Anna Dressed in Blood
By: Kendare Blake
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Genre: horror, YA, paranormal romance
Synopsis: 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
The first section of this review will be spoiler free.
This is a book I read a while ago but I hadn’t gotten around to writing a review for it until now. I am not usually a fan of horror books but this one was subtle and still had funny and light moments. I really enjoyed Kendare Blake’s other series (Three Dark Crowns) but this one will always be my favourite of her works. It is narrated by Cas and his dry humour and sarcasm was so enjoyable and in my opinion his narration is what made the book great. The mystery of the story was also really enjoyable, and paired with supernatural elements it really kept me hooked until the last page. At its core this is a paranormal romance story, and though that may seem like something that has been greatly overused during the Twilight era this book puts a new spin on it, particularly with the fact that the girl is the supernatural creature not the guy. The character development was decent for a book of this length (under 400 pages). Cas, and his two friends Thomas and Caramel were the core characters and they definitely went through satisfying character developments.
If you are a fan of light horror (meaning the gruesome scenes are not that long and there are only a few of them) this is a great book to try out the genre with. Its lighter elements offset the dark tone and the romance brings some heartwarming moments into the mix. This book is currently being made into a movie with Stephenie Meyer as the producer. I am a bit worried they will focus more on the romance than the supernatural mystery in the movie but we will just have to wait and see.
Lets start with the reason most of you are in the spoilers section, the romance. Cas and Anna are definitely an unlikely pair, one with her being a murderous ghost, and then with him being a ghost hunter. Their moments together were so adorable, and Cas freeing Anna from her curse was a nice touch. However, if you have come for a story with a happy ending look elsewhere. At the end Anna sacrifices herself to save Cas, thus going to some hell like dimension. There is a sequel to this book which I have not yet read, though from what I have heard, there still isn’t a typical happily ever after. I was also sure that somehow Cas’ dad would make a reappearance, even though he is definitely dead, I thought maybe his spirit would speak to Cas or something, but that did not happen. At least Cas finally defeated the ghost that killed his dad, which I guess is a happy ending in and of itself.
What are your thoughts on YA horror? Are there any book to movie adaption you are looking forward to? Let me know in the comments