Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1)

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More Than I Expected!
Overall rating
 
4.7
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Everybody has been ranting and raving about this book and after reading the summary about it, I knew it would intrigue me. It's supposed to be an ironic paranormal romance which made me slightly nervous because I honestly thought it would be cheesy and not my type of read. Don't get me wrong, contemporary and romance are great, but mixed with a paranormal plot, it just didn't sound too exciting.

I think the order of this book was very well written and it set up the story awesomely. It started out very action packed which I honestly didn't see coming. I didn't expect this ghost story to be gory at all, but this had some very disgusting aspects.

I can honestly say this book made me tear up at some parts. It makes you have hope for some characters. It makes you want to reach into the book and smack the hell out of the others. Point is, either way you felt about them, it still made you feel something. That's what I was hoping for in this book. It exceeded my expectations.
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Haunting and Beautiful! I loved this story!
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Published by Tor Teen
On Shelves Now
Reviewed by: Middle Sis Jenn
The Sisters Say: Sinister and Superb, A sucker-punch to awaken the world of YA!

So, I’ve been staring at this book for months now trying to work up the courage to read it. And when say months, I mean, at least six—but I always psyched myself and decided it was probably too scary for me. So, when I finally picked this up to read, it was a big deal to me. I mean a BIG DEAL! Further explanation? I don’t do horror. Whenever I think I’m kick butt enough to watch a horror movie, I end up sleeping with EVERY light on for at least a week. In fact, when I watched Silent Hill…that week turned into almost a month. I don’t do scary. So, I started reading Anna, completely sure that I would spend my nights lying flat on my back…with dozens of pillows surrounding me….with all the lights on….and with my glasses perched on my nose all night (just in case I heard and noise and needed to quickly scan the room)….and with a bat hiding snuggly under the bed (if I could brave myself enough to look under the bed). AND? Pleasant surprise! Anna was amazing—scary at times, but not so much to warrant an all-night watch-for-the-unworldly-athon.

The best thing about this book—it was the FIRST BOOK EVER where I liked the female main character better than the guy. This is a big deal! Big! I’m usually swept away by the good boy with charming good looks and sweet smile, or fall head over heels for the bad boy whose arrogance rivals only a Greek god’s. But, with this one, I immediately fell on the side of Team Anna. She was so awesome! The way Kendare described her was chilling, and her words wrenched me from the recliner and thrust me straight into that old Victorian where I felt like I was staring the “dark goddess” in the eyes. Full of power and darkness, yet ridden with innocence and guilt; Anna was the kind of bad guy that you just can’t help root for.

Now that doesn’t mean I didn’t like Cas, I really enjoyed him, also. Tough and arrogant, and completely at home in the other world, Cas will definitely leave you breathless at moments. Cas has been left with the duty of sending murderous ghosts back where they belong, but there is a part of him that wonders about his destiny. He struggles with everything he doesn’t know about the world on the other side. I loved watching his journey of truth, and by the end of the book, though his journey is far from over, I felt like Cas had grown from a boy exacting revenge to a man seeking discover the truth about his powers.

Kendare did an amazing job creating the personalities of the minor characters, also. You have 2 sidekicks in this Scooby gang—the quiet, nerdy boy with witchy powers (like Velma, only a dude), and the beautiful, always gets her way popular chick (we’ll call her the modern day Daphne). Together with Cas and Anna, these two will provide the much needed comic relief from the terror of the book.

And what about the story itself?

It was full of twists and turns that (although some you could see coming), kept me on the edge of my seat. The imagery was at times beautiful and poetic, while at other times, sinister and macabre. There were definite gory parts, but surprisingly, they didn’t bother me. In fact, they added to the sorrow of the story. I mean, this is a horror story, but most of the time I either felt an unwavering sadness at how evil had caught so many in its net, and at other times, I was in awe—of the way Kendare put so much power into play. Her world will melt from the page and come alive around you, and there will be times when you will wish it could stay that way!

Okay…so I will leave you with a few statements that you need to remember!

1.) This books is Ah-mazing!
2.) If you are scared to read this book, don’t be! It’s worth the fear!
3.) Anna is freaking unbelievably awesome!
4.) YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK!
5.) My review of Girl of Nightmares (Book 2) will be up soon. Although I didn’t like it as much as this one, it was still great.
6)….AND…AGAIN….You must read this book!
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Scare your pants off amazing!
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Number one thing I loved about Anna Dressed In Blood above anything else? Cas. Hands down, it's Cas. He is the best male character I've ever read! You know the brooding, mysterious boy that makes a debut in almost every novel? He is always the crush of the female character because he is so different. That boy? That's Cas. It's amazing to finally get to see things from that boy's point of view, and let me tell you, it's a pretty intense point of view. As a main character, Cas shows us what it is like to be the lone wolf. The person trying to keep others at bay to protect them. It's sensational!

I do admit that this book scared the pants off me for a bit. Let's be honest, this isn't a book for the faint of heart. In fact, if you're not a fan of slightly gory occurrences? This might not be for you. However if you are okay with some violence in your reading, then you'll love Kendare Blake's story. This is a darker story. One filled with grief, vengeance, and yet still the hope that there is something better out there. The multiple layers create something that is wholly immersive, and easy to read.

Anna Dressed In Blood moves at breakneck speed, and I promise you that if you pick it up you won't set it down until you've finished reading. The way that the characters all compliment one another, the way that just enough suspense gets placed in just the right places, it makes this a story that is massively addicted. In fact, by the time that I reached the end I wanted to throw the book across the room. Not because I didn't love it. Nay, because I wish I had more! I cannot wait.

Suffice it to say, if you couldn't tell from my above ramblings, this is a book that I just adored. Kendare Blake has taken all of the elements that I love in a good story and blended them together into something that is just too good to be true. I never thought I'd find myself enamored with a ghost, but there you have it. Blake has managed to do that for me. I don't doubt you'll feel the same way when you pick up a copy of this book. Anna Dressed In Blood is amazing.
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Bloody Awesome!
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Ghost stories aren’t usually my thing but I heard so many good things about ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD, I had to decide for myself. Now, after reading it, I know why Kendare Blake has so many people talking about her book. She knows how to write a good story and knows how to keep her readers interested. For a book about ghosts, it’s not necessarily horror but it does have enough magic and action to keep you engaged in the story all the way to the end.

The first scene reminded me of the TV show, Supernatural. It’s where we met Cas, the narrator, as he was driving a Camaro, on the hunt to pick up a ghostly hitchhiker. After his father died at the hand of a ghost, Cas became obsessed with avenging his father’s death by trying to kill as many ghosts as possible. I found Cas a little arrogant and smug, since he thought he was one of the only one that could hunt and kill ghosts. He did have the advantage of possessing an athame, a special knife that enable him to kill ghosts, but that alone shouldn’t make him the only or best ghost killer. But overall, I think his smugness was part of his quirky charm and I really enjoyed reading a YA novel with a male’s point of view. We read so many YA paranormal novels with female point of views so I found it refreshing to have a different outlook. Especially since having a male narrator means not getting pestered with annoying girly and teenage… touchy-feely stuff. Also, I loved Cas’s no-nonsense character. He might have been a little distant when it came to making friend but to him, killings ghosts was more important. I found he explained himself quite well when he said, “I guess I never give too much thought to the living.”

After the hitchhiker, Cas moved on to a bigger challenge, and we finally learn about Anna dressed in blood. Who is literally dressed in blood. If I had to describe Anna in one word, I would say Awesome! (A second word, however, would be bipolar). She's unlike any ghost I've ever read about and she scared me to death, at first. Unlike Cas, she wasn’t necessarily vengeful but had murderous tendencies because she was more or less grieving the loss of her life. I won’t reveal more about her because I don’t want to ruin Anna’s story but I do want to mention that the imagery used to describe Anna was absolutely wonderful.

Some of my favorite parts in the book were seeing the relationship between Thomas and Carmel develop (Cas’s friends and sidekicks). Thomas is more or less an awkward geek and Carmel is the prom queen socialite. The unlikeliness of this relationship happening in real life made it that much more enjoyable to read about. Thomas is also the comic relief in the story, while Carmel is more the voice of reason.

One thing’s for sure—Kendare Blake keeps you guessing until the very end of the book. She’s a great story-teller and she has me wanting to read more about Anna and Cas’s lives. I recommend this book to anyone who likes to read YA paranormal novels, and I’m not just saying that because Kendare Blake chose a Canadian city as the setting for her book. According to the author, only two books are planned for the series.
Good Points
- Ghost lore
- Awesome imagery
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Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
ISBN: 9781408320723
Publisher: Macmillan
Pages: 369

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.

Although I didn’t like the ending, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Anna Dressed In Blood! Cas Lowood was one of my favourite character as, after the death of his father, Cas not only takes on the responsibility of continuing his father’s ghost hunting business, but also the responsibility of protecting himself & his mother from unearthly creatures. He tries successfully to balance his paranormal activities with maintaining the pretence that he is just an average teenager, that is until he meets Anna Dressed In Blood, when his father’s paranormal history finally catches up with him. Anna was also one of my favourite characters, as I loved reading about how she became the notorious, Anna Dressed In Blood, and how what happened during her short life triggered the events that would affect the whole community for the subsequent decades during her “afterlife”. Anna was also one of my favourite characters because of her quick wit, and sharp tongue. I love the cover of Anna Dressed In Blood! It portrays Anna, and the events surrounding her in the book perfectly. I would definitely recommend this book!
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Anna Dressed in Blood (A Room with Books review)
Overall rating
 
4.7
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
I’m feeling kind of wishy-washy about Anna Dressed in Blood. On the one hand, I really loved the story itself with all the little side-stories and ghosties, but on the other, something about it just didn’t quite work for me.

Let’s talk characters first. None of them really jumped out and grabbed me with either a great like or dislike. I liked Anna and Thomas a good bit, but that’s about it. Everyone else just fell kind of flat for me, which is actually okay since I’m more of a story girl.

Now for the writing. Sometimes the pop-culture references just got to be a bit much for me. Especially when I couldn’t understand them. They petered out towards the end, so I appreciated that.
Sometimes I felt like I was thrust into the middle of a conversation where everyone else knew what was going on and I was left in the dark. I really don’t like feeling like I have to play catch-up. I don’t need things spelled out for me, I’m pretty good at putting the pieces together myself, but sometimes it felt like the characters were holding some of the pieces hostage from me.
Also, this could just be because the book I finished before this was over 500 pages, but it felt like it was moving a little too quickly at times.

Now that I’ve got all that out of my system, let’s talk the good stuff.

I really enjoyed the story. It’s very rare that I come across a ghost story in YA that’s actually more than face-value horror (such as R.L. Stine), but Anna Dressed in Blood certainly has more going for it. I mean, we’ve got Cas working through his “I’m a lone ranger” complex; a little relationship building with side characters; a ghost that’s evil, but also maybe not; and scary undefined evil character from Cas’s past. That may sound like a lot, but Blake really makes it all work for the story.
I love that Anna actually has a personality and isn’t just all “Kill everybody!”
The Nusthell: Though the characters weren’t my favorite and the story seemed to move too quickly at times, I really did enjoy it overall. Blake has woven a ghost story that’ll have you shivering under your covers, but unable to put the book down because you simply must find out what happens next. This isn’t some shallow “ghost kills people, good guy kills bad ghosts” story either. There’s a real story with history and emotions that’ll completely draw you in.
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Anna dressed in blood by Kendare Blake
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
http://beerensbaby.blogspot.com/
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Step Aside Winchester Brothers
Overall rating
 
4.7
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Anna Dressed in Blood is one of the most original, deeply creepy and engrossing novels I’ve read recently. The story certainly lives up to the eeriness of the cover art and is an interesting mix of supernatural horror and forbidden attraction.

Kendare Blake has created a world in which things that go bump in the night are very real and likely to kill you. Cas is an interesting and wonderfully flawed hero, while Anna's character opens the story to new directions that the reader doesn't expect. Secondary characters are just as important and well-developed and help bring Blake's world to life. Anna Dressed in Blood perfectly balances horror, action and emotion to leave the reader anxiously waiting for the next volume.

I’ll be honest – this book actually gave me a few nightmares. Not because of Anna; she is intriguing and tormented and freaky yes, but there is another character that I truly gave me the chills. Readers will feel compelled to finish this book in one sitting so as not to be too overcome by the death-by-ghost possibilities. Kendare Blake is a talented writer who’s second novel bursts onto the YA Paranormal scene with a bewitching tale.
Recommended for readers of:
Robert Liparulo, Stephen King, Richard Yancey, Maureen Johnson
Good Points
1. Deliciously Creepy
2. Fast-paced
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