Publication date: August 30th, 2011
Published by: Tor Teen
Genre: YA Paranormal, Ghosts
Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story. . .
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.
Anna Dressed In Blood is a book about super creepy and gory ghosts, with blood everywhere and bodies slashed in half. And it's awesome!
First off, I love it when books have male leads. I think after reading hundreds of YA books with a female protagonist, I sometimes feel like I just don't want to read about girls and their feelings anymore. I wanna read about distant and cool boys! And that's what Theseus Cassius was. I kid you not, that was his name. But everyone called him Cas, so the kid survived school. Not that being made fun of at school was his biggest problem. But we'll get to that.
You can tell when reading Anna that there was a lot of thought behind Cas's character. Blake didn't chose the easy way out. She didn't make him super hot or super popular. She didn't make him emo, angsty or the "student by morning-brooding poet by night" type. Cas was a "normal" teenage guy and acted as such. Granted, with a lot of baggage because of his father's death and let's face it, because of the fact that he has to kill disgusting ghosts. But other than that he doesn't act like the whole world is on his shoulders, or that he has to be the ultimate hero and save the world one ghost at a time, none of that. He is a kid who's been brought up in a certain way of life from a very young age. He does what he needs to do dutifully and without complaining, always keeping at the back of his mind that his father was murdered and that he would get his revenge when he was ready. With no unnecessary complications, the pure simplicity and the realistic way that Cas is portrayed, is what made this book so amazing, in my opinion.
The great story in the background, also helped a lot. Along with the blood-soaked scenes of dismemberment in graphic detail and a bunch of other very cool things that happened. Spooky and terrifying things aside though, the story was believable and with a nice flow and structure(distinct beginning-middle-end).
Other characters were also important and blended right in the story. I liked Thomas his grandfather and Cas's english friend, Gideon, who I hope we'll see more in the sequel (Girl Of Nightmares). I didn't quite see Carmel's place in the whole thing and how she jumped right into the paranormal freakish stuff she had never heard about or believed in, when before Cas's arrival she was this popular, queen B type of girl.
Anna was OK I guess. Nothing special for me, just a girl. I think what make her stand out is that a) she was a bad ass ghost and b)Cas was always around her. Cas did bring the whole thing together, I'm telling you.
Those of you who haven't read Anna Dressed In Blood yet, you should. I get why you might be a bit sceptical, I was too. Trust me though, you won't be disappointed. THE perfect read for Halloween!