Amazingly, I managed to go into Anna Dressed in Blood knowing nothing whatsoever about the book, despite its immense popularity with my friends. All I knew was that it was a horror novel, but not even anything more than that. Oh, and that this series has badass covers. It’s so rare to get to read such a hyped book knowing nothing and I treasured the experience. Kendare Blake does horror and plot well. Anna Dressed in Blood isn’t the scariest thing I’ve ever read, but it did make me shudder at times.
Kendare Blake has a serious fascination with mythology. Both Antigoddess and Anna Dressed in Blood are steeped in it. I mean, hello, the main character’s name in Anna Dressed in Blood is Theseus Cassio. The fact that he loves his parents despite this puzzles me a bit, but whatever. I was thrown out of the book anytime his name came up, but the rest of the book is good enough to make that not matter so much. On top of that, though, there’s a lot of cool voodoo stuff in Anna Dressed in Blood.
The horror isn’t the constant shock of things coming at you. It’s more the gruesome sort, like the Saw franchise. If this were a movie, I still couldn’t watch it, but as a book it was totally fine. I’m actually a bit surprised they haven’t made a movie out of this, because it’s quite cinematic. Actually, that’s something I’d noticed about Kendare’s writing in Antigoddess, though I do think she’d gotten even better at it by that point. While I had a great sense of what all the horror aspects and settings were like, I had no read on the human characters at all.
It’s hard for me to really describe what worked for me in Anna Dressed in Blood. Though I saw the twist coming, I thought it was a good twist. This book was just highly entertaining. It’s got some weaknesses for sure, but it’s a debut. Considering that, it’s a really solid novel. My attention was held and I was always curious to find out what would happen next and if my theories were correct. I could have done without the animal death, but, considering the large human death toll, I suppose I can let that slide.
What Left Me Wanting More:
What left me cold, as though a ghost were sitting on my heart, were the romances. There are a couple of ships in here and neither of them did the slightest thing for me. I don’t quite unship them either, but there was a whole lot of non-caring to be had from me. Like, how often is it that I am wishing the kissing would stop and the plot could get on the road, at least in a book I actually enjoy? Hello, I am all about the kissing scenes, but not so much this time. I don’t really see a future for either couple, for very different reasons, and their connections aren’t sufficient for me to be invested anyway. It must be the lack of banter.
The Final Verdict:
Though I didn’t have a strong emotional tie to this one or give it one of my highest ratings, I’ve already purchased the sequel. It’s damn fun and I want more. Usually I reread favorites, but I could see wanting to reread these just for the ghostly mayhem.