Anna Dressed in Blood
Series: Anna #1
Published by Tor Teen on October 17th 2011
Genres: Horror, Young Adult
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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.
Here I go again with my new review format! As I explained in my Throne of Glass review, I’m a pantser – in virtually every aspect of my life – especially when it comes to reading. By reading pantser, I mean I avoid the hell out of synopses until AFTER reading books! I feel like summaries generally give away too many plot points, so, follow me on my non-synopses reading journey!
What I Expected [Prior to the Summary Read]
- To be scared out of my wits
- An apparition literally dressed in blood
- An awesome, page-turning, horror-filled book of gore
- An interesting and absorbing story
What I Got
- I didn’t get the creeps AT ALL – I did, however, get a lot of cheese
- A silly and incredibly weird love-ish story
- A sequel I have zero desire to read
- A stupid backstory
I wanted to love Anna Dressed in Blood SO bad. Unfortunately, I believe I set my expectations for the book way too high. Judging from its title and creepy cover, I anticipated being scared to death while reading. There are some admittedly creepily gross parts, but there are few.
Since I rarely read summaries prior to picking up a book, I was wrong about the premise of this tale. Once again judging by the cover and title, I assumed the story would be told from the perspective of Anna, the apparition. Turns out it’s told from the viewpoint of a ghost hunter, Cas, which was disappointing and not exciting.
The main thing about this book that freaked me out is that it’s a pseudo love story – between the ghost and the hunter. It was just a bit too weird for me. I understand characters having connections with each other, but the reason for the draw between Anna and Cas was never totally clear to me.
I thought the book should have ended halfway through the drawn out and often convoluted story. After a resolution regarding Anna, which would have sufficed as the novel’s wrap up, the reader is taken on a reluctant journey as Cas is hunted by the ghost who killed his father. That’s when I really lost interest in Cas, who doesn’t impress me as a character. As a matter of fact, none of the story’s players are well developed, which is frustrating.
I’ve heard rumblings that Blake has a sequel, which focuses on Anna’s story, set to be published soon. I don’t think I’m interested in reading the second book, even though it is told from Anna’s point of view. Honestly, the way in which she loses her life doesn’t seem gruesome enough to warrant her actions toward the living following her death.
This book just left me wanting more – more backstory, more explanation of the ghost ‘killing’ rituals utilized by Cas, more reasons for the intense chemistry between boy and ghost, more discussion about Anna’s state, more story revolving around living characters – of practically every element an awesome book should possess.
Furthermore, Anna Dressed in Blood didn’t excite me enough to hold my attention – it almost became a chore, homework, to read it. I started the book for a Halloween read-a-thon and didn’t get to the last page until the end of November, making it obvious that I just wasn’t into it.
I ultimately forced myself to finish Blake’s book just so I could move on to a more enjoyable read.