Review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake (Anna #1)

won from vvb32 reads

Synopsis from Goodreads
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.

Amazon  US/UK(£3.91!) | Amazon kindle US($2.99!)/UK | The Book Depository US/UK 


* * *
Anna Dressed in Blood is a very very good horror story, one that will keep you turning the pages until the very end. It's tense, exhilarating and pretty dark.

Why on Earth then did you give this book lower rating? you might ask.

Truth is, I felt that with all the excellence of this novel, the love story was completely unnecessary. It's awkward at its best, developed under highly unlikely circumstances and it just doesn't stick.

Why would a boy who sees Anna as his target, who just witnessed the girl killing someone in the most gruesome fashion suddenly feel for this girl? I'm sorry, but no. Sympathy, pity, certain respect, fear... I can understand that. But love? That's pretty twisted.

Cas himself reminded me of Cassel Sharp from Holly Black's Curse Workers series. He likes to feel superior to his peers, detached from their worries, but in reality he is not that good at what he does. He manages to do it by sheer luck and perseverance, but not because of his skills and cunning. Hell, no. There are plenty of people around who really appreciate what he does and who help him all along the way.

The secondary characters though are really well done. I admire them for going against stereotypes. Carmel, especially. She is a beautiful blond cheerleader. Strong, not egocentric and very clever. She's got a really good heart and she falls not for Cas, the main character, but for his geeky mind-reading sidekick slash witch, Thomas. I thought it was awesome.

The scariest moment of this book? The cat dies. You do not kill the cat! *sobs* It's just so unbearably cruel.  Kill humans instead. Pets are no-no, unless they are from The Pet Cemetery.

All in all, this is a fantastic read, full of suspense, and a very good murder mystery. Ditch the love story, and we'll have something truly great in the books to follow. I also hope to see more of Carmel and Thomas.

* * *
Обалденная книга! Жуть как понравилось практически всё - чудовищная натура Анны, интрига с расследованием её убийства, замечательные второстепенные герои, которых я просто полюбила гораздо больше Каза.

Каз сам по себе напомнил мне чем-то Касселя Шарпа из серии Холли Блэк. Он чувствует своё моральное и физическое превосходство над своими современниками, но по правде говоря он не так уж и хорош в своём ремесле. По большей части он выезжает из очень плохих ситуаций на удаче и своём упорстве, а с планированием и нахождением призраков ему помогает куча обычных людей, которые благодарны за то, что он хоть и плохонький, но наш охотник за привидениями.

Сильная сторона книги - замечательные второстепенные персонажи - Кармел и Томас, что чем-то напомнили мне команду Баффи. Кармел - блондинистая, хорошенькая чиарлидерша, которая в отрицание всех стереотипов, оказывается умной, рассудительной и находчивой девушкой. К тому же, она влюбляется не в Каза, как этого ожидаешь, а в Томаса - тощего ведьмака и, читающего мысли, ботаника. Оба, и Томас, и Кармел - одно удовольствие, и я надеюсь, что мы их увидим в следующих книгах.

Единственная проблема сюжета для меня - это совершенно ненужная любовная линия Каза и Анны. Ну, зачем? Мне очень трудно поверить в развитие любовного интереса когда у тебя только что на глазах убили парня, разорвав его на части, с кишками и прочими прелестями, размазанными по полу... Я могу понять уважение, страх, жалость, даже сочувствие Анне как жертве, но любовь? Мягко говоря, я нашла её странной.

Однако, книга  читается на одном дыхании, и я рекомендую её всем поклонникам кровожадных призраков для обязательного прочтения.

Самый страшный момент? Кота *рыдает* убили, мать вашу!


  1. I've ordered this book for myself when it's out in mass market paperback and I'm looking forward to meeting all these characters! I'm not actually a big fan of love stories most of the time so will be looking out for that! :-)

  2. Ooh... they kill the cat? Do you know I haven't read this one yet? I think I need to read it, it sounds really intesting. But I'll wait a little too many books to read lol. yesterday I bought the Carrie Vaught superheroes book, because I saw it on your blog. it's baaad! And now I want this one.

  3. Mel and Melliane, I think you both will love it! :)
    Melliane, that book by Carrie Vaughn is really gorgeous, I loved it! and I totally understand your problem with buying books faster than you can read them, I'm the same :)

  4. Awesome review!! I have had this on my TBR pile since Xmas along with dozens of others that I cannot wait to read!

    This one sounds really exciting! I love a good creepy read! But I so agree with you about not killing the pets! I don't like it in movies either, I usually make excuses in my head that they didn't die, they ran away because they were smarter than the humans!

    Regardless of that factoid, this one sounds superb! I cannot wait to read it even more! Excellent review, again!

  5. Since I am silly the title and cover always made me turn away. But your review of the book sure makes it sounds good

  6. I've been meaning to read this for a while now! Thanks for the review. Makes me want to bump it up my to-read list. :)

  7. I'll probably order this one in the near future. I read quite some good things about it and it seems like a very intriguing read. Thanks for a great review!

    Aleksandra @ Divine Secrets of a Little Bookworm

  8. Jessica, Eva, Blodeuedd, Alexandra, - buy it or borrow it, but read it! It's a strong and suspenseful read and I definitely promise, - you will be entertained :)

  9. Actually, while I enjoyed the romance aspect... you're so freaking right LOL. I tend to deliberately not think about these things that in the real world, would spell a big effing NO toward love developing, but in fiction... I guess I can kinda look over them?

    Anyway, I'm so glad you enjoyed this!! I adored the secondary characters too. And the poor kitty ;( Fantastic review!

  10. Thanks, Brodie! I just think that sometimes fiction goes too far and in those cases I can not suspend my disbelief :) In this case it was just a slight thing as in the love line was not necessary, but I'm glad the author didn't overdramatize it and concentrated on the world and character development in general.

  11. I totally agree with you Kara! The love story was the weakest part of the read for me too. I had some sympathy for Anna but didn't feel the romantic connection between her and Cas. I also saw the similarities between Cas and Cassel, and I liked the secondary characters a lot. But the cat. Oh, my gosh, that was awful. I kept waiting for it to come back or something. What an awful way to meet your end. You are SO right. You can't kill the cat or dog or horse, people! You just can't!

    Anyway, I will definitely check out Bk. 2 to see what's next for Cas and the crew because even w/ it's faults it was seriously creepy (love that voodoo aspect!) and a fun read:)


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