Oct 13, 2012

Review: Anna Dressed in Blood

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.

***4.5 OUT OF 5 STARS***

I think I ate up this book in the short time span of three days... I do dig a decent ghost legend, and that is exactly what I got with Anna Dressed in Blood. It's not one of those stories that holds back, sparing readers the bloody and slightly horrific details ~ it gives you a full-on, up-close image of the havoc wreaked by the fashionably blood-adorned Anna.

Cas, our little hero of a ghost slayer, reminds me of Dean and Sam Winchester from Supernatural. He has pent up issues he does everything in his power to suppress; he's low on friends due to his constant chasing of urban legends and ghost stories; and a freak-show demon helped itself to his dad like an all-you-can-eat buffet. The kid is tough ~ can pretty much handle anything that comes his way... and that's what he's counting on when he comes face to face with the infamous Anna, the most powerful ghost he's ever encountered...

    This city smells like smoke and things that rot in the summer. It's more haunted than I thought it would be, an entire layer of activity just under the dirt: whispers behind peoples' laughter or movement that you shouldn't see in the corner of your eye. Most of them are harmless - sad little cold spots or groans in the dark. Blurry patches of white that only show up in a Polaroid. I have no business with them.
    But somewhere out there is one that matters. Somewhere out there is the one that I came for, one who is strong enough to squeeze the breath out of living throats.
    I think of her again. Anna. Anna Dressed in Blood. I wonder what tricks she'll try. I wonder if she'll be clever. Will she float? Will she laugh or scream?
    How will she try to kill me?

The details in this novel make you cringe, but try as you might, you can't look away... Anna literally tears people limb from limb, and the image of her, even when formed through the simple black and white of words, tends to sear itself into your nightmares... Her tattered white party dress stained with the drip-drip-drip of crimson... Two black orbs in place of eyes... dark veins covering her pale skin... *creeped-out*... But she's still the most lucid ghost Cas has ever come across, intriguing him.. Why is this? What happened to her to give her such power?

We see glimpses of Anna as she was before, beautiful and innocent... And there's something about Cas that keeps her from hurting him... They have this strange connection that defies life and death... Of course it would happen like that for Cas ~ the only girl he's ever fallen for would just have to be dead already...

She is with me all the time. I feel stupid now, for not seeing it sooner. But hey, at least we'll have this strange story to tell, love and death and blood and daddy-issues. And holy crap I am a psychiatrist's wet dream.

As you can tell, Cas has a pretty blunt voice ~ hilarious, but right to the point. He doesn't mess around with niceties and he's fiercely independent, which is both a blessing and a curse for a teenage guy who hunts ghosts... You praise his strength just as much as you pity his predicament... I don't think he'd have his life any other way, but you're still tempted to want to shoulder some of the massive burden this kid carries... I fell in love with his humor, courage, stubbornness, and quiet suffering..

This story is as much about Cas as it is about Anna... He learns of her history just as his past catches up with him, presenting him with what could probably be the most difficult decision he's had to make in his young life... Fabulous twists make themselves known, and Cas gains as much pain as he does peace in the end...

Incredible read, creepy and nightmare-worthy... but it also breaks your heart just as it gives you hope... I've got the second book sitting on my shelf just screaming at me to be read... Ahhh, the beauty of "more to the story.."

Happy Reading Everyone :)

~ Keely ~


  1. Great Review. You make me want to read it, but I am not big on Creepy novels. I was thinnking of Sam and Dean whilereading the blurb, then you mentioned it in your review. Love the "I am a psychiatrist's wet dream:". Had me giggling.

  2. I feel so bad because I missed the Amazon sale for this! Y'all keep saying how creepy this book is and I love creepy, scary, gore, blood and guts! Gah!

  3. I loved this one and I'm glad you did too! Anna is such a GREAT ghost and Cas has an amazing voice. I loved learning both their stories and watching them intersect.

  4. I loved Anna! It was a great book and I loved Cas's voice. "The details in this novel make you cringe, but try as you might, you can't look away... " seriously applied to me, I was soooo freaked out during a couple parts but I just couldn't put the book down! Excellent review!


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