Anna Dressed in Blood – Kendare Blake.

Synopsis from Goodreads.
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 some reason, spares Cas’ life.


“You do know what we’re dealing with here, don’t you?” I ask. “She’s not just a ghost. She’s a hurricane. Overkill is fine by me.”

Initial Final Page Thoughts.
I don’t know about something strange but there’s definitely something AWESOME in this neighborhood.

High Points.
Cas. Anna. Telepathic Tagalongs. Girls with too much daylight about them. Bloody deaths. Ghosts. Ghostbustin’. Cool mamas. Daddy issues. Moody kitties. Attic Ladders. Hitchhikers. Prom dresses. Drip, drip, drip. Ghost stories. Small towns. Voodoo. Flashbacks. Basement lightshows. Things that go bump in the night.

Low Points.
OK, if there are lots of ghosts running around America and killing people… why haven’t people cottoned on yet? What are the police doing? Why aren’t there as many exorcists as there are Starbucks? Why isn’t this song blasted out from public buildings to make people aware that there is a 98% chance that a ghost is going to eat them whenever they leave their house?
….just a thought.
Also, I’m pretty sure even Demi Moore would have rolled her eyes at some bits…but I’ll get to that.

Hero.
I’m just going throw this out there… I. loved. Cas.
I adore reading YA books that are told from a male perspective because there are so few, it’s always refreshing.
The girls really do like getting their voices heard, don’t they?
Anyway back to Cas.
It seemingly doesn’t take much for me to fall in love with a fictional boy, but referring to yourself as Rorschach will always work. You’re funny, you’re a badass, you’re fit (but my gosh, don’t you just know it), you’re cynical, you’re smart and you have this great, easy way of narrating.
Also, I genuinely believed that you could kill a ghost with a BAMF knife and not cry afterwards.
Which, in your career, is important.
Also, you look after your mum. Which is just lovely.
But your taste in women… I won’t go into it.

Oh, who am I kidding? Of course, I’ll go into it.

Heroine.

In the beginning: YES YES A THOUSAND TIMES YES.
Seriously, amazing. Halloween costume= sorted.
At the end: The true Anna would pluck my eyes out if she could see how often they were rolling in my skull. Let’s go back please?

Love Interest.

Ooooooooh myyyyyy loooooove, my darrrrrrlin’… I hunger for youuuuuuur touch
Yeah. I could have done without this whole business.
I mean even if it was physically possible… would it even be legal?!
The mind boggles. BOGGLES, I SAY.
I wouldn’t say it ruined the book for me… but it definitely stopped me from jumping on a plane and hotfooting it to Canada to sit on Cas’ doorstep to await instructions on his next adventure.
I hope the sequel kind of just forgets about this… because I have no idea what I’m going to do with the khaki jumpsuit with the Ghostbusters patch that I sewed onto the front pocket.
Make your mind up whether I’m kidding or not.

Theme Tune.

Girl Angst Level
Difficult to come up with a number here because Cas is, at the moment anyway, cool as a cucumber. I can’t imagine him turning into a serious, moody, broody boyfriend who believes in undying love (HA, geddit?)… but I’ve been proven wrong before.
So please please please let Cas maintain his awesomeness in the sequel and steer clear of the angst.
Because at the end of the day GhostGirl Angst is still Girl Angst.


Sadness Scale.

8/10. Oh Anna. That bit… you know, that bit. So sad.
Also, Ms Blake, one of the most fascinating and original way of using a flashback in a book! Wow.
Also, I need to stop getting emotionally attached to fictional critters.
I’m really intrigued about Cas’ backstory, especially concerning his dad. I think we’re going to have an interesting ride in the sequel.
And when I say interesting I mean me sobbing into a pillow.

Jo’s Scaredy Cat Rating.

9/10. *shudders*
This was a genuinely creepy book. Ms Blake certainly knows how to write horror and isn’t afraid to pull out all the stops. Even the bits that wasn’t necessarily supposed to be scary made me feel uncomfortable.
The descriptions are vivid and relentless and, let me say, if this book had been a film… I would have definitely have been watching some of these scenes from behind a pillow with a pillow on my lap.
Fun fact: My bathroom is actually on the other side of the landing to my room and I have to go underneath the attic. Yeah… I don’t think I’ve ever moved so fast in my life.


Recommended For.

People who want a genuinely scary YA horror. People who don’t think twice picking up hitchhikers… even if they are dead. People who don’t mind sleeping with the light on. People who would always take Caspar’s side. People who hate it when magic gets so damn fruity. People who can’t wear white dresses without managing to spill something down them and staining them forever. Sigh.

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