Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1)

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Less than scary, but entertaining
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
Lately I’ve been on the hunt for unique YA reads that promises an interesting story. Anna Dressed in Blood filled those criteria, and skimming through, it seems to have gotten high ratings from my friends. And as an added bonus, it was on sale. So I was really happy that, for the most part, Kendare Blake delivered what I was looking for.

First off, I was really excited because Anna Dressed in Blood is narrated by a guy. The YA genre is heavily dominated by females, so this was a nice change. And I liked Cas as a protagonist. He was realistic, likabale, had an appropriately sardonic sense of humor, and was in general just a nice kid.

Blake’s cast of supporting characters was good, too. Cas had a couple of Harry Potter-style sidekicks who ended up dating, Cas’s mom was thankfully not an annoying dysfucntional YA parent, and everyone else was really interesting.
Now I was slightly disappointed in Anna herself, just because I was expecting some ferocious teen ghost or something, while in reality Anna was actually really sweet and shy and mopey. Of course, I can’t at all blame Blake for my misconception, and it really wasn’t a big deal in the long run.

I also really liked the world of ghost hunting that Kendare Blake created. The Wiccan and voodoo elements were really interesting for me, and I think the author explained them without sounding too info-dumpy. The spell the gang used in the middle of the book was pretty cool. I’m not well learned in magic or witchcraft, but it all seemed pretty realistic to me.

The big problem I had with Anna Dressed in Blood was the plot. If you take a knife and cut this book exactly down the middle, you will find two very different conflicts. The first half of the book is about Cas’s need to stop Anna from killing people/haunting her house. Halfway through, Blake almost entirely resolves that issue and then the book moves on to an issue having to do with Cas’s athame (ghost killing knife) and the person who killed his father.

In my opinion, it would have been better to split this book in half, flesh both sides out a bit more, and then present them as separate novels. There is nothing wrong with either of the two conflicts presented—they were well executed and not tediously boring, I just felt that having them both shoved together under one title isn’t the best plot construction choice.

Oh, and can I just briefly say that Malvina is the silliest bad guy name ever? Come on, it’s practically the same as Maleficent.

While not as creepy or gory as I was expecting, Anna Dressed in Blood is still a very good book. I enjoyed the storyline (even though it was bulky), and thought the characters and paranormal elements meshed together really well. Blake left things wide open for a sequel, and I’m definitely anticipating Girl of Nightmares. Bottom line: I recommend this to…well, anyone.
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I Just Couldn't Get Into It! =(
(Updated: July 14, 2012)
Overall rating 
 
2.7
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
1.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
I loved the whole idea of this book! I couldn't wait to read it.. And When I did I was disappointed! I couldn't really relate to the main character which made it so hard to enjoy! When writing a book the most important thing is to make a relatable chracter that readers can understand! One thing I did like were the horror scenes.. It had me looking under my bed && inside my closet before I could even open the book or look at the cover! I also liked the forbidden love that Anna shared with the main chracter! I know when I like a book when I remember mostly all the chracter's names.. But unfortunately the only name I remembered from this book was Anna.
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To Love Cas or Not to Love Cas...
Overall rating 
 
3.3
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
Three things about Anna Dressed in Blood.

1. I like Cas and I don't like him. His character is good, but sometimes annoying (at least to me) and I feel that in some instances he ruined the scariness of the book. He had such a straightforward attitude to scary things in general that his descriptions though normally terrifying had an air of "This is normal, everything will be fine." That made it not as scary for me. Which disappointed me, I was so looking forward to getting scared by the book!

2. The plot was...odd. Not bad, but not spectacular. At parts the flow didn't make sense, but when I got to the end I got the reason for the way it flowed. I missed a lot of foreshadowing and that made some parts of the end super confusing.

3. I wished it had more atmosphere. Looking at the cover I felt that the book should be steeped in setting and atmosphere, and yet it wasn't. The town could have been anywhere, there was nothing special about it. The only place that got any real atmospheric description was Anna's house (granted that place was done superbly!). So yeah, I was kinda disappointed about that aspect of the book.

However, despite these mixed feelings I truly enjoyed the book. I loved the secondary characters and how they developed and the story was enjoyable to read and the writing engaging. I liked the romance, but I wish it had been better developed (I guess I should have added that to my list of "Three Things"). Still I liked it a lot and am eager to read the sequel!

Soundtrack: Wood by Second Person (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILo1v6Y7IB4)
Good Points
Cas and the characters as a whole. The plot.
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