Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Audio Review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Title: Anna Dressed in Blood
Series: Anna #1
Author: Kendare Blake
Publisher: Tor Teen
Date of Publication: August 30, 2011
Formats: paperback, digital, audiobook
Source: free audio download from Sync

Goodreads Summary:
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-sniff
ing 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.

My Thoughts:

Ever since I seen the cover of this book I couldn't wait to get my hands on it.  Well, I never actually got my hands on it; but I did allow my ears to enjoy it.  This was part of the event going on at Sync's Summer Reads 2012, where they offer 2 free downloads of two books that are similar.  One is a popular YA of today and the second is a classic that has a similar plot or characters.  

Now Anna Dressed in Blood was my first ever audiobook I have ever had and it did take some time to get used to the idea that I couldn't read it for myself.  I know that is strange but I just felt at times that I would have enjoyed it more if I could have just had the book in my hand.  (So I do plan on buying the actual book to read again later.)
Well let's look at the obvious: isn't that the most alluring cover you have ever laid eyes on?  I love how everything is in black and grays except Anna's hem of her dress and the leaves? flying around her.  And the creepy fog surrounding Anna as her black hair blows in the wind?  I absolutely love it!!  

There are a few points that make Anna Dressed in Blood an original concept in this YA paranormal world.  First, Blake created this book with a male POV instead of the usual strong female heroine.  I can't remember when I have read a book that is actually told from the guy's standpoint instead of a girl's.  Cas is crude, rough around the edges, and yet very insightful.  He has this misplaced guilt surrounding his father's death, and does everything he can to "make his father proud" as far as his ghost killing skills go.
Then Blake even takes it a step further and creates the amazingly interesting and terrifying character of Anna. Oh Anna!  How to describe Anna is the hardest thing to do for me.
She is the strongest and most frightening ghost Cas has ever come up against, and yet she is the most special in all the ways that Cas can't explain.  Sure she is a true killing machine and there is a part of me that feels a little bit guilty for siding with her when she killed a lot of people but.....I just can't help it.  
So there. 

The other lesser characters, Cas' mom, Carmel, Thomas and his grandfather are also unique in their own ways but didn't really make me jump up and shout for them.  I mean honestly, there were times I was hoping Carmel would just bite the bullet.  I know that's bad.  Sorry.  
This is a super strong plot with some very explicit horror-esque like scenes, but hey this is a ghost story in its truest form.  It is a little scary but not frightening and it does become a love story.  Again, it is interesting to read the emotional reactions from Cas' eyes instead of Anna's.  But it isn't this lovey dovey romance story at all.  In fact it was just the right amount of caring and love with the fighting and gore that made Anna Dressed in Blood such a wonderful novel.  
I have to admit when I first started listening to this story I just couldn't get into the narrator's perception. At the beginning, I felt like he wasn't putting the emotion into the story; it seemed flat and boring.  But I couldn't give up on it(something inside my soul was telling me to hold on and give it more of a chance)and as I stuck with it I begin to close my eyes and get lost in the narration.  
When I finished the story, I was so excited to write this review especially from having mixed emotions in the beginning to complete adoration for Anna and Cas. 
The writing isn't an literary classic but it is fun, humorous, and exciting.  If you want a really good ghost story with a bite to it and a very sweet endearing love then you should definitely read Anna Dressed in Blood!!

Would you like to own your very own copy of Anna Dressed in Blood?

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / BAM

Favorite Quote:

“She's my purpose and we're going to save each other. We're going to save everyone. And then I'm going to convince her that she's supposed to stay here. With me.” 
-Kendare Blake, Anna Dressed in Blood

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