Friday, May 29, 2015

Review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

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. (taken from

My Rating: 4/5 Stars 

Let me preface this review by saying that I really am not a fan of horror movies or novels. I'm that girl who covers her face with a blanket and jumps at the drop of a hat when watching any remotely scary movie. However, something drew me to Anna Dressed in Blood. After reading multiple good reviews and receiving it as a recommendation from one of my good friends, I decided maybe it was time I gave this creepy-looking novel a shot. 

From the first page and onwards, Blake makes it exceedingly clear that this is a novel full of unsettling hauntings and things that go bump in the night. Despite these uncanny occurrences, the novel still has a sense of humor, presented through Cas' sense of sarcasm and lightheartedness in even the most desperate situations. I frequently found myself experiencing a confusing mixture of amusement and fear. Even though I'm not a fan of horror novels, Anna Dressed in Blood offered an enjoyable balance of humor and disturbing, supernatural activities. 

I will admit that the romance was a tad disappointing. That's probably the biggest reason I didn't fall head over heels for this novel. Cas, a ghost-hunter, who has devoted his life to the eradication of lingering spirits like Anna, suddenly and inexplicably falls for one of the undead? Something about that doesn't make sense... Plus, we barely get to know Anna's real personality (other than the part that wants to brutally murder anyone who sets foot in her house). I wish we could have learned a little bit more about her and that maybe the romance had been more developed. 

Girl of Nightmares, the sequel, holds some promise, and I might check it out eventually. I kind of wish Anna Dressed in Blood had been a creepy standalone, but I'm also open to the possibility of more character and relationship development in the second book. If you're a fan of the creepy and unexplainable, then this is a great read. It's not exactly the type of book you want to snag on our way down to the beach, but it's a page-turner that I'd definitely recommend. 

My Reaction in a Nutshell