Sunday, January 29, 2012

Book Review: Anna Dressed In Blood

Author: Kendare Blake
 Pages: 320
 Publisher: Tor Teen
 Genre: Young Adult / Paranormal Romance
 First Published: August 30, 2011
 First Line: “The grease-slicked hair is a dead giveaway –no pun intended.”
 Buy it from: Amazon
                   Barnes & Noble

The GIST (From Goodreads):

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.


            I heard about "Anna Dressed in Blood" from Goodreads and I have to admit, I wasn't really interested. Paranormal books aren't really my thing; then after reading about the relationship that blooms in the book, I was a little...well, disgusted.

            After reading the book, I was a little less disgusted...a little.

            For the style, I realize I haven't read very many books in the male perspective. I think the last one was an Artemis Fowl book in high school (love that series). I had a hard time believing I was in a guy's head in this book. It must be difficult to write in another gender, so I'll give the author a little slack. Thessio, aka Cas, the main character was a little too full of himself which I think the author thinks a good looking, confident guy has to be....which I suppose can be debated. He was arrogant throughout the beginning of the novel but showed a much more vulnerable side by the end. Overall, he was good enough. I had no strong dislike or like for him. It was a lot more show than tell in his monologues; with Cas telling everything about his life or other characters in his thoughts rather than in conversation or action.The world-building was done completely in this way which I felt was a little of a cop out.

            As for the plot, I loved Cas' internal struggle over whether or not to kill Anna. I didn't know what would really happen one way or the other. Since it was a paranormal story, I expected gory scenes and boy did I get um! They were very descriptive and nauseating which I loved.  The author did a great job of describing the "dark" Anna and the things she had done. One particular scene in the basement made me actually cringe.

           Anna was also a big part of the book, obviously, and I thought she was great. She was strong, funny, vulnerable and sweet, but still dangerous. I didn't know what to expect from her. Other secondary characters were Carmel (oh so popular chick) and Thomas. Carmel was a stereotype of a popular, good looking girl (as if there are any other kinds) and Thomas the geek. They started out of static however, by the end, they were much more complicated and diverse than I expected. Blake did a nice job of giving complexity to each character.

            It took me about a week to get through the book. I know when the plot is slow when I start skipping to future pages to see what's going to happen. I did want to see I just felt it really lagged in the middle. The end picked up speed and I was satisfied with the ending.

It was a slow read. I was interested in seeing what happened but had to push myself to finish it. I don’t have anyone in particular I would recommend this to. Not sure I would pick up the next in the series-----6.5