From the fabulous cover that draws the eye and the imagination, to the extraordinary plot that is both chilling and compelling, Anna Dressed in Blood...moreFrom the fabulous cover that draws the eye and the imagination, to the extraordinary plot that is both chilling and compelling, Anna Dressed in Blood is so full of "Win” that it is no surprise this is the book that everyone is talking about. Billed as Young Adult fiction, I believe this book will appeal to everyone, regardless of genre. Anna Dressed in Blood has all the elements of an incredible ghost story; a creepy haunted house, a violent spirit with a tragic past, and a solitary hero intent on dispatching the dead to where ever it is the dead go. If that would have been all there was to the story, it probably would have been a great book. However, Kendare Blake takes this familiar plot and twists it into something brilliant and original and definitely not just a ghost story. She adds magic, witches, voodoo myth and ritual, enough death, blood, and violence to satisfy any horror fan, and then tops it off with touch of romance. On top of this, the writing is hauntingly beautiful and keeps the reader wanting more. This is a book that can be re-read again and again, and each time the reader can find something new to love about it.
Cas is the main character, but it is Anna who really draws me into the story at the beginning. She is both terrifying and alluring, capable of unimaginable violence but has this air of mystery that makes me want to understand her, figure out what happened to her to cause this much rage. Anna’s house was almost a character in itself. Dark, spooky, and mysterious, the house seems to want to draw you closer. It seemed like the house was an extension of Anna herself, eerily compelling. I wanted to explore the house, even knowing the terrible thing that’s in there. Even knowing what she's capable of. Cas’ first encounter with Anna is the stuff of nightmares, wounded and unprepared, he finds himself in the path of a monstrous goddess like vision, black veins criss crossing her skin, eyes that are black pools, the blood soaked dress, not to mention she has been dismembering people with her bare hands for over fifty years. But for some reason she lets him live. Cas quickly learns that he is no match for Anna physically, she throws him around like a rag doll leaving him bruised and battered and even more intrigued by her. Suddenly, the job he came there to do doesn’t seem quite so easy.
Cas ends up being a lot deeper than he seems from first impression. His caustic wit, the way he refuses any offer of help, and how he admittedly uses people to gain information may make Cas look like a pretty shallow fellow. In actuality, he has deep seated reasons pushing people away, never allowing anyone close enough to form any type of friendship. All of this changes though when he arrives in Anna’s town. Suddenly he’s faced with a ghost he can’t kill, people who have the nerve to call themselves his friends, and a cat that won’t stop hissing at him. I enjoyed watching him grow as a character throughout the story. As his relationship with Anna builds, it seems that he’s also opening himself up to friendships with living people as well. The secondary characters were also fascinating and each one brought a little something unexpected to the story.
The plot is fast paced and exciting. Not a moment went by that I wasn’t completely engaged in the story. Anna Dressed in Blood is a book that will grab you and refuse to let go, forcing you to continue reading even when you want to put the book down and cover your eyes. The author has this way of building the suspense so that I could almost feel myself tense as I waited to see what was going to happen. Throughout the book, I gasped, I laughed out loud, I teared up once or twice, I was thoroughly chilled, thrilled, and entertained. The twists and turns in the plot were amazing. The second half of the book read almost like a completely separate story, but equally as fascinating. I loved the elements of voodoo, I would have enjoyed learning more about that. There was a lot of different things going on but I never once felt like it was too much, each new plot thread just added to the richness of the story.
Ultimately, I think Anna Dressed in Blood is probably the best Young Adult novel this year and will certainly be on my list of all time favorite reads. I don’t know what Kendare Blake is going to come up with to top this phenomenal debut, but I have no doubt that she will. Did you happen to see the interview she did at Down the Rabbit Hole where she answered every question with quotes from the book? How awesome is that? I predict that we’ll see some amazing things from this author, remember I said so. If you haven’t already gotten yourself a copy of this book, you should definitely do so. This isn’t one that you want to miss out on. I would recommend this to everyone.
Monument 14: Sky on Fire What a great cover for the second book in this series, don't you think? I love when a book's cover so perfectly fits the stor...moreMonument 14: Sky on Fire What a great cover for the second book in this series, don't you think? I love when a book's cover so perfectly fits the story within. , I read and enjoyed the first book in this series but it left me with some reservations about the writing. I no longer have those reservations, I thought this second book was wonderfully written and much richer in detail and character depth. While I had reservations after reading Monument 14 and normally, when I feel that way, I won't continue the series BUT I found that this story stuck with me and I was more than eager to read this sequel and find out what happened to the characters. This fact alone makes me consider raising my previous 4 star rating to a 5.With that being said, I didn't enjoy Sky on Fire as much as I did Monument 14. It almost felt like it was overstuffed, from action scene to action scene with barely any breathing room between. This is something I'm sure other readers will enjoy about the book but I found a bit too much for me. One thing I really enjoyed about Sky on Fire is that this author is completely unafraid to allow her characters to suffer in this brutal and dangerous world. This makes the story so much more plausible when there is the real possibility that the characters that readers have become invested in may get hurt, sometimes fatally. This makes the survival aspect all the more compelling and this is so very well done in this series, both in the first book and even more so in Sky on Fire. I want to also mention and appreciate the fact that this book had an ending with resolution instead of a cliffhanger. While it ended in a way that will allow the series to continue, I was not left feeling frustrated and angry as so often happens. I would HIGHLY recommend this series to fans of post-apocalyptic fiction and even zombie books because, while there aren't exactly zombies in this series, it does have that atmosphere. If you read and enjoyed Monument 14, then I assure you, it is well worth continuing this series. (less)
Sharp Objects: A Novel Sharp Objects tells the story of Camille, a journalist living in Chicago, who is asked to return to the small town where she is...moreSharp Objects: A Novel Sharp Objects tells the story of Camille, a journalist living in Chicago, who is asked to return to the small town where she is from to cover an unfolding story about 2 murdered girls. This also gives Camille the opportunity to reconnect with her family, an opportunity she didn't necessarily wish for. It seems that Camille and her mother have many unresolved issues revolving around her childhood & the death of her sister when Camille was just 13. Camille also has a younger sister that she barely knows having been away for so long. To call this family dysfunctional is an understatement. The mother is so vile and distasteful in the sick way she gives and withholds love as a means to control. The 13 year old little sister is maniacally manipulative & known to be the vicious head of the "mean girl" clique at school. Camille herself is understandably damaged and tries to cope by carving words into her skin to deal with her pain. I love that this author unflinchingly takes the reader to very dark places in this book. The characters are seldom likable but are so authentic in their broken lives. Sharp Objects explores the real consequences of extreme unhealthy mother-child relationships. The damage that a mentally disturbed parent can cause is far reaching and can last far beyond childhood. This story also shows how easily such sickness can be overlooked by everyone, people refusing to see what is right in front of them. This is definitely not a book that will leave a reader with a happy, hopeful feeling. It is dark and disturbing and can leave the reader feeling a bit unclean. But Sharp objects is also undeniably a fascinating story, expertly written, with authentic characters that, while not always likable, will draw a reader in making them want to understand their motivations. I absolutely recommend this to anyone who, like me, enjoys stories that are a bit more dark and with unexpected villains. This is the second of Gillian Flynn's books I've read and I am officially a fan. I can't wait to read more from this author.(less)
This was a quick read and mildly interesting. I liked some of the random thoughts of the obviously mentally ill main character, like him wanting to co...moreThis was a quick read and mildly interesting. I liked some of the random thoughts of the obviously mentally ill main character, like him wanting to count to 180,000 by 17s, things like that kept the book entertaining and gave it a bit more personality. Outside of that, the story itself was kind of ho hum with a plot twist that was very obvious from the beginning and when revealed, it was done so matter of factly that it was almost as if the author was saying "of course you saw this coming, I meant for you to" (which I actually kind of enjoyed). I also almost liked the way it ended until it went just that one step too far and became almost cartoonish. Grab it from the library for something quick and painless to read. (less)