Rouge to avenge his father's death by killing the ghost that murdered him.

His mother is a kitchen witch who helps him stay as safe as possible, helps with the packing up and moving on to a new city as a new job beacons and is very supportive of his calling.  She of course throws hints his way when it comes to her wanting him to find friends, maybe choosing to stay in one town to settle into school, etc... But Cas believes nobody can do what he can do and his calling is too strong.

His latest job brings him to Thunder Bay, Ontario.  He is there to kill Anna, also known as Anna Dressed in Blood.  She was 16 when she was murdered in 1958 and her murder was never properly investigated so nobody really knows what happened to her other than her throat was cut.  She haunts her childhood home and whoever enters is killed.  Not that there is a good way to be killed by a ghost but let us just say that the murders are brutal.

In order for Cas to learn more about the area and Anna's story he must befriend the High School Queen Bee.  We all know 'that girl' right?  The one that walks around knowing she owns the place and everybody falls over their feet to do whatever it is she asks.  In this school her name is Carmel.  I didn't think I was going to like her but in the end I really did.  I loved that once we got to know her she was actually down to earth, helpful and very loyal.

Along the way Cas also finds Thomas.  Thomas walks around with wrinkled clothes, is a nerd and is a witch...  Oh and did I mention he can read minds?  He also has a crush on Carmel and it was lovely to see their friendship with each other take shape.  Obviously Thomas is the last person that Carmel would have ever normally hung out with but again I was always finding myself surprised by her.

Cas has never really had friends.  He finds the Queen Bee in every school to get the information he needs, does his job and moves on.  But this time it is different, he ends up needing their help... slowly he realizes that he enjoys their help and enjoys having them around.  He starts thinking what it would be like if he could stay in Thunder Bay rather than immediately moving on to the next city.

Enter Anna.  I loved Anna!  Dark, mysterious, dangerous, scary, kind, sweet, loving... She was a bit of everything.  Anna has killed everything that has come into her house, until she meets Cas.  After their first meeting Cas is drawn to her and continues to go back to talk to her.  Anna is unlike any ghost he has ever come in contact with.  For one she is more aware of her 'situation' than the other ghosts he has killed.  In other words she knows she is dead and what happened to her.  She is also strong, very strong!  He is driven to find out how she died and what has made her this strong.  While finding the answers to these questions you can see him starting to have real feelings for Anna and she for him.  He becomes very protective of Anna and stands in the way of her coming to any harm and vice versa.  But really what kind of relationship can a boy who is alive and a girl who is a ghost have? How will they be together?  How will it end?

Well... You will need to read it to find out but I promise that you will enjoy it!

Now back to me being spooked by ghosts.  There are parts where I was spooked and yes it is creeptastic but I was never really scared.  Freaked out is a better description.  The author does an amazing job of blending the spooky scenes and the comedy.  Yes comedy.  Cas is hilarious.  His interactions with others and the thoughts in his head really made me laugh at times.  It was a nice mixture of emotions and made it to where I was never really frightened.

I am really looking forwarded to starting Girl of Nightmares which is book two in the Anna series.  I have not been able to find news anywhere as to how many books in the series there will be but I am sure it will be more than two... at least I hope so anyway.

“... the cupboards start opening and closing by themselves, drawers slamming shut and the walls start to bleed. Slamming doors and smashing plates. Anna is acting like a common poltergeist. How embarrassing.”


  1. Great review. I haven't read this book yet, but I've heard so many good things about it. I am going to have to make time for it soon.

    1. They were really good books! Perfect reading for October around Halloween. :)


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