Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Anna dressed in blood by Kendare Blake

Cas Lowood travels the United States (and sometimes the world) seeking out spirits that are causing havoc for the living and laying them to rest with an athame that only he can use.  But Cas is not your average ghosthunter - he is a teenager who has to fit the ghosthunting around school and the perils that come with walking the halls of your average high school.  His current mission is to find a spirit that kills and dismembers anyone who steps into her house, a spirit know as Anna dressed in blood - a girl who was murdered in a brutal fashion and who has haunted her house ever since. 

Cas is careful to keep his double life a secret, but while hunting for clues about the location of Anna's house, Cas accidentally tangles some other teenagers up in his very complicated life.  Since his father died it has always been just Cas, his mother, and their cantankerous cat Tybalt - but now Cas has found himself making friends and enemies, which is just going to make things really complicated.  To make matters worse, Anna is like no ghost Cas has ever met before.  She is beautiful / terrifying / deadly / sweet / tortured / vengeful / torn and she seems to be a prisoner to her fate, a ghost that has as many secrets from herself as she does from Cas.  As he grapples with Anna, Cas has no idea that something dark is building, something is stalking them and unless he can keep his wits about him then everything may be lost.

Anna dressed in blood is one of the most original novels I have read this year, and not just because the text is the colour of dried blood instead of a boring and traditional black.  The story leaps straight into the action and doesn't really let up until you reach the end of the gripping climax.  While Cas is the main part of the story, his co-stars are more than cardboard cut outs making up the numbers, they have their own stories to tell and have something to add to the story rather than just being props.  I was a huge fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer when it first came out (and own them on DVD now as a guilty pleasure) and this story reminds me of BTVS for a number of reasons - they're teenagers, they have a team of adults backing them up from a distance, the team is not perfect and has its dysfunctions, and most of all the rest of the people around them are totally clueless about what is going on.

It was a great read with some little hints of background story that kept you up to date and moving on without drowning you in details.  The ending was fantastic and kept the surprise right until the end, and while the ending is very satisfying it leaves the book with a place to go into a series if the authors wishes to keep the series going.  One of the best reads for the year and highly recommended.  It wont appeal to everyone because it has strong supernatural themes and the occasional (in context) f word, but it is engaging, a fresh voice, and promises more great things from this new author.

If you like this book then try:
  • Legacies by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill
  • Tighter by Adele Griffin
  • Thyla by Kate Gordon
  • Born at midnight by C.C. Hunter
  • Burn bright by Marianne de Pierres
  • Something strange and deadly by Susan Dennard
  • Masque of the red death by Bethany Griffin
  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Reviewed by Brilla

No comments:

Post a Comment