Thursday, October 3, 2013

Book Review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Title: Anna Dressed in Blood
Author: Kendare Blake
Publisher: Macmillin
Release Date: September, 2011
Rating: 5/5

Cover Impressions: 
Love it so much I am pretty sure this is going to be my Halloween costume.  The bright spots of red in an otherwise monochromatic image are phenomenal and I love that you get this great image of Anna's house (once you finally tear your eyes away from the lady herself).

The Gist:
Cas Lowood hunts ghosts.  With the death of his father, he took up the family blade and is preparing himself for the ultimate battle - with his father's killer.  Along the way he is intrigued by the story of Anna Dressed in Blood, a ghost who died under mysterious circumstances and brutally murders anyone who dare enter her house.  As Cas investigates, he finds a ghost that is far beyond anything he has faced before.  With the help of his new friends, Thomas and Carmel, he tries to get to the bottom of Anna's murder and discover what makes her so special.


This is actually my second time reading Anna Dressed in Blood.  The first time was before I really got into blogging and so I didn't write a review.  This time, I chose it as the season opener for my student book club.

I love the feeling of this book.  Blake doesn't shy away from amazingly brutal scenes and it engages the reader in a way that a more censored version never could.  This novel is not for the faint of heart.  There are some truly gruesome and horrific scenes.  One of my favorites involves the first time we meet Anna - the ghost who changes everything.  There is very little lead up.  We stop only for a short visual description before Anna unleashes her terrifying power.  Anna walks a tightrope in between all powerful evil goddess and sympathetic character who we root for.  The author has done an incredible job of letting us see all of the facets of her character. 

I enjoyed watching all of the missteps as Cas develops friendships for the first time ever.  I found myself smiling or laughing each time he would lament how much easier it was the deal with the dead rather than the living.  The characters of Cas, Anna, and Thomas are decently well developed and interesting but I never really get a feel for Carmel.  She doesn't seem to add anything significant to the plot other than playing the girl in their Scooby Doo Gang.

Anna Dressed in Blood is a veritable "This Is How You Do It" when it comes to the balance between suspense and action.  Blake does a wonderful job providing enough action to keep the plot moving very quickly while also allowing for some relationship building and character development.

I am a fan - reading everything Kendare Blake writes for the rest of her life.

Teaching/Parental Notes:

13 and up
Gender: Both
Sex: Kissing
Violence: Graphic Supernatural Violence
Inappropriate Language: Bastard,Shit, Fuck, Dick, Ass, Douche, Pussy, Bitch, Whore
Substance Use/Abuse: Underage Drinking, Smoking
Other Issues: Scary scenes - may give younger readers nightmares


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