Friday, November 4, 2011

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

* * * * ½

I hate ghost stories. They scare the ever living you-know-what out of me. Not sure why. Maybe because it is the ONE supernatural thing I believe in. And if they are real, I can’t control where they are or how they might affect me. I’ll let you in on a little secret. I am so scared of ghosts that I don’t ever want to own a home that has been lived in by someone else. Which is silly since I grew up in a 100 year old house with no ghosts. But then who said fears were rational?

Anyways, I digress. My point in sharing my fear is so you would know how completely out of character it was for me to pick up Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood. I noticed the hype over the book so looked it up and surprise, surprise. It actually sounded interesting. A ghost hunter? Well, I think we can all agree I want one of those around. And a ghost that kills anyone that enters her home? Except for Cas, the ghost hunter, that is. His life is spared and neither of them understands why she didn’t kill him. Needless to say, the story sounded a little more than intriguing, and enough so to convince me to pick it up at the library when it was released.

And thus began my 3 days of terror.

Day 1 – Read up to page 68. I turned on all the lights and ran up the stairs to bed looking behind me every step of the way. And we hadn’t even met Anna yet.

Day 2 – Got quite a bit farther. However read with all the lights on and cowered in the corner of the couch until the husband came upstairs after playing video games. It was 1:30am. I was ready to go to bed at 10:30pm but there was no way I was going anywhere without my knight in shining armor to protect me.

Day 3 – Decided it was in my best interest to finish the book during the day. Still avoided the basement and again looked behind me every step I took up to my bedroom.

Ok, I definitely overreacted. But that was to be expected. And regardless of my overreacting, this story IS scary. There is a considerable amount of suspense as well as a bit of violence and gore. It is definitely not for the light of heart.

And despite being scared, I found this book to be an excellent addition to the YA world. Cas is an amazing male protagonist that kicked his teenage angst to the curb. Despite the fact that he lost his father, he changes schools as often as some people change clothes, and he has a seriously messed up calling that few people know about, this kid has it together. He is wonderfully sarcastic and has a penchant for swearing that I fully appreciated. Yes, there is a swearing this book. Not a ton but more than you might find in other YA books. Just what you would expect from a sarcastic, fairly well adjusted 17 year-old boy.

Anna is, needless to say, CREEPY! There is a bit of build up to meeting her. And when you do, you won’t be disappointed. She is a very, very angry ghost with no control over her actions. I can’t say more than that without giving a lot away. But I will tell you that you might end up liking Anna just as much as you like Cas.

The supporting cast of characters in this book is amazing. Cas’s mom is fabulous. They have a great supportive relationship that is free of drama. Cas’s new friends end up being extremely strong people that will do anything to help each other. Even the people in this book that lose their lives are surprisingly well developed.

Needless to say, I loved this book. So much so that I will be anxiously waiting for the second installment, Girl of Nightmares, due out next August. Apparently I am a masochist as we all know I will again be turning on all the lights and cowering in the corner until someone walks me safely up to my bedroom.

~ Nat

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