Rating: 4/5 stars
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Paranormal, Horror, Ghosts
A girl who never sleeps with the lights off.
Before I jump into raving about this deliciously creepy book, I have to give you some backround details. I don't do horror. The only exception to my stay-away-from-things-that-will-disturb-your-beauty-sleep rule is the summer I spent binge-watching Supernatural, and let's just say that my motivations to start this series were far from noble.
Yes, I am that shallow. But the thing is, after the first few nights I couldn't look at the ceiling without imagining a dead woman hanging and bursting into flames, I became seriously addicted to the story of the gorgeous and badass ghost/vampire/demon-hunting brothers. And Anna Dressed in Blood took me back to those wonderful, spooky days.
“Move, hunt, kill. Like lather, rinse, and repeat.”
Theseus Cassio 'Cas' Lowood is a ghost hunter, just like his father before him, and his grandfather before him. Each kill, each time he sends a restless dead to the other side, is one step closer to his secret mission; to face the ghost that brutally murdered his father. When he gets a tip about a gloomy Canadian city inhabited by a dead girl that mutilates her victims, he knows he has to investigate her. Anna. Anna Dressed in Blood, a girl who died under mysterious circumstances that turned her into a ghost somehow different. More aware. More ruthless. More savage. After getting beaten and witnessing a classmate torn from limb to limb, he knows he can't simply kill her with his mystical blade. And so he dwelves into her secrets and the story of her death, only to find out that the Evil he's up against is more terrifying that he could possibly imagine. And that the dead girl is the only one to make him feel alive.
“Anna, my strong, terrifying Anna.”
Anna Dressed in Blood is a bone-chilling paranormal story laced with tragedies and gruesome murders. It holds your interest from the first page to the last, and frantically claws its way to your heart until it smothers it in a bleeding embrace. Kendare Blake makes you face some vivid images you can't get out of your head, and leaves you pondering on the unfairness of it all, and the horrible realization that the living are worse than the dead. Behind every spirit on a killing spree and massacres that twist your insides, there is a living and breathing human, who, driven by his passions, inflicted pain and triggered the series of unnecessary murders. Because it is common knowledge that the ones who don't cross the other side are those who met a violent ending, those with unfinished business. And I commend Kendare Blake for highlighting this terrible truth amidst the blood and gore.
“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.”
There was something bitter and sarcastic in the narration of Anna Dressed in Blood. Cas is a superbly depicted character, whose fear and frustration and longing become your own. He doesn't elaborate much on details, but he paints the city of Thunder Bay clearly, and you can't help but smell the rosemary and the herbs in his wiccan mother's kitchen, feel Tybalt the cat rubbing his head on your feet, hear the leaves rustling and step into Anna's haunted house, only to gag on the decay and despair. Cas doesn't spare us the awful sight of the victims he encounters. But he also doesn't stay there more than necessary. The story of him finding Anna, and friends, and a place he doesn't wish to leave for the first time, is his story of becoming an adult. Of coming across new and frightening feelings, of finally facing the demons of his past, accepting help when he needs it and giving help, even if it is to a dead girl trapped in her violent nature. Anna is a tragic figure. A victim and a killer. Horrible and fascinating. Beneath her murderous rampage hides a girl who didn't have a chance to live her life the way she wanted it. You cry at the unfairness. Your stomach churns and your hands turn clammy before the horror. Your heart threatens to burst from your chest. Yet you wouldn't trade this ghastly and eerie atmosphere with anything in the world.
“You make me want things I can't have.”
Anna Dressed in Blood was a stunning read, and if you're into paranormal and forbidden love stories soaked in blood and coated in smoke, you'll definitely love it!