Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake reviewed by Meg

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare BlakeTitle: Anna Dressed in Blood
Author: Kendare Blake
Release Date: August 30, 2011
Publisher: Tor Teen
Pages: 320

This book has to have one of the creepiest, most visually alluring covers I’ve seen in a while. There’s something so eerie, and seductive about the black and white image of a girl standing, with her back to the camera, before an incredibly spooky house in a white dress, splattered with brilliant red spots of blood. That and the title, Anna Dressed in Blood, really drew me in. I didn’t even care what the summary said. The title evoked so many memories of ghost stories when I was younger that I couldn’t do anything BUT buy this book, without even knowing the premise.

But once I opened it, the plot absolutely sucked me in. Anna Dressed in Blood, first off is NOT really geared to the true YA. Like, I’d feel awkward with anyone under 18 reading this book simply because it’s full of violence, blood, and plenty of gore and gratuitous cursing. That aside, this book is scary, without being terrifying, and completely electrifying throughout the entire adventure. Cas, the main character, is a kid who has followed in his father’s footsteps. He’s a ghost killer. Wait, you say, he kills ghosts? But aren’t ghost already dead?

Why yes, they are already dead, but Cas kills special ghosts. Cas kills the ghosts who didn’t just stay behind, but the ones who stayed behind exclusively to kill the living. His mother, a witch, seems to reluctantly go along with this lifestyle, though she has her own concerns after his father’s met an untimely demise at the…um..hands of one such violent specter. Cas, of course, only crosses paths with Anna, the ghost haunting a small town house, because he’s been sent to kill her. But when they meet, Cas finds that she’s not just a ghost mindlessly mimicking the past, and killing without any thought of it. Anna is an intelligent ghost. She knows she’s dead, she knows what she does, and she is more powerful and terrifying than anything he has ever encountered.

I think Anna Dressed in Blood has one of the most original plots I’ve seen in any form of fiction in a long time. We have two main characters, a boy who kills ghosts, and the violent, blood thirsty specter who kills any human who comes within her reach. The complex twisting of plots between these two, and the challenges they face, and the decisions that Cas makes, along with the absolute, disgustingly nasty gory violent scenes (like when Anna literally rips a boy into peices, and then the basement of her house? ICK!) make this book insanely addictive. I mean really, when have you ever read a book where the main character is sent to kill the other main character…

Wait, don’t answer that, because you’ve probably read something similar to that before, and I can’t really explain how insanely DIFFERENT this plot is without revealing what makes is so special. Just trust me. It’s awesome.

Also, the characters were pretty awesome. I’m not super crazy fond of Cas, mainly because at times he was just too juvenile for me (this is a good indication of how well the author wrote, because Cas came across exactly as he should have, a teenage boy who had entirely way too much weight on his shoulders.) I absolutely fell in love with Anna’s character. She is probably one of the best written characters I’ve read in a long time. She’s tortured, she’s deep, she’s thoughtful, and she’s full of a pent up rage that no one could ever understand unless they were in her shoes. Simply put, her character was perfect to me.

Combine the original plot with the awesome characters, and then add in the flawless writing style, I feel totally confident giving Anna Dressed in Blood 5 stars. Actually, if I could I’d give it 10. I can’t wait to get my hands on book two of this series, and see where it takes us. As I said, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone under 18, but it is definitely a read that I think most younger and even most older adults who love a good, scary book would enjoy!

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