Title: Anna Dressed in Blood
Author: Kendare Blake
Cas Lowood has inherited a strange job: killing ghosts. Ever since his father was gruesomely murdered by an unknown monster, he's been moving from town to town with his eccentric witch mother and cat. When he receives a new job, he thinks that he could be ready to avenge his father. The ghost he's been called to kill is named Anna. Anna Dressed in Blood. Cas doesn't expect it to be any different from a regular job, but Anna proves to be more tangled up with curses than he anticipated. Ever since her brutal murder, Anna has killed every person to step in her house. But for some reason, she spares his life.
I have mixed feelings for this book. The book is mainly a horror story, and a decently written one. The story starts of quickly and quickly draws you into the suspense and horror of the mythology. The mythology stays true to classic ghosts but with enough twists to keep it from being too predictable. Anna is a truly terrifying ghost and her attack on Cas and his friends is thrilling and is exactly the kind of horror story I appreciate. (well for me at least. You might puke.)
Our protagonist, Theseus Cassios Lowood is a typical Dean Winchester sort (actually creepily so). He knows how to charm his way into the popular crowd to get the information he needs, and acts like a normal teenager amazingly well. This was an extremely high point for me. It's rare that a character conducts himself with such ease while undercover (well except Dean Winchester. But that's the point). I loved it. His arrogance irked me a little--how he was always so forward in approaching the most popular girl in school and being completely sure that she liked him. Jerk. But he's a sensitive guy and that makes up for most of it.
Anna was wonderful and her inner turmoil makes her realistic (aside from, you know, being a ghost). Her backstory is tragic and unexpected and her creep factor is incredible. Her murder scenes are intense and suspenseful. Her reactions to things are realistic--her dealing with the trauma of killing all those people over the years was realistic, unlike the usual sudden burst of depression and bhasghnfdjiogah (you know what I mean).
And all is fine and dandy....until the last quarter of the book.
*you shouldn't read this it's spoilery*
After they solved Anna's murdering people problem, the plot kind of went downhill. The horror element was gone. While the antagonist at the end was scary and brought a lot of action to the end, the suspense factor was gone. It took me a while to get through the last part. The whole point of Anna's character just seemed to vanish. It just completely turned into a different story.
Also, the romance between Anna and Cas. While I love both of them as characters and think that their friendship is adorable and sweet and caring, I seriously had issues with their romance. I mean, she's a ghost (never mind that she hasn't had real contact with another human being for centuries), with black blood and stuff, and Cas is a ghost killer. While many people who've reviewed this book enjoy the romance they have, I just couldn't get over the Anna-is-a-ghost hurdle, no matter how human she seemed.
So it was a great book, except for the last part, and I'll read the next book soon.
Grade: A- Exciting and suspenseful. Recommend for horror and suspense fans.