Publisher: Tor Teen
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 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.
Never in my life have I read a young adult book that has nailed every single aspect of horror and has continued to amaze me in every way possible. Chapter-to-chapter. Start-to-end. Bloody-to-damn-right-gory. But before I get into the actual review, let's take a moment to appreciate the beautiful and haunting cover art that we have here of our precious bloody Anna. Believe me when I say this to you guys: please judge this book by its cover because the storyline and pretty much everything else in this book is just as epic - if not - as equally awesome as the cover is itself. Let's take yet another moment to worship this cover. So, have you got the moment already? Okay. Good. Now onto the review.
ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD is one of my ultimate favourite books of 2011. When I first heard about this book I immediately thought of the popular tv show Supernatural. I don't know if it was a cosmic joke to nickname the character 'Cas' since in the show Dean calls his angel-lover boy 'Cas', but I didn't care about that. Neither did I care about a similar storyline to a father being killed during a supernatural hunt and now his son is taking over the family business. Look, in comparison to the show, when it comes down to it, this book was everything I hoped for and more than I asked for.
One of the best things was the voice of Cas. Lately I've been a huge fan of boy perspectives because there's so little of them in YA paranormal books and you would've thought the author herself was a boy, because like the storyline, she nailed Cas's character to the very bone. I wanted him to be a real person. He's intelligent, hilarious, dry humoured in a good boy-ish sort of way, and not to mention smart, handsome, and has the right amount of touch of authenticness about him. I mean, it's about time we have a guy character that is mature for once and knows exactly what he wants . . . what can I say? He's a hero through my eyes.
The second best thing was the storyline. It was a classic horror story with enough darkness and disturbing images to make you squirm in your seat and go, "THAT WAS AWESOME!" Seriously. It was THAT good. Being a huge horror fanatic whether it's films or books, I just adore them and I'm glad this book was published. I was waiting for a book like this to come. ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD satisfied my every bit need of horror and the author has got me by the fish hook, one that will have you forever being reeled in with curiosity. There was blood, body-tearing, and what's a horror story without the dripping pools of blood itself. And Anna. Much like Cas, I adored Anna - the girl dressed in blood. Some see her as a villain and others see her as a hero. She is both and I love her for it. The moment she first stepped onto the scene I knew I was going to love her and as her character grew . . . I continued to love her even more than I expected and I'm totally Team Anna forever. She's a girl you want to try and stay away from, but she's the kind of gal you're being constantly drawn to - just as Cas was. And those two together? Man I just love those two and the chemistry sizzling into the unknown. Who says a friendship and love can't be shared between one of the living and one of the dead?
Writing wise, the book was absolutely fabulous and with some incredible talent, Kendare Blake has written ever-so-amazing actions scenes, along with some gritty gore without being too out there. Or not . . . but hey I'm all for it because I don't have a weak stomach when it comes to this book.
With some twisty-turns and a lot of character development throughout, it's no wonder why everyone wants to meet ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD! Whether you're a horror fan or not (which you must be for this book) or are just looking for something refreshing in the YA book market, then Anna is your girl and Cas is your boy. Either way you have two great main characters and I'm very protective of them so you will HAVE to love them. But trust me, it's a brilliant must-read for all to devour and with mixed-in elements of witchcraft, romance, blood and gore, you will forever be talking about the extreme cliffhanger Blake offered towards the end of the book! And I can't wait to see what Kendare Blake writes next for the adventures of Cas Lowood!