Book Review: “Anna Dressed in Blood” by Kendare Blake (Anna #1)

What an arresting cover. Just... wow. And the color scheme continues inside the book itself, with the type done in a very attractive burgundy that's both pretty and easy to read.

Title: Anna Dressed in Blood (Click to add to your Goodreads!)

Author: Kendare Blake

Available In: Hardcover, eBook for Kindle, eBook for Nook.

Maturity Level: Mid-to-upper YA. Quite a bit of violence, blood, and gore, and one sensitive scene that directly addresses violent assault on a child. Strong language.

You May Like This Book if: you enjoy the TV shows Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries, The Secret Circle, or Buffy the Vampire Slayer; you like a strong horror story; you’re a fan of Holly Black, Melissa Marr, or Sarah Rees Brennan’s; you enjoy paranormal investigative fiction; you’re looking for a fast-paced, evocative read.

You May NOT Like This Book if: you don’t like YA or horror; you dislike gore and violence.

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS.

Theseus Cassio Lowood has a job to do, and it’s not the normal teenager’s occupation of bagging groceries: he hunts and kills maleficent ghosts. It’s a legacy that’s been passed down through his family for ages, and Cas is pretty okay with it. And luckily, he has his mom (who sells charms and potions that she brews up on her kitchen range), her ghost-sniffing half-Siamese cat, and a motley group of friends and informants across the world to help him out. When one of them tips him off about a ghost known (ominously) as Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas immediately finishes his current job and takes off to Thunder Bay, Ontario…. Where he just might find more than he was looking for.

Anna Dressed in Blood is by far one of my favorite books read in 2012. The pacing, characters, and concept come together to form a fast-paced read with lots of humorous/chilling/downright scary moments. Cas’ world is not all that different from ours, but the way in which it is realized is a joy to read. I absolutely ADORED Cas’ mom (particularly scenes where she was trying to sell him on different colleges based not on academic subjects/cost/career opportunities, but on the population of ghosts in the immediate vicinity) and Tybalt (warning: if you’re a cat person, there’s at least one scene in this book that will squick you out). Anna was brilliant, and the relationship she has with Cas is quite a beautiful one, a tenuous connection between a guy who purposely pushes people away and a girl who has been burned one too many times by betrayal. She’s also a badass with a conscience, which is always a plus.

Annnd the references. I almost don’t know where to start with those. There’s the obvious Supernatural connection (ESPECIALLY in that first scene with the hitch-hiking ghost), along with myriad references to Buffy, Harry Potter, Bruce Lee, The Hulk, The Matrix, and GHOSTBUSTERS (which lead to several scenes in the book that made me laugh out loud). These references could have become very heavy handed and derivative, but Blake is pretty skilled at nodding to other fandoms and then going right on to her own story.

Overall, this was a super fun read with ghosts, blood, and a kickass cast. I’d definitely recommend it to fans of horror and ghost stories, and will most certainly be rereading it as soon as I have the chance. 😀

Pros

  • Tybalt.
  • Theseus Cassio Lowood. Most awesome name ever.
  • Awesome worldbuilding.
  • Cas’ mom.
  • The romance. ❤
  • Blake obviously did her research regarding ghost stories, lore, and Wicca.

Con

  • Cas is just a little bit pretentious.
  • A lot of sentences are the same length.

Favorite Scene (s):

  • Pgs 1-10. Excellent opening that had me hooked from the beginning. It didn’t hurt that there were plenty of SPN references to excite my inner fangirl: Cas, a classic car, and a hitch-hiking ghost? Yes, yes, and YES.
  • Pg 200-205. Here’s where we find out exactly what happened to Anna, and it is absolutely CHILLING. I literally felt like I’d been punched in the gut after reading it.

Favorite Line (s): “Don’t be afraid of the dark, Cas. But don’t let them tell you that everything that’s there in the dark is also there in the light. It isn’t.”~pg 132

Star Rating on Goodreads: 4.5 out of 5

Final Grade: A+. Nice read, very slick and full of references to things that I love. Solid ghost story that looks like it’s going to be continued excellently in the upcoming Girl of Nightmares , which I am eagerly awaiting.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Book Covers of 2012 (So Far)

Greetings, dear readers. I apologize for being woefully absent over the weekend– there has been some rather crazy stuff going on in my life recently, and dealing with the fallout meant that I had to cut my blogging time a little :/. However, I’m back now, and so without further ado, allow me to present:

Em’s Top Ten Favorite Book Covers of 2012 (So Far!)

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the absolutely charming folks over at The Broke and the Bookish.

  1.) Cinder by Marissa Meyer

   I haven’t read Cinder yet, but the cover is definitely one of my ultimate favorites. The juxtaposition of the slightly robotic leg and the red shoe is really quite attractive, and the font is glorious.

2.) Endlessly by Kiersten White

I personally think Evie looked better in Supernaturally‘s red dress, but I love purple and the sheer saturation of the purple in this cover is really, really pretty.

   3.) Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins

     I call this one the “dime-store gothic” cover. It’s kinda corny, but I love it. :3

                                             

4.) For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

Do I really need to comment? This one is just BEAUTIFUL.

  

5.) Illuminate by Aimee Agresti

   Again, this cover is just pretty. I love the little shadow-wings and the twinkling lights 🙂

        6.) Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian by Eoin Colfer

      I have one word for you all: GOGGLES.

 7.) Faery Tales and Nightmares by Melissa Marr

  Love love love that dress. ❤

8.) Katana by Cole Gibsen

Awesome chicks, double swords, and sakura blossoms? Count me in!

  9.) The Book of Lost Fragrances by MJ Rose

  More pretty! 🙂

10.) Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

Again, SO MUCH PRETTY.

What are your favorite book covers of 2012? Comment below and let me know or link me back to your own TTT!