Genre: Paranormal, Horror
Published: July 5, 2012, first published August 30, 2011
Publisher: Orchard Books
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
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. -Summary from Goodreads
Cas Lowood never stays anywhere for long. He and his mother routinely blow in and out of towns for the family business: ghost killing. It doesn't leave much time for making friends, but when Cas is researching the gruesome ghost of Anna Dressed in Blood, a ghost known for ripping people up, he needs all the help he can get! He is determined to discover why Anna spares his life despite being just as gruesome as she was rumoured to be.
As far as this book goes, it's pretty darn creepy and mysterious. On my paperback there is a warning against younger readers due to some graphic content and I think that that warning is entirely warranted. In this world, ghosts are excessively gross and Anna rips people limb from limb. And I like it that way. It's original. I loved Cas and the premise of a male YA main character who was actually pretty darn bad-ass.
I liked the characters in general, even if the supporting characters are at times clichéd Cas meets Carmel, the typical popular girl at school who turns out to be a bit more complicated than that. And Thomas, the nerdy boy with the ability to read minds who happens to have a pretty big thing for Carmel. It's a fairly standard set of sidekicks, but the real icing on the cake is Anna herself. She's scary, yet fragile and there's something innocent lurking behind her evil eyes that makes you want to know more. It had really me turning the pages to find out what happened to her to make her that way.
So, if you're looking for a creepy read, then look no further than Anna Dressed in Blood. It's a refreshing male perspective to the YA genre. And with Halloween approaching, this would be a great series to pick up! It's got blood and guts with some mystery and romance thrown in. What else could you want from a ghost story?
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