Thursday, 5 September 2013

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

“I’ve seen most of what
there is to be afraid of in this world, and to tell you the truth,
the worst of them are the ones that make you afraid in the
light. The things that your eyes see plainly and can’t forget
are worse than huddled black figures left to the imagination.
Imagination has a poor memory; it slinks away and goes
blurry. Eyes remember for much longer.” 

Have you ever heard a strange sound or seen a cat hissing at something that isn't there, your hair stands up on the back of your neck and yet you tell yourself there isn't anything there, that your being silly. Well Cas Lowood would tell you different, those noises, that creepy feeling you get, that my friend is a ghost. 

Cassius Theseus Lowood has had a somewhat unconventional upbringing, he never stays in one place for very long, his mother is a white witch and his father, well his father hunted the dead for a living a job that is now Cas' after his father is brutally murdered by one of the ghosts he was trying to kill. You see if a person is murdered in a particularly gruesome way they tend to not move on from the place they died and they have a tendency to recreate their deaths with the living and so Cas using his powerful atheame sends them on to some unknown place. Cas' next 'ghost' is Anna, known locally as 'Anna dressed in Blood', Anna was killed nearly 60 years ago and has killed anyone who has ever entered her home,  she is one of the most powerful ghosts Cas has ever encountered and there is also something else unusual about her, something that Cas needs to unravel.

I didn't know what to expect when I started reading Anna dressed in Blood and yet I was thoroughly surprised, it is spooky and atmospheric, everything you want from a horror novel. Blake's descriptive writing makes the book what it is, the scenes describing Anna killing are horrific and I was thoroughly freaked out when Cas was in the basement and Anna was making him see the bodies of those she has killed. And yet its more than just Blake's ability to be vividly descriptive, yes she can make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck and I could envision Anna in all her bloody glory but it was also beautiful and elegant in a way that made it hard to put down. Blake created such a dark and gothic novel and yet it is has these light moments that were funny and sweet. 

Rather unusually for a YA book and especially one that has a little bit of romance in it, this book is narrated by a male character. Usually I struggle with male protagonists in this genre because more often then not they aren't written in a way I find relatable. However Cas does not have this problem, he is charming and funny and it seemed like Blake really has a great insight into the mind of boys that made this book exciting and readable.

Another thing I really appreciated about this novel was the fact that Blake created a haunting character in Anna, she has suffered through such terrible things and in turn done horrific things to other people and yet like Cas we learn to grow to actually like Anna. She is broken and lonely, she breaks you heart and yet Anna is responsible for a lot of the creepy scenes in this story. Once again its Blake's writing that can paint Anna as a monster, a vengeful and furious spirit capable of ripping a boy limb from limb and then in the second half can have us feeling such a great amount of pity for Anna when we find out the circumstances surrounding her death. 

Even though this story is all about Anna, Cas is still a great protagonist, he is egotistical and confident in a way that isn't necessarily annoying, he kills ghosts for a living, wouldn't you have a little bit of a confidence problem if that's what you did but he is also a nice guy, he treats those around him with respect and I really loved the scenes with him and Anna as he was trying to get to know her, he was sweet and kind and Blake made Cas a realistic character, he wasn't invincible he is just a boy trying to carry on his fathers legacy. 

Full of twists and turns, Anna Dressed in Blood is a gripping paranormal story, it is not only a dark and sinister story full of blood and gore but it is also a beautiful love story.This is a true horror story, that will have you leaving the lights on when your sleeping and terrified to turn the page, It is a spine tingling and will have to enraptured from start to finish.

“She’s standing above me the goddess of death, black lips and cold hands.”

Don't say I didn't warn you.

My Rating: 4.5

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