Thursday, 10 May 2012

Review for Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Publisher: Orchard
Release Date: 5th July 2012 (UK)
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance, Ghost Story
Rating: 4/5 stars
Source: Received from the publisher for review

Amazon Summary:
"Cas Lowood is no ordinary guy - he hunts dead people. People like Anna. Anna Dressed in Blood. A beautiful, murderous ghost entangled in curses and rage. Cas knows he must destroy her, but as her tragic past is revealed, he starts to understand why Anna has killed everyone who's ever dared to enter her spooky home. Everyone, that is, except Cas..."

Review 
Anna Dressed in Blood is a book that I’ve heard a lot of hype for especially in the US and I can certainly see why! This has to be one of the best YA ghost stories that I’ve read. I absolutely loved the idea of this book and was immersed in Cas’s world as a ghost hunter from the start. The concept behind the existence of these ghosts and how to “kill” them was brilliant, with the ghost replaying their last moments over to you (and they’re usually pretty gruesome!) and then killing the living in the same way that they died in a vengeful fury made for creeptastic gold.

The book kicks off with Cas getting a call to investigate a particularly terrifying and unusual ghost Anna Dressed in Blood a girl who acts as protector of her old house from 1958 and who literally tears apart limb by limb any person who dares enter her home, her dress once white now dripping red with blood. No one who has entered that house has ever came out but after a horrendous prank gone wrong Cas miraculously manages to escape Anna’s curse of rage and murder and what’s more Anna willingly lets him go free and so begins an unputdownable read of evil and tragedy, of magic and murder and a moving love story between a living boy and a dead girl.

There are three different plots running alongside each other in this book. One about Cas and how he came into the job of resident ghost hunter, another about Anna and what she went through when she was alive that made her into this awful ghost that’s so different and so much stronger than any other that Cas has come across, and then there’s the magical aspect of the book which focuses on curses and voodoo and how they play a big part in the story. Blake isn’t afraid to go full out on the blood and gore and there was always something interesting and exciting going on so that my adrenaline was pumping right till the end.

Whilst this book is chilling and haunting it’s also funny and romantic too. I loved having a bad ass male protagonist who lightened the mood with his witty and snarky comments on many occasions and I loved the unlikely common ground and companionship he found with Anna, who when she’s not ripping people to shreds is actually a very nice girl. I also liked the friends they made along the way Carmel your typical popular girl who actually turns out to be pretty tough and awesome and Thomas a newbie witch in training. The characters personalities put a fun light hearted spin on a chilling ghost story and I loved that unexpected element that lightened the book up when it needed it.

The only complaint I have is with the lack of explanation regarding some areas of the book. The ending was a bit of a disappointment for me in that respect as I hardly got any answers to my burning questions and while I get that the author did that to get us pumped for the sequel I would of liked a little something more to leave me satisfied with the end to this book and to make it feel like a completed novel in its own right.

Overall Anna Dressed in Blood is an amazing and original addition to the YA genre and is as beautiful as it is haunting. If you like your books action packed and your romances deliciously twisted this is your perfect read.

17 comments :

  1. Sounds fantastic! Consider it boosted up my heaving wishlist! :D

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  2. I bought the US hardback of this, and I'm definitely reading it soon- this sounds amazing. Thanks for the review!

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  3. Sounds like my kind of book! Just wanted to say how much I love your reviews too - if you have rated it I will read it as they're always so acurate!

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    1. Thanks JBay I really appreciate that! Your comment's made my day :)

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  4. i thought the beginning was the strongest bit and that it kind of lost its momentum after that. but i saw so much great potential that i felt a little disappointed. i hear the sequel is really amazing so i plan on getting that. and isn't the cover just so pretty!

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    1. I agree that the beginning was the strongest most gripping part of the book and I get what you mean about the momentum by the end it did kind of fizzle out for me but I still really enjoyed it overall, I'm glad to hear the sequels amazing I can't wait for it although I feel like we might be waiting a long time with Anna not even out in the UK yet!

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  5. I've heard really good things about this one! I love ghost stories and I'm planning on saving this one for a Halloween review! :)

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  6. I loved this one and keep recommending it now its coming out in the UK! Im glad you enjoyed it too!

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    1. Glad you loved it too :D I'm so excited that it's coming out in the UK!

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  7. Adored this book. Seriously can't wait for the sequel! Great review!

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  8. This YA ghost story is definitely marketed towards the older end of the YA market. It was a bit adult with some gratuitous cursing, and some rather grizzly violence but on the whole had a pretty exciting plot and a terrific central ghost story which the book is titled after. Blake definitely created a great premise. There were plenty of pop-culture references (though surprisingly none to the FOX show Supernatural which was rather surprising considering the similarities)and the 17-year-old ghost hunter male narrator was overall well constructed. Unfortunately, the female author didn't completely sell me on the male perspective, and the central romance fell a bit flat for me (though if you liked the Cristina Ricci version of Casper, maybe the romance would have a greater appeal). The writing too was a bit uneven, with a plethora of passive verbs slowing down the action. The ending is open enough that a sequel just may follow.

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    1. Thanks for your thoughts Danmark I enjoyed reading them! There will indeed be a sequel called Girl of Nightmares I'm looking forward to it :)

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  9. I enjoyed this one, but couldn't help but feel that there was something a little flat about the characters--I just wanted to feel a bit more involved in the narrative and characters than I did.

    Thanks for the thoughtful review. :)

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