Tuesday, October 14, 2014
REVIEW: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Released: July 3, 2012
Description: 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 of 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.
My Review: Oh man. This book is a third of the reason I didn't sleep last night. I could hardly put it down. A few friends had read this book and liked it, but they just... did not prepare me for it. Dang.
I thought I had this book pretty well figured. You know, typical ghost hunting story with a little twist thrown in. I wasn't expecting to get blindsided right away. I certainly wasn't expecting to get blindsided multiple times. You go, Kendare Blake. I'm totally going to check out your other books now, because that was kickin'.
Honestly, I thought the book was ending twice. I had to shuffle the remaining pages through my fingers to convince myself it wasn't over yet. I *almost* looked at the end, just to check and see what page the story actually ended on, but I couldn't make myself do it. I'm glad I didn't, because it would have totally ruined the ending for me.
I've read a lot of supernatural books, both fiction and nonfiction, but I have not in all those books come across anything like Anna. It's funny, because before the events of the book take place, neither had Cas.
Can we just acknowledge Cas's name for a second? I mean, seriously, the kid's name is Theseus Cassio. Greek mythology and Shakespeare-- two of my favorite things. It spoke to me. Then of course, his nickname being Cas immediately called to mind Castiel from Supernatural, and, well, it just conjured up so many things that I love. Theseus Cassio is nothing like Castiel, and I don't think he's much like Cassio, but maybe he is a little similar to the namesake he doesn't so readily claim. Theseus went into the labyrinth and slayed the minotaur. Cas does that all the time with the ghosts he hunts. Anna could be compared to Ariadne a little, too, I think. There's the slight touch of romance, of course, but there's more to it than that. Anna didn't literally hand Cas a ball of twine, but she did help lead him through some things. He couldn't have done it without her.
Sorry about that. I've been into Greek mythology since I was five. One of the first books I ever read was this Greek mythology book that my doctor kept in his waiting room. My mom worked in the office, and I hung out there sometimes. Once, I accidentally put a staple in my thumb. Don't do that.
Aaaaaaaand I let that get a little out of hand. Forgive me-- I'm a little sleep deprived right now, and a little bruised up from archery yesterday. (It's been a while.)
Anyway, this book was amazing, and the plot was so well-constructed that I held my breath a few times, wondering what more could possibly be coming next while at the same time knowing there was definitely more because there were so many pages left. I will for sure be reading the next one.
What are your thoughts on ghost stories? Have you read this one? Leave your two cents in the comments!