Anna Dressed in Blood – Kendare Blake

(Warning: I am still recovering from finishing the anime Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, and therefore I am subject to many feels so if I die in the middle of this review it’s because OH MY GOD IT’S OVER WHAT DO I DO NOW)

So… guess what I got for Christmas from Yanni!

Actually you can probably guess from the title.

IT’S THIS BOOK!

AND OH MY GOD I LOVE IT SO MUCH I LOVE IT I LOVE IT!

Summary

Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story.

I don’t think it can get any better than that, but who cares, let’s try.

Cas Lowood is a ghost hunter. Anna is a murderous, disturbing, powerful ghost that is killing anyone who sets foot in the house that she haunts. But for some reason, she spares Cas’ life.

Cons

Sequel

GIVE IT TO ME NOW GIVE IT TO ME NOW GIVE IT TO ME NOW

Romance

While the romance was very sweet, it was also very fast. Cas started calling her “my Anna” after like a few conversations with her. It was weird. And the way that he became obsessed with her was a bit strange.

And they never explained why Anna couldn’t kill Cas. That was annoying. I guess we find out in “Girl of Nightmares”, the sequel.

FMA:B Withdrawal

The description of the main villain and what he did gave me unnecessary FMA:B feels, because he reminded me of Gluttony, which reminded me that the anime has completely ended and OH GOD WHAT DO I DO WITH MY LIFE NOW HOW AM I STILL NOT OVER THIS IT’S BEEN A WEEK.

Yeah… there needs to be some sort of rehab for people emotionally traumatised by fictional characters.

(BUT IT ENDED.

IT ENDED.

SOMEONE HOLD ME.)

Pros

The Title

Beautiful. Intriguing. Clever.

I just had to mention how much I love this title.

The Cover

IS GORGEOUS.

SERIOUSLY HOW CAN YOU NOT FALL IN LOVE WITH HOW CREEPY AND BEAUTIFUL THIS COVER IS.

(though it’s really creepy especially all the blood on her legs and the dress, but then it is called “Anna Dressed in Blood”, so it’s not for people who can’t stand gore and blood and guts and ghosts.)

People cringed so hard when I showed them the cover. I think it’s beautiful, but admittedly, it is very gory.

Also, apparently, in the hardback edition, it has red writing. Like blood. Like Anna Dressed in Blood.

Writing

Was gorgeous. The descriptions of the places were so vivid, and Cas’ voice was brilliant. I know that a lot of authors can be terrible at finding their teenager voice, especially because they try to throw too much slang in and not enough believability. Kendare Blake pulls it off wonderfully. Cas is easy to read, easy to relate to, but still believable as an arrogant, laid back teenage ghost hunter. Some of the descriptions were so beautiful, yet described things so horrendous and disgusting, that you saw these gruesome images so easily, yet there was a strange mix of horrified and intrigued.

Cas also curses in this book, but it’s well used and not overdone. It adds to the humour but also makes him sound more realistic.

Plot

Though maybe a bit predictable, was fast enough to keep me interested. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I won’t say exactly, but yeah. Good. Great, even.

Characters

Anna – So. Bloody. Creepy. (bloody both ways, actually, since she’s completely covered in blood.) The first time we see Anna, she is the most disgustingly creepy thing you can imagine a teenage girl to look like. I don’t know if Cas even describes what he sees as beautiful, because I’m pretty sure he’s just trying really hard not to throw up. Her feet dragging along the floor, the drip of her dress as she glides down, her black eyes, black veins, black hair… Seriously, it’s gruesome.

Cas – He has flaws! The narrator of a YA Fiction supernatural romance novel has flaws! Finally! He’s angsty, but for a reason. That’s the great thing about Cas, he has a legitimate reason to why he has an abundance of teenage angst, but doesn’t sit around all day just thinking about how miserable his life is. Instead, he gets on with life. He goes out to kill this girl. He does get driven to do stupid, impulsive things by his angst, but at least there is a reason for it.

The relationship – though admittedly weird, was sweet. At one point in the book, Anna basically tries to drown Cas in a sea of corpses that she has murdered. Lovely first date, right? Well, second (third? I can’t remember) date, if you count the time when she murdered Cas’ classmates in front of him, by tearing the limbs off and ripping their bodies in half. After this, they have a pretty mellow and flirty conversation, and Cas suddenly realises that no, this is stupid, they’re trying to kill each other! It’s sweet in a twisted way, and diffuses the tension between the murdering each other scenes. They tease each other about trying to murder each other, and you see that they have a genuine connection, instead of the cop-out that most YA authors take.

Instead of trying to build a relationship, most YA authors  skip to a “magnetising connection between the two of us. I didn’t know why I suddenly felt like we were in love, but we were. Undeniably, unmistakable, unbreakable love.” (that was paraphrasing. I hope no author has ever used that terrible excuse of a romance) Then loads of sweaty, weird, making out scenes, with about five lines of dialogue shared between the two main characters throughout the entire book.

Cas and Anna genuinely like each other. They kiss once, and then the end happens which complicates their relationship a bit.

Humour

For a book about ghost hunting, it’s actually really funny. Cas’ sense of humour is awesome, and definitely my type of humour. It’s sarcastic and makes pop culture references – how could I not love it? The running joke about the ghost busters and Cas’ voice in general sustained light little snippets of mood amongst the grim plot.

Quotes (I’m going to censor out some of the swear words in these quotes, because we keep it PG here at Discombobulated Books.)

  • “You f*$k – you ate my cat!”
  • “But hey, at least we’ll have this strange story to tell, love and death and blood and daddy-issues. And holy crap, I’m a psychiatrist’s wet dream.” (I’d censor out crap, but I’m pretty sure I’ve used crap in a ton of reviews, so maybe we’re not that PG.)
  • “Yes. Smashing. You’ll be just like those four chaps in the movie. You know the one, with the oversized marshmallow.”
  • “She’s like Bruce Lee, the Hulk and Neo from The Matrix all rolled in to one.”
  • “I’ve been Obeahed by an Obeahman? Is this like how the Smurfs say they smurfing smurfed all the time?”
  • “What luck. I chose the douche-y sounding one.”
  • “I jerk my head toward Thomas and immediately curse myself for trying to be a smartass. My head is not healthy enough for smartassery.”
  • “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.”
  • “It feels so separate, like I’ve touched something that’s taken the color out of me. Or maybe I’m in color now and they’re in black and white.”
  • “Over the course of my life I’ve been to lots of places. Shadowed places where things have gone wrong. Sinister places where things still are. I always hate the sunlit towns, full of newly built developments with double-car garages in shades of pale eggshell, surrounded by green lawns and dotted with laughing children. Those towns aren’t any less haunted than the others. They’re just better liars.”
  • “Land of the Dead? Is that what you dream about?” she asks. “Boy who kills ghosts for a living?”
    “No. I dream about penguins doing bridge construction. Don’t ask why.”

Overall

I love this book. I love it so much that I want to give it five stars, so badly, though I don’t know if I should. The relationship, tough weird, was cute, and the book undoubtedly kept me reading when I should have been sleeping or revising for exams. 5 shuriken stars. I can’t help myself, it was awesome.

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5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by thatvoiceinsidemyhead on February 23, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    Started reading this. Absolutely love it!

    Reply

  2. Posted by thatvoiceinsidemyhead on February 24, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    You should send them an angry letter about that

    Reply

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