Page Count: 320 pages
Overall Rating: 4 Stars
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. 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: 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.
But she, for whatever reason, spares Cas's life.
Anna Dressed in Blood is a hard book to talk about without spoiling things. It's not really a mystery book, but there is a mystery here. It's full of twists and turns. And, where I thought the book was going to end, I still had more to read and more story to digest. And I don't think I would've liked it as much as I do now if it had ended where I thought it would.
Anna is, by far, my favorite character in this book, which is unusual. Most of the time, it'd be the main character, but this time, it's Anna. She's a deeply thought out character. She's strong and weak at the same time. Selfish and selfless. Sarcastic and serious. She's never just one thing. Anna was a flawless character for me, not in the sense that she didn't have faults, but that she was just perfectly balanced and well-created.
Cas was bitter in such a good way, if that makes sense. He's slightly angry at the world, and it's a well-deserved madness. He's strong, but still knows that he's not perfect, that he is weaker than some. He's realistic with his thoughts. He's slightly impulsive, but I think that has to do with his instinct to fight.
The other characters are good, too. I adored Carmel - Yes, her name is Carmel - and her bravery, despite not having any special lineage. Cassio's mom was sweet and I loved the way that she reacted realistically to her son being put in such dangerous situations. It would've bothered me if she had just thought it was safe. Real mothers worry. She did too.
It was a little slow in the beginning, getting to the actual story. It starts off with a completely different ghost and it takes a few chapters for him to even see Anna. It picks up pretty fast after that, though.
The writing style switches between being full of prose and being a gritty sort of beautiful. It did swear a lot, but I found that it's really the worst in the middle part of the book. In the beginning and near the end, it's much better about it. Cursing in books doesn't usually bother me. In fact, usually, it feels a little unrealistic if it doesn't do it just a bit. But it does curse quite a bit. I counted some of the F-bombs and found at least 12 in the first 150 pages or so.
It's a highly unpredictable book. I did not even consider what happened at the end to happen. I didn't consider nearly half of the book to be there. I thought it would've ended with something that happened around half-way in, but it kept on going.
I didn't really like the semi-cliffhanger type ending. Though, does anyone? I want the next book. Like, right now. Ah.
I will leave you with this.
Anna Dressed in Blood will not leave my mind. It has taken up there, refusing to leave my thoughts.
Anna will haunt your dreams and break your heart. When you lie in your bed at night, staring up at your dark, dark ceiling, you'll wonder if she's lurking in the darkness. Out of the corner of your eye, you'll think you catch glimpses of her dark hair. She will not leave your mind. And you will not be able to forget her.
But I'm not entirely sure if I want her to go just yet. I'm not entirely sure if I want her to leave at all. I think I'd miss her far too much.
Songs I listened to while reading: