Friday, January 27, 2012

Book Review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Series: Anna #1
Published: August 30th, 2011
Publisher: Tor Teen
316 pages (hardcover)
Genre: YA paranormal/horror
Acquired this book: From the library
Warning: may include spoilers
{GoodReads || Purchase this book: Book Depository || Amazon}

Synopsis: 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.

For months, I’ve heard so many fantastic things about this book, I couldn’t wait to read it. I was a bit nervous because I heard it was really scary, and I’m a total wuss when it comes to scary stuff. It’s very rare that I read scary books, and I hardly ever see scary movies, because my imagination is way too overactive, especially when it comes to ghosts - vampires, werewolves, zombies, and other supernatural beings don’t generally scare me because I don’t believe they’re real, but I know ghosts are real, so they freak me out. But every once in awhile, I enjoy that adrenaline rush you get from reading something scary, so I was really looking forward to this book.

For me personally, Anna Dressed in Blood didn’t live up to the hype. I’m not going to say I was disappointed, because it was a very good book, but I wasn’t scared at all. It was exciting and suspenseful, but scary? Not even a little bit, not for me, anyway. I’d say it was more grotesque than anything. Maybe I’ve just become too desensitized? The descriptions were fantastic and creepy and sometimes shocking, but I was more fascinated than afraid.

All that being said, I thought it was a refreshingly unique story, and even though I wasn’t scared, it was suspenseful enough that I read it in 24 hours (which is pretty good for me because I’m a slow reader), and I snarked at anyone who distracted me because I wanted to know what was going to happen. I loved that it was told from a guy’s perspective, and Cas was a great character. I also enjoyed the secondary characters, and watching Cas let down his guard around them and accept that they were in his life for better or worse.

A nice unexpected surprise was the fact that there were moments in this book that were laugh-out-loud funny. There was a lot of very clever dialogue, and Cas had this very frank way of thinking/speaking that was often amusing.

Since this book is going toward the 2012 Witches and Witchcraft Reading Challenge, I just want to touch on the witchcraft aspect of the story. Cas’s mom, along with his new friend Thomas, and Thomas’s grandfather were all witches. I loved that it was realistic, actual magic, and not hocus pocus magic. It always bothers me when people clearly know nothing about real witchcraft and get a bunch of facts wrong, or make light of it. Magic can be scary, powerful stuff, and I appreciated that it wasn’t taken lightly in this book.

And lastly, on a slightly random note, I loved that it was set in Thunder Bay, Ontario. I’ve never been that far north, but I live in southeastern Ontario, and it always excites me to find a book set in Canada.

This book counts toward the following 2012 challenges: 2012 Young Adult Reading Challenge, 2012 Support Your Local Library Challenge,
See my progress in these and other challenges here.

Now I’m curious: have you read Anna Dressed in Blood? What did you think? Were you scared? Did it live up to the hype for you, or fall short? I want to hear your opinions!


  1. I haven't read this one and I still enjoy reading all these varied reactions coming from this book. :D

  2. I wasn't scared either it was more fun than anything else! :) Great review Marie!

  3. Oh, and for something scary, I really loved The Deepest Cut by JA Templeton!

  4. I've wanted to read this since before it came out, but haven't yet. I am making it a priority in February to finally read it.

    Have you read Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts? You Must, if you haven't yet. Creeeeepy.

  5. I haven't read this yet, but you've just given me a whole pile of reasons to pick it up the next time I do a book shopping spree. :) This sounds absolutely great and like it should be a refreshing change from what I normally read, which is something I probably need right now. Great review!

  6. I'm disappointed to hear that it's not as scary as everyone has been saying! I love scaring myself. xD Great review! I think I'll still read this one.

  7. This is in my TBR pile...unless it is Stephen King ..the Stand and IT kind of scary ..i usually don't scare either..but I am glad that you enjoyed the suspense and mystery of it.

  8. I've been afriad of this one...not that it would be too scary...but too bloody...


  9. I want to read it now I saw your review of it.


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