Anna Dressed in Blood
by Kendare Blake
This book starts off all fun and games, well dangerous games. Cas (Theseus Cassio) slays bad ghosts, ghosts that are angry they are dead and therefore kill people in similar ways to how they were killed. Someone has to take those bad ghosts out and it isn’t a common vocation. Cas inherited his ghost seeing and hunting abilities and talents from his dad, who isn’t around and was slain by a ghost himself. The book opens with Cas picking up and dispatching a ghostly hitchiker. He gets tips from people about ghosts that do a lot of killing, so he and his mother live like gypsies and travel around the country after the big, bad uglies. They get a tip that Anna needs dispatching, she has killed everyone who has walked into her house, and they move to Canada to go after her.
“The dead have simple motives: hate, pain, and confusion. They kill you because it’s the only thing they have left to do.” (page 47)
Cas is an interesting character, 1. he is male and we don’t have many paranormal books with a 1st person male POV and 2. he understands angry ghosts more than living and breathing people. He certainly doesn’t have any friends to speak of, until he tries to deal with Anna. In this book he gets a bit of a scooby doo brigade, Carmel, the stereotypical queen bee of the school, some dumb jerk jocks and a Thomas, a nerdy witch.
This book has some crazy action sequences early on. Freaked me out a bit. It was late and dark and everyone was asleep but me, so it was tense. Then some clean-up and planning, then more action. Random violence, then planning and a bunch of confusion and freaked out yelling. The print of this book is a rusty red. Perfect bloody words on all the pages to go with Anna’s dripping dress.
There are some very graphic scenes. It could be a bit disturbing for young readers, so even though this is YA, I would say it is for older teens. The end was great. We get some closure on things Cas was wondering about and on Anna, though it certainly went off in directions I didn’t expect, which was awesome. I liked the book a lot. I liked the characters and the plot and it leaves a possibility for a sequel (which is Girl of Nightmares – I need to get my hands on that one!) so I am curious where the storyline goes from here. There is some early romance stuff on a couple of fronts. Definite 4 stars dripping with blood, maybe a little bit more.