Monday, 14 January 2013

Book Review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

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.

This book sat on my shelf for months before I finally got round to reading it.  I had heard so much hype about it and hype I find quite off putting.  I always build the book up to highly and generally end up disappointed.  In the end Anna Dressed in Blood was not what I was expecting why is probably a good thing.

To be honest this book and I did not exactly get off to a good start.  I found the first quarter to be quite boring and it dragged but as soon as Anna made an appearance all that changed.  This story might be told from Cas’ point of view but the book belonged to Anna.  She was by far the most exciting and interesting part of this book.    I did like Cas quite a lot, he was brave and sweet.  He has an awesome personality and a great sense of humour which I really enjoyed, but Anna stole the show.

Anna is both terrifying and lovable, her story bought tears to my eyes, and it was not hard to see why she was so angry and lost.  I loved her protective streak, when things start to go wrong she is fierce and powerful.

Another thing a liked about this book is its refusal to hold back, it is really grim and gruesome.  If you have a weak stomach or don’t like blood and guts then this is not the book for you, seriously stay far, far away.  I do quite like blood and guts, I like to stray a little into the dark side so this worked for me.

My problem with this book was the romance; I just couldn’t buy into it like a lot of people did.  It all seemed a little stubborn and unrealistic.  I struggled to believe that Cas could make peace with what Anna had done so quickly and easily, and didn’t understand why he never seemed to question the fact that he was in love with a ghost, it was just accepted.  That was not the only thing I questioned, I would have liked more about how Anna got her powers and why she let Cas in the house and no one else.

Anna Dressed in Blood is a good book with great characters and an awesome ending.  For the most part it impressed me but didn’t manage to blow me away.  Still, I cannot wait to read the next and last book in the series.

4 stars

Published July 5th 2012 by Orchard Books in the UK and August 30th 2011 by Tor Teen in the US.  A free copy was provided for review. Image courtesy of Goodreads

Review by Kate Phillips

1 comment:

  1. You post some interesting questions - it does seem weird that Cas would acknowledge his love for Anna no questions asked.

    Great review! :)

    Lyra @ Defiantly Deviant


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