Friday, December 9, 2011

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna, #1) by Kendare Blake

Title: Anna Dressed in Blood
Classification: Young Adult (Ages 12 and up)
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Horror
Format: Hardcover, 320 pages
Publisher: Tor Teen; First Edition edition (August 30, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0765328658
ISBN-13: 978-0765328656
Author's Website:
Notes: Contains some "colorful" language and violence.

“Over the course of my life I've been to lots of places. Shadowed places where things have gone wrong. Sinister places where things still are. I always hate the sunlit towns, full of newly built developments with double-car garages in shades of pale eggshell, surrounded by green lawns and dotted with laughing children. Those towns aren't any less haunted than the others. They're just better liars.”

“I’ve seen most of what there is to be afraid of in this world, and to tell you the truth, the worst of them are the ones that make you afraid in the light. The things that your eyes see plainly and can’t forget are worse than huddled black figures left to the imagination. Imagination has a poor memory; it slinks away and goes blurry. Eyes remember for much longer.”

Theseus Cassio Lowood, Cas, is ghost hunter. Some would probably refer to him as a ghostbuster, but what he does is nothing like that of the comical crew from the popular movie by the same name. He takes his work very seriously--just like his father did before him. In his world, the dead can hurt you and those he seeks out kill innocent people. Not everyone can do what he does, but it's in his blood. Armed with his father's athame, he periodically stalks his prey. He suspected killing the notorious ghost known as Anna Dressed in Blood would be his greatest challenge. He just didn't know what he'd be up against, and she was nothing like what he expected...

The first five chapters of this book didn't lure me in. Yes, there was drama of a ghost hunt, which nicely introduced us to Cas' world, but it just didn't grip me. When we get introduced to Anna, however, I finally saw what everyone was raving about.

Anna is a complex character. At first she seems to live up to her evil reputation. As Cas manages to talk with her, however, we see she's a mystery--she's ferocious and scary as h*ll but also a tortured soul who doesn't wish to harm others. As the story plays out we see the events that led up to her death and ultimately to her killing people.

Cas is a fun character who is dedicated to his "job". Before he came to Thunder Bay, Ontario, Cas was pretty much a loner. In his endeavor to kill Anna, he enlists the help of some newly found friends. That is a first for him. In the midst of how to deal with Anna, he comes face to face with another type of evil that he didn't see coming. This story is jammed packed with action and surprises. I truly loved the ending.

A couple of my favorite quotes:
- “I’ve been Obeahed by an Obeahman? Is this like how the Smurfs say they smurfing smurfed all the time?”
- “Yes. Smashing. You’ll be just like those four chaps in the movie. You know the one, with the oversized marshmallow.”

While there is a bit of a romance in this one, it seems appropriate to the age level it caters to (just kissing). Horror/violence wise,  however, I'd bump it from 12 to 14 years of age and over. I thought the story was original and highly entertaining. While I wasn't captivated at the very beginning, once Anna entered the picture I was utterly hooked.  If you're in the mood for a good ghost story, you might want to pick this one up. I gave it 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. I look forward to reading the sequel.

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