30 November 2012


Author: Kendare Blake
Series: Yes, #1
UK Publisher: Orchard
UK Release date: July 2012
Genre: YA Paranormal

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. (Goodreads)

First off, I loved Anna Dressed in Blood. It was a gripping and haunting ghost story. Beautifully written it had me engrossed from page 1. I just adored Kendare Blake's writing style which was easy to  read, flowed naturally and was wonderfully captivating.

Cas was a brilliant protagonist. From the first person perspective, his distinctive voice and witty personality shone through. I loved his sense of humour and purpose, and I enjoyed seeing him change from the 'loner' that doesn't want to get close to anyone to actually needing the friends he had made. For his age, Cas was quiet mature and grounded and I think his character benefitted from not being a typical sulky teenager. Instead he had a sense of motivation, and a really great relationship with his mum, whom I adored.

As soon as I heard about Anna through the ominous letter covered in blood, I couldn’t help but think of her as some evil, wretched ghost (that looked like the girl off the film Ring) and that couldn’t be reasoned with thereby needing to be completely banished. I wasn’t disappointed (Anna was a force to be reckoned with) but she was also so much more. To then have the unusual interplay between Cas and Anna was so unexpected and well done that it felt completely natural and brilliant.

The secondary characters, Thomas and Carmel were well developed, each of their personalities bouncing off each other to create humorous but very natural feeling dialogue exchanges. Together with Cas there were an unexpected ragtag group: the ghost-hunter, the witch, and the popular girl. Considering Cas kept proclaiming he worked alone, the support he had from them was unexpected but it worked so well.

Looking back there was foreshadowing in the plot that could have helped me guess the ending. But I was so caught up in the tense action, the gory horror and fast paced plot, that I didn’t pause for even a second to try to interpret the clues. I just enjoyed the story for what it was. There were certainly a few moments that had me on the edge of the seat with tingles running down my spine.

Anna Dressed in Blood is a creepy, fast paced horror thriller, with wonderfully written characters and dialogue and a ghost story to match any horror film.

Rating: 5*

1 comment:

Bookworm1858 said...

Great review! I was scared to pick this up because I'm a huge wimp but I'm glad I did because I ended up really enjoying it. Now I just need to pick up the sequel...