Review #38 // Anna Dressed in Blood – Kendare Blake

9378297Cassio Lowood is a professional ghost killer. Upon hearing about the legend of Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas and his mother pack up, and move to Thunder Bay. Except, Anna isn’t just another normal ghost that Cas can kill within a few weeks. For some reason . . . she decides to not attack him.

Why this book?: I was actually grabbing Renee Ahdieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn for a friend, and saw this one not far from it. I’d heard about Anna Dressed in Blood, and was searching for a short, decent horror read.

Unlikable characters

To my knowledge, it’s perfectly fine to have unlikable characters within a novel. But even with having characters like that, there has to be another character to contrast that. We all learned this in basic English classes-unlikable characters need a foil character to redeem them. Except, with this book, none of the characters were anywhere near redeemable.

First of all, Blake made Cassio an extremely unlikable braggart character. He thinks highly of himself . . . but then says deprecating sentences about himself. There were other contrasting things about him, which ultimately just got on my nerves. His romance with Anna was one of the weirdest contradictions ever. He’s a professional ghost killer, and what happens? He falls in love with a ghost. A murderous, psychotic, ghost. I realize that’s the plot, but with Blake building up Cas’s reputation of being an amazing ghost killer and everything . . . I just did not understand.

I found none of the other characters interesting. Carmel was just basically her stereotype, the smart, popular girl who actually thinks she’s better than everyone. Thomas was annoying and unnecessary, and Morfran was just randomly inserted into scenes.

Unclear plot?

The flap of the book, as well as the official summary on Goodreads, tell only of Cas’s quest to defeat and kill Anna. Except, that only covers about a third of the book. The rest is them running all over Thunder Bay, and dealing with other things that have no relation to the plot at all. The huge climax is not related at all to the original plot, and came out of nowhere (in a bad way).

I liked the writing. At times Cas and Co. could be quite entertaining. But the fact that my favorite chapter was the first one, where it opened with a pun about dead people, doesn’t bode well for the rest of the book. My expectations steadily dropped until I was just reading to finish the book because I only had a hundred pages left.

Final Rating: ★★☆☆☆


I was disappointed. I was hoping for a story where Anna enchanted Cas, but was still the antagonist in the end. Instead I got a quite awkward and weird insta-love story where a ghost killer falls in love with a ghost. A murderous, psychotic ghost that tore a person in half in chapter seven, directly in front of the ghost killer . . . I guess you could say that it was one hell of an introduction?

Would I Recommend?

The plot had promise, as did the characters. The execution and planning just fell through with the book, making it one disappointment after another. If you’re still willing to try it after everything I’ve pointed out, then Hey! good for you. Personally though? Don’t waste your time.


Additional Information:

Published: October 17th, 2011

Publisher: Tor Teen

Page Count: 320

Genre: YA/Horror/Paranormal

Synopsis: via Goodreads

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.


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