Cas Lowood kills the dead. Like his father before him, he follows stories, urban legends, folk tales, to their source and deals with the ghost, the murderous dead, and sends them where they belong.
Cas, and his kitchen-witch mother, have moved to a new town. They came after hearing the story of a terrible ghost called Anna Dressed in Blood. The story goes that any person who enters the house where she was killed is never seen again. Because she kills them!
Cas doesn’t expect to find anything unusual. He comes in like he usually does. He enrolls in the local high school and gets himself invited to party. What better place to find out the local ghost stories than at a high school kegger? He out what he wants. Anna was murdered in 1958. In the house she haunts, in a white dress, that now drips with her blood. Anyone who crosses her threshold is brutal murdered. No one has been there in years. Until now. The local jocks, jerks, take it upon themselves to give Cas a proper introduction. They knock him out and toss him in with Anna Dressed in Blood. Who is definitely NOT at all what he expected. And who does something completely unexpected.
She spares Cas.
The characters are great. I can’t help but love Cas. Like any typical teenager, he’s struggling to find his place in life. He takes up the mantel discarded by his father (since he was murdered doing his work, which was also killing ghosts remember) and, while he’s good at it, you can tell he has an underlying need to prove himself plus he also has this slight confidence problem, which I found endearing and completely understandable. I mean, he’s taken over the “family business” at 17 and the family business is killing ghosts? That seems a hard thing to take over at any age! I thought Blake did a great job of portraying the bravado a 17 year old boy would have, you know, around others (like his mom!), but also giving him this vulnerability and confusion. It really made me fall for Cas quite a bit! Plus, watching Cas make friends for the first time in his life was just priceless.
Anna is, just, wow. What an awesome character. One I feel I can’t say much about, I don’t want to spoil the surprise of her. Cursed in death to kill whomever crosses her threshold; how many characters can you say that about? From her first step onto the pages, Anna is such a lovely conflicted character. She can’t help doing what she’s doing, she’s been doing it for around 50 years, and you can immediately tell what it’s doing to her soul. Of course Cas falls for her. I don’t really think that’s a spoiler either; this IS a YA book. It’s what happens after that event that keeps you reading. Cas is meant to kill her. Will he?
- The plot was great, very original for the genre I thought
- The writing was great, very gripping. This book was hard to put down!
- Strong, well written, and well rounded characters
- Highlights are/is the blood-thirsty ghost?
- You may not like this if you don’t like gory violence.
I was so very surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I haven’t read much in the paranormal YA genre for awhile, because it felt like it was getting so formulaic and predictable. Anna Dressed in Blood was very much not what I was expecting. Engaging characters, excellent twist…I couldn’t help but immediately download the sequel as soon as I finish. (One thing never changes. Cliffhangers.) If you’ve been looking for something new, with excellent writing, interesting premise, and fantastic characters, look no further!
I’ve seen most of what there is to be afraid of in this world, and to tell you the truth, the worst of them are the ones that make you afraid in the light. The things that your eyes see plainly and can’t forget are worse than huddled black figures left to the imagination. Imagination has a poor memory; it slinks away and goes blurry. Eyes remember for much longer.
I can feel that photo of Anna staring at me from sixty years ago, and I can’t help myself from wanting to protect her, wanting to save her from becoming what she already is.
Over the course of my life I’ve been to lots of places. Shadowed places where things have gone wrong. Sinister places where things still are. I always hate the sunlit towns, full of newly built developments with double-car garages in shades of pale eggshell, surrounded by green lawns and dotted with laughing children. Those towns aren’t any less haunted than the others. They’re just better liars.