Sunday, July 17, 2011

Review: Anna Dressed in Blood

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. 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 whatever reason, spares Cas's life.

My Review:I’ve read my fare share of ghost related stories.  And the vast majority of the time I end up not liking them because the plotline is so predictable.  However, Anna Dressed in Blood blew me out of the water.  It was far superior to any other “ghost story” I’ve ever read.  

What really got me hooked into this book was the fact that Cas was a ghost hunter.  And no not like the ones on TV with shoddy equipment and mysterious lights and shadows that never solidify into anything.  He was born with the ability to see and sense ghosts, and most importantly permanently kill them.  It was a duty that was passed down by his father, and since then, Cas and his mother have been traveling around the country killing dangerous specters.  What I really liked about his “job” was the fact that he said he wasn’t there to judge their actions.  If they were dangerous and killing the living, then they were to be dispatched. Whatever higher power there was would take it from there.   I’m kind of relieved there wasn’t a huge religious influence on this book.  I have a feeling if there was it would have ruined it for me.  

Anna Dressed in Blood was truly unlike any other YA book I’ve read, ghost or otherwise.  The only one I can really relate it to is Low Red Moon.  It was extremely graphic with blood and gore.  The author didn’t skimp around details, and truly let the reader experience the horrors that were happening in the story.  Some people may not like that, but I thought it was excellent.  Every detail was vivid in my mind as I read, and I felt like I was experiencing what the characters were.  The way the author was able to put the reader in the story was amazing.  It was gory, graphic, terrifying and just plain bloody brilliant.  

Anna was a wonderful character.  For whatever reason she won’t kill Cas, and he brings out her true self, not the terrifying ghost who dismembers people for fun.  She is so strong in fact, that Cas can barely even touch her when he tries to kill her.  Things between them end in a stalemate; Anna won’t kill Cas and Cas can’t kill her.  The unusual connection they share, causes both of them to open up and be themselves.  Plus there’s the fact that both of them are utter badasses.  Cas is an athame wielding ghost hunter, with the moves to prove it.  Anna is the most powerful ghost he’s ever encountered and can literally tear anything limb from limb.  The level of badassery in this novel was awesome.  Yes there is a bit of a love story, but it doesn’t detract away from the novel; if anything it enhanced it.  I really enjoyed their interaction together and thought it was the perfect addition to the story.  

The plot isn’t as straight forward as you would expect it either.  The author does a wonderful job of blending the past and present to create a twist that you’ll never see coming.  I think I literally said out loud “No way!” That’s how much of a shocker it was.  It really surprised me, yet at the same time it made perfect sense.  The ending was sad, yet at the same time I don’t think it should have ended any other way.  It was perfect in my eyes, and only enhanced the book more.  I really fell in love with this book.  There wasn’t a single thing I disliked or had a problem with.  I’d even go as far as to say it’s my favorite book this year thus far.  It was simply amazing.  Very different, yet that was what made it so great.


Audrey (holes In My brain) said...

I just read this one the other day and I agree, it totally rocked. I dont' really read many ghost stories, but this one has me wanting more. And dude, I LOVED Anna, she such a fab character! So was Cas, hehe. great review!

flanpnhfpnanfnFN said...

Before I read your review I really wanted to read this one and now I think I'm going to die waiting for it!

Really fab review! This booke sounds so good ^-^

LoriStrongin said...

Soon as I leave this review, I'm heading over to Amazon to buy this book. Your review definitely sparked my interest, and I like how it's defying some conventions of YA and of horror, such as the mother being a part of the "quest"--most books I've read like this, the MC is all on their own.

Thanks for an awesome rec!


Staysi said...

This sounds sooooo good! I agree, I've also read a lot of ghost stories and it's hard to find a really good one that presents something original and spooky.

Blueicegal ♥ said...

Bad comparison but Audrey gave it five too. Damn it must be fantastic!!! Great review hun :)