Anna Dressed in Blood: review

September 14, 2011 2011, 5 star books, horror, kendare blake, Wendy 9

Anna Dressed in Blood
by Kendare Blake

Have you ever stood in your house, listening to a quiet, unfamiliar noise, and felt the hair raise on the back of your neck? Cas Lowood has, and the unholy hell of what he finds when he investigates will make you jump a little bit in your seat. He’s a 17-year-old who kills the dead with a magic athame, just as his father did before him–and now he’s faced with the task of killing Anna, a homicidal ghost who was murdered more than 60 years ago.

Cas is a fantastically strong and appealing protagonist, but it’s really Anna who takes center stage. Imagine the visual of a pale girl with inky hair floating in a dark house, her beautiful white dress slowly drip-drip-dripping with blood. She’s deadly dangerous and full of vengeful fury, however, because of the way she was killed. When you find out what really happened to Anna, it’s hard not to feel terrible pity for her–and to understand why Cas has such a hard time killing her.

If you’ve been looking for a great YA horror novel, look no further. Anna Dressed in Blood is a stunning novel, full of atmospheric spookiness and dramatic horrors. I cringed reading about ghosts with stones where their eyes should be, I yelped when Cas goes down into a basement full of…dreadful things, and my eyes got as big as saucers when the walls starting bleeding. But although the descriptions are full of vivid imagery and there’s plenty of brutal action, what happens isn’t at all gross. If anything, there’s a dark beauty in the descriptions and an elegance in the writing that makes every scene a true pleasure to read. My reading status updates will give you a peek at some of the lines and scenes that particularly made me shiver, but I really had to restrain myself from posting one every couple of pages, as there’s so much to savor, even in simple but humorous lines as “She’s wearing the same smile as her cat.” I found just as much to love in the writing as I did the fantastic story, and the cheeky humor made me laugh even in dire and inappropriate circumstances.

This is the darker, more grown-up version of Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, but it’s much more violent and much more polished. Anna offers an unforgettable thrill of a ride–and it catapulted instantly to my favorites list for the year. I am so excited about this author and I can’t wait for the sequel, Girl of Nightmares, to come out in 2012. Read it, read it, read it! I promise it will make you shudder, in the very best of ways.

Rated 5 out of 5 stars

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9 Responses to “Anna Dressed in Blood: review”

  1. Erika

    I hope to start reading this book later this week! I keep seeing such high reviews so I’m getting very excited about it. Thanks for your thoughts on the book!

  2. KikiD

    I can’t wait to read the second book! I like haunting, sad books and this fit the description perfectly.

  3. Karen

    I just skimmed your review because I just got this one. I hope I can read it this week.
    Love your blog!

  4. Wendy Darling

    Please, please do read this! It’s so much fun and I think the author deserves to be recognized for her achievement.

    Thanks so much for the review and blog love, too–it’s very much appreciated. :)

  5. candyn

    I downloaded the preview for this book when I read your review and then had to buy the rest. It is different than what I’ve been reading lately and I like it. I just love this blog, btw. Whenever I am fumbling for something to read, I just zip over here and find something new. :0)

  6. Flannery (The Readventurer)

    Mmm, this sounds delightful. And I’m going to try working “She’s wearing the same smile as her cat” into an everyday conversation.

    I promise to read this soon. I was supposed to start it yesterday but, well, you know…

  7. Aleeza

    whoa, great review! i think i’m just gonna have to buckle down and read it, despite the fact that i have to read 10 or so books before it :D