Anna Dressed in Blood
by Kendare Blake;
Editions: Hardcover, Paperback , Ebook
Published by Tor Teen August 30th 2011
Source: own copy
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.
And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.~ Goodreads blurb
Since this was our first RAWBL read, I’ll be doing a RAWBL-style review.
1. What were your thoughts on the world-building?
I loved the setup of the book! Since it’s not a fantasy, but a paranormal novel I wouldn’t say there was a lot of world-related improvising, though I wouldn’t know what to tell you about the Obeah thing, but I loved how the elements of different ‘worlds’ mixed, witchcraft, voodoo, ghosts, telepathy, high-school and queen bees, you name it, it was there.
It was a fab ride.
2. Did you feel you could relate to the characters and connect with them? Had a favorite?
My favorite part of the book were the characters, definitely! I mean, Cas was amazing, to begin with. Funny, smart, strategical in places, something of a bad-ish boy doing the good work to some extent, I loved him. His mother was awesome as well, and I really appreciated the fact she remained involved overall, ever notice how the parents tend to mist out of the stories in some YA titles?
Thomas and his grandfather were really fun, I even liked Carmel and it doesn’t happen to me often that I’d like that type of character, but she was awesome as well. I would be tempted to say my favorite was Anna, but she got it easy, being all powerful and mysterious here, and so vulnerable and heart-warming there, I really really loved reading about her, though it broke my heart in places. And Gideon, man!! He cracked me up, I was lol-ing like a mad woman each time Cas and him had a conversation.
But overall I think my favorite was Cas, clueless, courageous, adorable Cas.
3. What did you think of the plot?
Well for one thing, it threw me off that the main character was a guy. You’re laughing at me, I know, I didn’t actually read the blurb ok? I mean, I was planning on reading this, so as I do with many titles I plan to read, I blur out anything plot-related until I get the chance to read them, and if they’re recommended to me I just keep these main lines of it and ignore any details if they were given to me. So I had no clue we’d have a male MC, the cover had a freaky chick on, the title sounded like a freaky chick story, so I was sort of expecting that. I was surprised in a good way, just because it’s little things like that, special little things that make a read fabulous.
The story of the Lowood family was touching, and the members so endearing, I was sort of heart-broken about them, but at the same time I loved the way they did team work for everything, Cas and his mom were great. Their family history marked Cas’s behavior and I felt it influenced his decisions a lot, as I would have imagined it would, and everything made sense together, it all worked. It’s rare I have this feeling about a book, I’ll normally walk away from reading one with this nagging sensation that this thing was sort of boinging my brains, or this other one. But here, smooth sailing, all the way. Well, as smooth as such a roller-coaster story would permit.
I also very much so appreciated the amount of freaky factor. I mean, if you’re gonna write about ghosts, make then really awesome ghosts. And man, the ghosts were awesome!
What stood out to me was that the tensest part of the read felt longer, and very tense. The pace of events was just right to build this tension in me, and it didn’t really get resolved away when the book ended. It’s clear there’s going to be a book #2 at least, and I am seriously itching to read it right now. Now, now, now!
4. How did you feel about the writing?
It felt very smooth and natural, I could picture everything really well as it happened. I never got that “Ughh…what the…did I miss something here?” feeling, the scenes didn’t capitalize on details to the point of popping your eyes out, but they didn’t skim over them either. It was just the right balance between description/observation and action-oriented writing.
The images in my mind were very vivid, and where I didn’t have details, I just filled in the blanks, kind of like Cas liked his stories about parties, you know?
I really liked the fact that the author didn’t weasel out of freaky details where freaky details were in order, sort of gory in places (killer ghosts, it’s not like they’re doing ballet, is it?), and certainly gutsy. Way to go!!
5. What was the strong point of the book, for you? What about the weak point?
Characters and the pace of the plot, definitely strong points. And being gutsy, I loved that about it. It’s the gutsy books that stay with me, even though I might love many others during my reading spree in a year, let’s say. But when I’ll be doing top 10 reads, for instance, at the end of the year? It’s the gutsy titles that will come to mind immediately.
As far as weak points go, nothing jumped at me, nothing felt wrong, too slow or out of place. It felt purrrfect (except for the cat’s demise…:( that part, I didn’t like.) Being a romantic, I might have liked it if more of the Anna-Cas angle would have been explored, or better said, that they would have had a bit more time together, but it wasn’t a weak point, just a personal wish. There will be more of it in book #2, I’m sure.
6. On a scale of 1 to 5, what would you rate this book?
Participated in our #RAWVL Saturday? Link up your review in the linkz list bellow, so we can hop around all over 🙂 You have time until Friday to enter your review’s link.