Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Publisher: Tor Teen
Available in ebook, paperback, and audiobook.
For the last couple years, I’ve noticed a severe lack of books in the YA horror genre. But lately, when I ask people for recommendations, they always give me the same answer: Read Anna Dressed in Blood. So before reading this book, my expectations were sky high that this author was the new RL Stine or Christopher Pike that I absolutely devoured as a teenager. That said, for the first part of this book, I was considering if revising my review policy to allow 6 stars would be overkill. I LOVED the beginning. It is Gothic and creepy and the danger factor is there. This is essential part of horror – you have to believe that absolutely anyone can be hurt. One character actually falls victim to Anna when Cas first meets her. The death was unexpected but played out fantastically.
And then the horror element begins to dwindle and it becomes more of a supernatural-driven story. Cas is joined by Thomas (a weird kid who can read minds and perform voodoo) and Carmel (the super popular cheerleader that has more character development than anyone else in the story – LOVED her too).
Anna herself is a troubled soul, who suffered a very gruesome and malicious death that made her into the monster she is. She’s killed anyone who entered her house for 60 years, until Cas…something about him makes her resist her violent tendencies and let him live. I like her character. She’s like a modern Casper, full of personality but with a morbid history.
Near the end, the book tries to regain its horror feel when the villain comes on stage…and succeeds until the author makes one fatal error. Fade to black. My God. Don’t fade to black in a horror book! I want to see the fight. I want to be freaked out. There were so much more morbid things in this book that were played out, I don’t know why that scene between Anna and Obeahman could not be shown. GAH! And then after the scene, we get some pathetic summary of what went down cause Cas had to go and black out. Disappointing. And then at the VERY end, it became obvious that certain people were “safe” and out of harm’s way. Again, it ruined the horror element.
That said, yes…I will absolutely read anything and everything by this author in the future. It’s not a perfect book, but I think the sequel definitely has the potential to be.
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.