Monday, October 31, 2011
"Anna Dressed in Blood" by Kendare Blake
Age Group: Young Adult
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.
I love a good ghost story, especially around Halloween, and this one definitely didn't disappoint. This wasn't your typical ghost story, though. We first meet Cas while he is in the process of taking out a ghost that has been haunting and killing people on a bridge. Cas is a ghost hunter, like his father was, and his father's father and so on. All the traveling him and his mom do, don't really allow for him to have any normal kind of life. Cas seems to be pretty okay with all of that, though, because he is helping people and getting rid of ghosts that are doing harm. His mom and him make their way to Thunder Bay, because he got a tip about a particularly gruesome ghost they call, Anna Dressed in Blood. As it goes, she kills everyone who enters her home. He and some kids from high school go out there one night and she is as violent and brutal as they say, but she does not kill Cas. And he wants to know why.
I liked Cas as the main character. I haven't read too many books with a male main, but I enjoyed reading this from his point of view. He starts out closed off and constantly on the move, but I like how we get to see him evolve and let people in. Someone who never had any use for friends gets to see how important they can be in your life. Anna was awesome. At times terrible and violent, but also seemingly human and remorseful. She was a true conundrum. I really liked Thomas and Carmel as well, they boy brought completely different things to the story and it made their little gang feel more complete.
This story was definitely violent and bloody at times, but it had a really good story to it. The death and curses were more of a back drop at some points, the driving force for the characters to truly find out what was going on and try to make it right. This is definitely one worth checking out, even if you are a bit nervous about horror type stories. It has some creepy parts, but there is enough other stuff happening that it shouldn't make you want to put it in the freezer. I am so excited for the sequel! I can't wait to find out what has become of Cas, Anna, Thomas and Carmel. I'm glad to have this one in my collection, it's definitely one worth re-reading :0)