Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna, #1)

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna, #1) by Kendare Blake
Paperback, 384 pages

Expected Publication: July 5th 2012 by Orchard Books
(First Published August 30th 2011)
My shelves: arc-or-review, books-i-own, cover-appeal,
 ghosts, magic,
read-in-2012, supernatural, horror, title-appeal, young-adult

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:
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.
My thanks go to Orchard for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

I was so excited to finally get my hands on a copy of Anna Dressed in Blood after reading mostly rave reviews about it from American readers. I'm glad to say that this didn't disappoint and I can see it becoming a very popular young adult book over here when it is released here in the UK! This is the start of a trilogy that is certainly going to appeal to a lot of paranormal fans.

Anna Dressed in Blood is a fantastic YA debut from Kendare Blake and it shows that she certainly has talent and a good imagination! The plot was an interesting one - we're introduced to Cas, a boy who finds it his duty to kill the dead. I found it a little confusing that he was killing murderous  ghosts who were already dead, but it seems he was trying to get them to transition into another afterlife. Cas is always travelling, on a quest to avenge his father's death, and we meet him when he arrives at a new school. Whilst there, he meets a group of people who take him to the house where Anna, a girl who died in a blood soaked dress, haunts. From thereon in, the book is enthralling, captivating and rather gory! Personally, I loved all of the gory details and creepy situations. It was unsettling without being scary. This would certainly make a great book to read around Halloween!

Anna was such an interesting character - As soon as she was mentioned, I want to know more about her and she still remains intriguing after I have heard the story of her death. I have a very vivid image of her in my mind - she is creepy, a pretty strong character and, well, haunting - I can't fully explain it, but my main point is that she's a very bold and interesting character. She seems complex and I'd love to read more about her. Unfortunately, I wasn't that taken by our other main character, Cas. He simply didn't interest me all that much - he paled in comparison to Anna. I did warm to him as the book went on though and I found his relationships with the other characters to be interesting. Cas and Anna's relationship progressed during the book at a reasonable rate - I was glad that Blake managed to create some gradual chemistry between both of them, though I do think it was still a little too fast. As for the other characters, I absolutely loved Thomas, a guy who befriends Cas and who has some psychic abilities. He was totally endearing and his interest in Carmel was adorable.

Whilst Anna Dressed in Blood was for the most part very engaging, it wasn't perfect. The main reason why I liked this book was Anna, and she didn't always take the main stage. At some points, it felt as though Blake didn't really think of the bigger picture and just made the characters do what they wanted, even if it wasn't realistic and some things felt inconsistent. A lot of people will love the action, particularly at the end of the book, but I actually preferred the subtleties of the storytelling. 

Overall, I thought that this was a wonderfully gruesome book - I fell in love with Anna more than the storyline, but I can't wait to see what happens in the next instalment of this trilogy. It was great to read some really creepy, gritty YA and I'd definitely recommend this to anyone who is a fan of the paranormal genre. 


  1. tnx 4 the review
    hoping to read this soon

  2. I love good ghost story. I just brought this on Kindle for like $2.99 can't wait to read it!
    Janiera @ Books & Beauty

  3. I can't wait to read this one. It just sounds amazing.

  4. I agree with you thus far. Anna is just plain fascinating! I keep wanting more of her.

  5. I liked this book, Anna was the best out of everyone in it :) I was worried at first when I started it that it would creep me out too much (I don't like ghost stories) but it was scary in a good way.

  6. I have also read so many good things about it. I haven't read it yet but I totally want to. Thanks for the review :)

  7. Wonderful review! I am dying to read this one myself. I love it when a character just shines & it sounds like Anna does just that.

  8. An awesome review Stephanie, I hadn't realised that this book wasn't out here yet, as everyone on goodreads has seem to have read it! But I'm glad you had fun reading this! Can't wait to check it out! :)

  9. Wow! Thanks for sharing your awesome review! Anna does sound like a complex but interesting character. Hoping to get my hands on this one soon. :)


  10. I wasn't sure that I wanted to read this book, but after reading so many wonderful things about it, I think I've been thoroughly convinced to give it a try!

  11. I love this book and I am so excited for the next one (coming out very soon!)
    I am loving your blog. It is so cute and you have some great reads on here. I am a new follower for sure!!


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