Book Review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake (Anna #1)
Publisher: Tor Teen
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Paranormal, Young Adult
Publication Date: 08.30.2011
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 think of her again. Anna. Anna Dressed in Blood. I wonder what tricks she'll try. I wonder if she'll be clever. Will she float? Will she laugh or scream?
How will she try to kill me?
-Cas, Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Allow me to begin this review by saying that if there is one book you get this Halloween season, make it this one. It is perfect. And even if it weren't Halloween season, this book would still be perfect. Why? Because it is unique. Blissfully, utterly, unique.

And it has a love story (or two). A sweet, fuzzy-feeling-in-your-chest, I-smile-when-I-think-of-you, love story.

Aside from everything else that is awesome in this book, it was the love story that really gripped me.  It is built on subtleties and quiet moments; on fleeting thoughts, a few words, and an understanding between characters. *Sigh* And it made me fall in love with these characters who were falling in love. I'd get more in-depth, because I just love how it all came about, but I don't want to spoil anything.

Now that that's out in the open, I'll talk about the rest of the book, because it rocked. my. socks. 

Cas is an awesome main character. His job is cool and he's traveled his whole life, so he knows a lot of stuff and just doesn't care about anything but killing ghosts. He doesn't need friends or other people's help. He's developed a system for killing ghosts, and dealing with actual people, that works for him. So it surprises him when the system begins to fail, and he finds himself in need of help. He's perceptive and his thoughts about each situation he is in are full of candor and unintentional humor.

Anna is so cool, but I don't want to spoil too much. Let's just say that you will never find me on her bad side. Ever.

The other characters who join Cas are unlikely side-kicks. Cas begrudgingly finds himself the leader of his very own Scooby gang; one that would do Buffy proud. They each help out in their own way, and by the end of the book I was in love with them too.

The story is gripping and intense. The twists are completely unexpected, and one especially was totally freaky! It was one of my worst fears, typed up on paper. *Shiver* It boasts great character development and delicious thrills. It gets violent and gory in some parts, so I'd recommend it for mature teens.

Make a stop at the bookstore on the way to your costume party tonight, and get this book. You'll thank me later. ;)

Read this if:
...you like ghost stories, you don't scare easily (or you do, but you like it), and you think you're brave enough to meet Anna Dressed in Blood.

Content Warning
*This section may contain some spoilers about content!*
Highlight between the brackets to reveal the text.
{Violence, lots of gore, and swearing.}

Other Books in the Series:

Purchase Anna Dressed in Blood:
Kendare Blake:
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  1. Sounds awesome. A very Happy Halloween to you too :)

  2. So I think I can say this without spoiling people who haven't read the book: TYBALT. Omigosh, worst part of the book for me, I was so upset.

    Okay, now that I've said that... really liked this book! Cas was just so awesome, and I agree, all the side characters were great as well. Not sure what it was, but it had that quality that made me not want to put it down.

  3. What a perfect book to review on Halloween!! I'm glad you loved this one---one of my favorites this year!

  4. I desperately need to read this, it sounds SO good! Haven't seen a negative review yet. Love how you mention the 'scooby' gang...I haven't heard that part referred to before

    The Cait Files

  5. Juju: It definitely is! Thanks for the Halloween wish! :)

    Ashley: I know!! That part was crazy, and I was so sad! I wasn't able to put the book down, either. It just grabbed me and didn't let go.

    Becky: It's one of mine now, too! I loved it so much. Thanks for commenting!

    Cait: They don't call it a Scooby gang in the book, but it really felt like it. If you love Buffy's Scooby gang, you'll love this one. With that said, you definitely need to read it! It's SOOO good.

  6. Love love loved this one!!! You're right...perfect for Halloween!!!

  7. Sarah: Yes! Another ADIB lover. :) It's such a great book. Thanks for visiting! :)


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