Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake, published by Orchard Books on 5th July 2012
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.
‘Anna Dressed in Blood’ is not my typical read but I’d heard so many good things about it that I wanted to give it a try. This is definitely one of those books that you shouldn’t read at night or when you are alone in the house. It’s extremely scary and creepy and certain bits sent shivers down my spine.
The story focuses on seventeen year old Cas who hunts murderers. But these aren’t just any old murderers, these are ghosts who avenge their deaths by killing others over and over again. Following in his father’s footstep Cas hunts them down and destroys them. His ultimate goal s to find the ghost who killed his father.
Before he does this however, Cas and his mother move to a new town so that he can first dispatch Anna Dressed in Blood, a truly terrifying ghost who is responsible for the deaths of many. Anna is a scary sight – she wears a white dress stained with her own blood, which drips in her wake. She haunts the house where she grew up and where people have been known to enter and never leave.
Now this book is definitely not for younger readers, as the warning on the back reads. I have to admit that I found some bits extremely gruesome and the amount of blood spilled throughout the story put me off a bit. If you are at all freaked out by blood, guts and gore then I wouldn’t recommend you read this one.
Cas’s job is made harder when he starts to feel sympathy for Anna and develops feelings for her along the way. Personally, I just didn’t feel the connection between the two. There are certain secrets revealed about Anna later in the book but even though these shed new light on her character, I found it hard to believe that she and Cas could be romantically linked.
Having had quite high expectations for this book, I have to say that they weren’t wholly met but overall it was still an engaging read with plenty of thrills and jump out of your seat moments along the way.