Masako Lin's Reviews > Anna Dressed in Blood

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
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Sep 20, 2011

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Thanks to my lovely Goodreads circle, I have picked up yet another book from a genre that never in a million years would I have picked up on my own. Thank you lovely goodreads friends :)

I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed the book considering the fact that I absolutely HATE horror and ghost films. To be honest it isn't /that/ scary if a scardy cat like me can read this book without much trouble. So if you're interested in the premise but are afraid of the horror elements, don't be! Just give it a try.

The book is an atypical boy meets girl love story because boy is a ghost hunter and girl is a ghost and there's lots of blood, gore and dead people in between which makes for a superbly fun read.

The book follows the tale of Cas Lowood who has inherited a rather unique family occupation from his (now deceased) father - to hunt and kill malevolent ghosts. Together with his mum who is a white witch (healer type, uses herbs and potions) they travel around to exorcise these killer ghosts. Using his athnae (a knife that can not only slice ghosts into pieces but send them off to where ever they're suppose to move on to) which is a family heirloom passed from generation to generation. Before hunting a ghost, he usually does extensive research to find out more about it before going in for the (no pun intended) kill.

Anyway after Cas receives a note from his usual informant on a very powerful ghost called Anna he gets a little obsessed with her and after a while decides to move to Canada to exorcise her.

So let's start with the good of the book:

The suspense: Be prepared for a roller coaster of a ride. The fun and suspense just never stops. Kendare has a gift of keeping you at the edge of your seat! With the exception of the middle part, the rest of the book is one hecka of a ride.

Cas: I absolutely adore Cas! Witty, snarky at times (don't call him a ghostbuster) and an absolute charmer. Usually in YA fiction, you get lots of stereotypical male lead characters (the goofball, the asshole, the joker, etc...) but Cas is a unique male character to YA fiction. It's really hard to peg him down as well anything (he's a joker sometimes, a bit of an asshole, mostly a sweetheart).

Anna: Oh where do I begin with Anna?! First of all she's a very complicated character. She's sweet, sour and bitter all rolled into one crazy ghostly character. She's so fun to read and in her own way she's a very strong character too (for reasons I can't mention since they are quite spoilerific). And yes she kicks ass plenty of times.

Thomas: For a book with such heavy themes, there's got to be some comedy relief and I love Thomas as a side-character. He was very much the comic relief needed to balance the book out. What I like about his character was that although he was the comedy relief he wasn't silly or stupid -as readers we laugh with him and not at him. I can't stand it when YA authors make their comedy relief characters unnecessarily silly and stupid that we laugh at them and not with them.

Carmel: Initially I disliked Carmel tremendously (maybe I have something against Queen Bee characters). I thought she was stupid and just downright selfish. But after a while, towards the end of the book you get to understand more of Carmel and see she isn't that bad of a person. I mean she isn't a highly complex Queen bee character (that title needs to be given to Isabel from Shiver) but I can definitely see her grow further (hopefully) as the series progresses.

The tender moments: There are some very tender moments between some of the characters in the book and they are absolute gems! Heart wrenching at times yet beautiful: You make me want things I can't have. Love it.

The Bad:

The middle of the book: After a certain major event happens, the book loses steam (I guess because the major event is epicly quite major) and you're just trudging along until the next major event comes along. It's a while in between both events and the middle part is just a lot of exposition material to help set up for the grand finale.

Cas' POV: Although I do love Cas as a character, I also think Cas' POV needs some work. At times it's written almost female like. It took me a long while to figure out Cas was actually a guy! There are certain nuances here and there that make Cas' POV very female like. Mostly from the way he describes things or the way he feels about certain situations. The language although very vivid, languid and even beautiful at times is just too feminine for it to be a male POV. Apparently I'm not the only Goodreads reviewer who was initially confused about the gender of our main character till much later when it became apparent he was male! This didn't bug me too much simply because the plot was so gripping and suspenseful but I think I would have rated this a 5 star if I didn't get this nagging feeling that the POV was female like which made the book slightly unbelievable.

The final plot twist: Ok, I saw hints of this strewn throughout the book but I felt it wasn't set up as well as it could have. It came very abrupt and I think the writer intended it to have some shock value but it just felt clumsy to me instead. Nice concept just wasn't executed very well.

Anyway, I'd highly recommend this book if you're a fan of YA, romance and horror (or all 3!). It's a very interesting book that mixes these 3 genres very nicely.

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Reading Progress

September 20, 2011 – Shelved
September 22, 2011 – Started Reading
September 22, 2011 –
page 5
1.58% "First book on my Chiangmai trip! Luckily I won't be alone since I'm going on a tour and will be constantly surrounded by people if this gets too scary!"
September 22, 2011 –
page 20
6.33% "Creepy ghost! That first chapter was wow! I can tell this is going to be awesome :)"
September 22, 2011 –
page 120
37.97% "Wow Anna is amazingly awesome! Why do I have this feeling that somehow she's gonna end up with Cas in some weird Ghost movie way? <_<"
September 22, 2011 –
page 190
60.13% "Seriously Carmel is kinda dumb. If I had a ghost as powerful as Anna try to kill me I'd listen to Cas and GTFO. Don't like her but Thomas is kinda cute and Cas is adorable when he's interacting with nice Anna. :)"
September 22, 2011 –
page 200
63.29% "'you make me want things I can't have' T____T Poor poor Anna!!!!!!"
September 25, 2011 –
page 316
100.0% "Ahhhhh that ending is such a cliff-hanger!!!!!! And the relationship was so tender and sweet! Loved it. Glad I survived reading a horror book (my first btw)."
September 25, 2011 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Shy (new)

Shy I'm glad you mentioned that the main character is somewhat different from those other YA books. I've start to grow tired of the same old stuffs so I'm happy to hear that this one offers something more for readers to appreciate. Will definitely be hunting for this book soon :D

Masako Lin Hey Shy! I'm still wondering if it's because the POV is written in YA heroine style but the main character is male so it makes for an interesting contrast? I'm still honestly a bit bug by the femaleish POV. The language used is really descriptive, languid, poetic and vivid at most parts and my belief is that boys just dont have that kinda language for their POV.

Wendy Darling Such a great review, SL. I agree with most of the "bads" you mentioned, but they didn't slow down my enjoyment at all. :) So glad you enjoyed it!

Masako Lin @Wendy: I love Anna dressed in blood! During my Chiangmai trip, I couldn't stop talking about it. Thanks so much for your review, honestly if it weren't for you I would have never picked this up. :)

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