Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Final October Spooky Reads!! Review by Christyn! Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake. 4.5 Coffee Cups!!

Happy Almost Halloween!! Christyn here with the 4th and FINAL review of our October Spooky Reads feature here at The Book Cafe!

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1)
by Kendare Blake
Genre: YA Horror/Paranormal

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. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: 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.

Yet she spares Cas's life.

Reviewed by Christyn :)

My Rating: 4.5 Coffee Cups!!

This book has been on my TBR list pretty much since it's been out. Which has been nearly 4 years. I honestly can't tell you what took me so long to actually read it. It's completely my kind of book. And when we decided to do this feature for October, I knew this would be my book (with a little push in that direction from Coll). And it absolutely DID NOT disappoint. It is the perfect mixture of horror and romance and spooky-ness and an odd bunch of friends. 

Theseus Cassio Lowood (or just simply Cas) is a ghost hunter. Think along the lines of Supernatural. Armed with a mystical, ancestral athame Cas travels the country with his Wiccan mom (he is only 17) looking for valid stories of vengeful, violent ghosts and banishing them with a weapon only he can wield. He is left this duty after the death of his father. And he spends his time honing his skills in the hope to one day face off against the ghost that killed his father. And he gets one tip of a ghost in Thunder Bay, Canada and per usual him, his mother and her cat Tybalt pack up and head to Canada.

"We're driving close to the lake now, and I can hear Superior whisper to me in waves about all of the dead things she hides beneath her surface, staring through the depths with murky eyes and fish-bitten cheeks."

His first day at school he hears about the ghost that he's looking for, Anna Korlov. Stories of the gruesome deaths of vagabonds and adventurous teens who dare to step foot in her home. Anna Dressed in Blood. That first night also brings him face to face with the most powerful ghost that he has ever encountered. He sees firsthand that the stories were not exaggerated. But when she had the opportunity to kill him she spared his life. She was torn, but held onto herself enough to allow him to flee. This encounter did what Cas has NEVER done before. It caused him to have to rely on others. More specifically, part-time psychic and witch Thomas and Prom Queen Carmel. An odd group if there ever was one, but their night in Anna's house of horrors bound them together in something Cas has never had- friendship.

He knows what he needs to do. He needs to banish Anna. Just like he has to every other ghost he's hunted since he was seven. But something is stopping him. Anna is different. Not only did she spare him, she looked conflicted. And it felt off. He didn't know what the problem was but he was determined to get to the bottom of it. 

Cas is a complicated character. For lack of a better phrase he's a loner. He wants a normal life, in theory, but knows that's not what's meant for him and he has accepted that. So when the things he didn't believe he had enough room for in his dangerous and less than appealing lifestyle start actually becoming realities for him, he doesn't know what to do with it. You get enough inside his head that you feel his confusion and frustration and disgust. 

This story takes a little bit to unfold, but once it does it's both gruesome and enlightening. My only gripe is it could've been a little scarier (this was my Halloween read after all). You get a glimpse into what makes Anna Anna. You see early on the path that the book wants to take, but you're really not sure how Kendare Blake is going to make it work. But she does and she makes it feel as though it's the natural progression of the book. Which I suppose it is, because I know that when I read the last sentence of the book I wanted more. Oh did I forget to mention there's a sequel? ;) 

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