Saturday, October 25, 2014

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Publication Date: October 17, 2011
Publisher: Tom Doherty
Series: Anna Dressed in Blood #1
Pages: 316
Genre: Horror
Synopsis: Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered 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-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, 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, now stained red and dripping with 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.

Yet she spares Cas's life.

Review:  I hate being the one to dislike what everyone else loves.  Well, I did like Anna Dressed in Blood.  Just not nearly as much as everyone else does.  It is way over-hyped in my opinion.  Like I said, I did like this book, but it was nowhere near as great as I expected it to be.

The first thing I noticed how rushed the plot was.  Things were not explained as well as they should be and events happened too early.  Not to mention how the solutions and sudden friends felt too convenient.

Cas, the main character, says he is a loner ghost-hunter who does not want anyone to help him and does not need them besides that.  His struggle is finding real friendship and intimacy, as he feels separated from other kids because of what he does.  And yet he has no problem finding friends and falling in love?  Not to mention the characters fell flat and felt shallow.  The characters did not feel three dimensional.  Though I did enjoy the interactions between Thomas, Carmel, and Cas, they fell short of the expectation.  

Cas himself was conceited in an overly "I'm so cool" way that made me want to throttle him.  For the most part I did like him, but that whole, "I'm the only one who can hunt ghosts" thing (that was never explained as to WHY) and the "I am so above all of you" attitude was oh so irritating.  

Carmel, oh you were just kind of there.  I didn't like you, but I didn't not like you.  Thomas was nice and all, but I didn't have much feeling toward him either.  Anna, the ghost herself, was my favorite character.  Her backstory was well-done and made it easy to be sympathetic toward her.  She was the most enjoyable and interesting character.  She was scary, but didn't want to be.  

But the romance?  No.  Just no.  It was hardly even present, but what was there was awkward.  And tell me again why or when exactly did Cas and Anna fall in love?  It was dull and instantaneous.  They only reason I knew they were in love was because the book spelled it out.  But I fail to see how it happened.  

Also, something that actually was said by Carmel in the book, the characters all reminded me of poor copies of Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters.  Cas/Buffy, Thomas/Willow, Carmel/Xander/Cordelia, Gideon/Giles, and Anna/Angel.  Except BtVS characters had more depth and conflict.  And were way funnier.

The writing itself was nice, I did enjoy the descriptions of  all the ghosts and death and scary parts.  It wasn't memorable, no, but it was certainly agreeable.  Kendare Blake knows how to write conversations and descriptions, it is only the plot and characters themselves I had issues with.

Though the ending threw me through a loop.  I really, really did not see that coming.  It was confusing, sure, but unpredictable and thrilling.  The whole book, I thought it was going towards one thing, until suddenly it wasn't.  That was probably the best part of the book, though, again, it needed more explaining, like the rest of the book.

Anna Dressed in Blood was exciting and intense, though things did need to be explained more.  It was a good book, despite its problems, and if you want a light, scary book to read, this is perfect.  Just do not expect something phenomenal.

3 Keys


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