Thursday, January 12, 2012

Anna dressed in Blood

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars.

And just when you think you’ve read every possible variable of a story in YA paranormal Anna dressed in Blood comes along. Kudos to Kendare Blake for that!

You know all those scary, blood-and-gore movies you’ve seen (which I can assure I haven’t) about ax-murderers, chainsawers, hellraisers or nightmares on Elm Street? The ones of which I can’t even watch the trailers on TV or I’ll hear creepy noises in the house at night at least for a month? If you have… have you ever sided with the murderer?
‘Cause in this book, the murderer is not necessarily the villain.

This is what I liked about Anna dressed in Blood: it tells the story from a different perspective.
Anna was brutally murdered during the 50s, while going to a school dance, and the perpetrator was never found. Cass is a teen ghost-hunter, a skill he has inherited from his father, also brutally murdered during a job. When Cass goes to Hunter Bay, Canada, to find Anna and banish her, he’s in for a surprise. Anna is an incredibly strong and scary ghost who has killed a lot of innocent people, but she is also a victim, unwillingly obliged to act as she does by some mysterious power.

Anna is, without a doubt, the shining star of the book. A great character, it’s impossible not to feel heartbroken by what happened to her, when we learn how she became what she is. I have to give it to Kendare Blake that her spooky scenes’ descriptions are extremely well done and so vivid and I am very glad this isn’t a movie, or I wouldn’t have slept for a century (awesome first scene with the hitchhiker, by the way). I don’t usually read horror but this, I liked lot. There’s tension, suspense, gore, gallons and gallons of blood, I swear I could hear Anna’s dress dripping blood on the floor *shudders*. Hers alone is the merit for this book getting 3.5 stars from me.

Cass is a different story. I got around to liking him in the end, but for a good part of the book the description that best fit him for me was “pompous ass”. What’s with the aloofness “I’m more experienced and better than all of you, mere mortals?” True, he made me crack up in more than one occasion with his witty, sarcastic remarks but mostly, he managed irritated me. Too full of himself.
I was also slightly creeped out by the fact that he falls in love with a corpse… but wait, she’s not a corpse, she’s a ghost. Then why are ghosts in this book corporeal, yet they can disappear into thin air? How do you tell a ghost from a person? I don’t know why I was disturbed by this – after all, vampires are dead too – yet I was. Might be because she was not exactly your garden variety girl-next-door while in killing mode, who knows.

Thomas and Carmel – but Cass’s mother, Morfran and Will, too – did not really come alive for me (huh, no pun intended), I felt there could have been a bit more character development there and there would have been a bit less eye-rolling from my part.
For example, I nearly threw the book when Cass goes to call Thomas for the summoning spell but since he’s canoodling with Carmel he goes away, leaving them undisturbed. What?! Making out is more important than saving the day? Gimme a break, Cass.

Still, Anna dressed in Blood was a lot of fun to read and pretty original too (even though the author could have avoided one of the various tropes of YA paranormal by leaving out the unnecessary and pre-packed romance, in my opinion), leaving us with an open end but no brutal cliffhanger.
I’m definitely interested in picking up the sequel to this and I want to beg the author to – pretty please! – not make it unnecessarily cheesy.


  1. Haha, that pun was totally intended. Do not lie. :D

  2. Yep I agree with your points, I thought Mofran and Cass' mom were underdeveloped. The book lost its steam after Anna's story was resolved, I didn't get that same scare from the end. Yes, I was creeped out too by the romance!

  3. haven't read this one yet..maybe I will pick it up from the library??

  4. Maja, it wasn't *nose twitches and grows*.

    Heidi, it's true it was less scary in the end. Probably because it turned all romantic?

    kimba88, you certainly should pick it up from your library at least, it got so many 5 stars from people whose opinion I totally trust, so it's just a question of personal taste.

  5. I agree that Anna was the star of this book and I was much more interested in her and her story than any of the other characters. This was one of my favorites from 2011, I'm glad you enjoyed it too!

  6. YAY glad to hear you enjoyed this one!!! I'm a real wimp so I was scared to try this one but it was really good in a bone chilling way! Anna and Cass were great characters but the romance was a bit of a bummer! Great review :)


  7. I just discovered your blog - yay!

    This is one book I definitely did not want to add to my to-read list but now that I've read your review, plus a few others I think I should give it a try

  8. I completely disagree. it was a romance from the very first time he said her name. he loved her through the whole book, he just didnt realise it. and i think it would have be an overkill if it was as scary as some people wanted it. i cant wait for a sequel!

  9. Anonymous, even worse. That means instalove! *shudders*. Anyway, I'll be reading the sequel too and I am glad you loved it more than me. If you look at my co-blogger's rating, it's 5 shining stars.


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