Monday, April 9, 2012
Review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story...
Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder 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. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, 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, but now stained red and dripping 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.
And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.-GoodReads
When I was 13, my best friend, I'll call her Evil Kristin, thought it would be funny to scare the living shit out of me. Unfortunately, she decided to make this a regular occurrence as scaring me was so very entertaining. I remember at a sleepover her mother had recently bought the hardcover of the book "The Exorcist". She put it right next to my pillow so that when I woke up it would be staring at me. For those who have never seen the book, here you go:
The next morning I turned over and stared into the eyes of horror and screamed so loud her Siamese cat vaulted off the bed and face-planted into the closed bedroom door.
Evil Kristin continued on her "Pussification of Heather Tour" throughout our teens. She convinced me to watch "The Shining" by telling me she had watched it with her brother and it had a "really sweet ending". Every time I would get up to use the bathroom, she would screech "REDRUM, REDRUM!" and I would usually haul ass back to the bed either slamming my toe into the bedpost or kneeing the dresser at full speed. It was well into my thirties before I would go alone to fill the ice bucket at a hotel.
Anna Dressed in Blood regurgitated similar feelings in me but without the embarrassing, teenage self-consciousness that always followed.
Our fearless leader, Cas Lowood kills/gets rid of the dead that cannot cross over. Cas and his mother move from place to place ridding the towns of whatever evil spirit is wreaking havoc on it's citizens. They move to Thunder Bay, Ontario where the ghost of Anna Korlov is rumored to have slaughtered countless trespassers who have dared to seek refuge in the dilapidated house that she resides in. What follows is a freaky, sweet, endearing and at times, scary as fuck horror story. As Cas has spent his life moving around, he struggles with creating attachments to his high school friends and to Anna as well, because Anna is different than the rest of the ghosts he has killed. The dynamics between Cas and his new acquaintances, living and dead, results in some very entertaining reading and I enjoyed watching Cas' battle within himself to acclimate to his new surroundings.
In spite of my obvious squeamishness to anything scary, I had a blast with this book. The characters were interesting, the dialogue was witty and well-written and the plot moved along seamlessly. I'm glad there is a sequel in the works as I would hate to think I wouldn't be hearing from Cas again.