Anna Dressed in Blood
by Kendare Blake5 out of 5
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. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: 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.
Yet she spares Cas's life.
Cas hunts down and kills dangerous ghosts and spirits for a living. It's more than a job, it's in his blood to do so. He has been putting off confronting "Anna Dressed in Blood", but finally turns his sight towards her, only to find everything he knew is changing.
I got this book for Christmas - my boyfriend knew that I was interested by the book after meeting the author at the UK Indie Lit Fest last summer. He said that it was awesome and I have to give it a 5.3 rating. So, yeah... I digress.
I honestly did enjoy this book. It takes up a less-well-trodden YA plot of ghosts, and it steers clear of any insta-love.
The story focuses on Cas and his mission to eradicate ghosts - he travels to all those haunted sites where ghosts lure unwitting victims to their deaths, and destroys them. "Anna Dressed in Blood" seems like just another mission; a murdered girl haunts her old house, and anyone that steps inside is killed, and their bodies stored in the basement. But Anna is something more, she is more powerful than anything Cas has ever faced, and he has to find out why before he can beat her.
At the same time, he joins the local high school, to get his education and to quiz the local kids over what they know of the ghost.
After so long working alone, Cas finds himself gaining friends, who insist on helping.
These characters are great, and I especially loved Thomas (the weird kid) and Carmel (the queen bee). They kept the story moving along nicely and provided humour and a little normality, when Cas' perspective makes for a very bleak narrative.
The story was slow to begin with, but once everything came together I was hooked.
I will also warn you that this book is gory. Very gory, very violent, and a couple of deaths that will definitely catch your attention. As it says on the back of the book - not suitable for younger readers.
Overall, I would recommend this book. It can be read as a standalone, as the story feels very finished with no loose ends; but there is a second part that I will be checking out.