Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Posted February 20, 2012 by Kara in Uncategorized / 6 Comments

Publisher: Tor Teen

Release Date: August 30th, 2011
Pages: 316
Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Paranormal
Series: Anna #1
Source: I own a Kindle copy of this book.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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.
You know, I get why people loved this book so much. I really do. I didn’t love it as much as everyone else seemed to, but there’s no denying that this was a great book. The problem for me was something I seem to be facing a lot lately. I was unable to connect to the characters as much as I would have liked to. Usually this hinders my enjoyment of the book completely, and that really didn’t happen here. There was enough great stuff going on that I still enjoyed what I was reading immensely.
There were some great characters in this book. Anna was awesome, and I found it really strange that I was rooting for a mass murderer. But it was all about the way she was written. She was flawed, but she was real. The story behind her murder really got to me. That scene was incredibly intense by the way. I was upset. I have this thing about realistic violence. I don’t like to read about it, I don’t watch movies with it in it, and if I had known about it beforehand, I would have prepared myself. But I got through it.
Aside from Anna, Thomas and Carmel were pretty cool as well. I loved Cas’ mom. The villain was evil and freaked me the hell out. I was pretty scared, I’m not going to lie. And the thing is, I never thought I scared easily. I still think I don’t, so parts of this book are pretty intense and maybe a little bit creepy. It was atmospheric. It was gory. If haunted houses freak you out, then well…That scene where they used a circle to bind Anna to find out what happened to her was extremely intense. I was disturbed.
As for the writing, it. was. awesome. I wasn’t a huge fan of the first person pov, but Kendare can write well regardless. I loved her writing voice. And I loved Cas as a character. I maybe didn’t connect with him as much as I would have liked to (I think it had a little to do with his monster ego), but I appreciated how tough he was. And how determined he was to figure out what happened to his dad and to follow in his footsteps. This was certainly an original story and a great twist on the typical ghost story. 
The end of this book was terrifying. I wanted to hug my dog while reading. I have a big dog. So holding a dog while reading is kind of impossible and the logistics of it never really worked out, but I totally wanted to do it. 
One thing I have to comment on. And this was minor, not a criticism, and made me giggle. At one point the author says Chicago is accent-neutral. Chicago? Accent-neutral? Has this author ever talked to anyone from Chicago? Definitely not what I would have said. 
Favorite quote: “This is no ordinary cat,” Thomas says through his teeth. He is staring unblinkingly into Tybalt’s green eyes–green eyes that flicker to me and seem to say, ‘This kid is a knob’. His tail twitches at the tip like a fishing lure.
To order a copy of Anna Dressed in Blood from, click here: Anna Dressed in Blood

6 responses to “Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

  1. Jac

    Thanks for the great review! I was one who really loved this book, but I can definitely understand how it wasn’t everyones cup of tea.

    I always laugh at the accent comments. I don’t think people from Chicago have accents – but that’s because I’m from the mid-west. (And I suppose to someone that I think has an accent? I probably have one as well…)

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

  2. Oh wow! Chicago, no accents? I think I must agree with you on that one. There are definitely accents in Chicago!

    I’ve been interested in this book for a while now, but I am still kind of teetering on the edge of whether I want to really read it or not. I guess I just haven’t really read any good ghost books in a while. However, after reading your thoughts, I think I might pick this up!
    Thanks for the excellent review!

    Darlene @ Leather Bound and Lovely

    • I think you should read it. It’s a ghost story, but definitely not a traditional ghost story. It brings something new to the table. And it’s pretty scary. Make sure and let me know what you think. <3

  3. I have read so many gushing (and probably well-deserved) reviews of Anna, that it was nice read one that had something different to say. I have this book, but I honestly am too afraid to read it. I am a big scaredy cat and if it scares someone as tough as you, then I may flip out. I will get the courage to read Anna sometime, but will likely only read it during the day.
    Great review!

    • First of all, you think I’m tough? THANKS! 🙂 LOL. Read it during the day if you think you might be scared. There were a few parts that were honestly pretty intense, even for me. It was mostly the ending scenes and one towards the middle. And it totally has to do with the atmosphere the author created.

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