Thursday 28 June 2012

Book Review- Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Title: Anna Dressed in Blood
 Author: Kendare Blake
Series:   Anna #1
Published:  5 July 2012
Length: 384 pages
Warnings: sex references, a lot of gore, black magic & voodoo 13+
Source: Hachette and Tor both sent me a copy for review. Thank you!
Other info: Kendare also wrote Sleepwalk Society. Book two will be called Girl of Nightmares. Kendare has a book coming some other day called AntiGoddess.

Summary : 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

Review: Cas kills the dead. He’s been doing it ever since his dad was killed doing the same job ten years ago, and hopes that one day, he will avenge his father. Anna kills the living. She’s been doing it ever since she was murdered in 1958, her throat slit from ear to ear, and she hopes, not much. She just keeps killing. So when Cas and Anna meet, something stops her from killing him. And as they uncover reasons why that is, coming with it is ghosts from the past for both of them.
I really loved the idea. From the one line summary (Boy meets girl, girl kills people), I was drawn in and really wanted to read it as soon as I could. And the proof copy from Hachette came with awesomeness on the cover from many other bloggers.
So, from the start I was drawn in. It starts with a snapshot of Cas’ job, so he kills a hitchhiker. That was already dead, before you start worrying. We soon see him move to Ontario, join the school, fit in easily with those at the top of the social ladder. And then he meets Anna.
It’s not the ideal first meeting. He’s been knocked out by a plank of wood being smashed down on his head and he’s lying on the bottom of the stairs. Everything in this scene, and pretty much throughout, was really well described, and I could really see it all happening.
This book is definitely n the whole film-format. Action start, then back to normal, then building and building. I can see this being made a film. But it meant that I could not stop reading this. Apart from when I had to because actual life got in the way, but I got back to it soon enough. This is one of those books that makes you feel like you have to read on to see how it will go, because there’s always something happening that makes you think.
Cas and Anna are both really good protagonists in their own ways. Cas was not your normal protagonist at all, and I really liked his narration style. I really wasn’t sure what to make of Anna to start with, but as we learn more and more about her, I just fell in love with her and felt bad for her. Her past especially was interesting.
The whole idea of ghosts on a large scale, not just a few isolated ones, killing people was really interesting. The lore surrounding the ghosts was easy to pick up on, and I liked the way that Kendare brought in other, less mainstream, religions like Wicca and Voodoo, and made them useful to the plot, but not in a clich├ęd way.
The rest of the characters were good. I was very glad about the fact that Cas didn’t end up with Carmel, and found it really cute that Thomas did.
The only thing that I had a problem with was that it wasn’t scary. Maybe I’d hyped myself up after all the amazing reviews, but while I was gripped totally, I just didn’t get  the feeling of having to leave the lights on or stay awake. But in the grand scheme of things, it didn’t take anything away. Just denied me of something that I never had. It’s still a really really good book.

Overall:  Strength 4.5 tea to a ghost story with strong characters, a lot of gore and the ability to keep your reading on and on and on and on and on get the idea.. Let’s hope Girl of Nightmares is just as good.


  1. I honestly don't think I've ever heard a bad review of this book - I seriously need to get reading it!

  2. I have been dying to read this since it was released in the US! Have to get myself a copy, it sounds brilliant. I'm sorry it wasn't as scary as you would have liked, but really glad you still loved it anyway! Great review :).

  3. Both of you definitely need to read it! There's not that much scary YA out should go get it when you can.

  4. so glad you enjoyed this one, i loved it so much when i read it! :)

  5. I have the first book on audio! I think I'm going to listen to it now :)
    Great review.


Thanks for taking time to read this!
Comments are much loved.
Nina xxx

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