Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Read by August Ross
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
I first read Anna a few years ago, but I can’t remember why? I don’t usually read horror these days (I went through a Stephen King phase in my 20’s and that was enough). Maybe some students kept telling me how good it was, and I must admit I was intrigued to find out more about Cas and why Anna didn’t kill him. I enjoyed it the first time I read it, and the second reading didn’t disappoint either.
I really like Cas. He has a mission, to kill ghosts, but he is compassionate about it. He worries about where he is sending them to and whether or not it is someplace better or worse than their life as a ghost. He also doesn’t let everyday life get in the way of this mission, until he hears about Anna dressed in blood. Something draws him to Anna, which ends up being a good thing. He makes some friends for the first time in the small Canadian town on Lake Erie. Thomas has some awesome skills of his own and for the first time Cas realizes he needs help. Carmella is a strong female character that balances out the two boys. Together they make an awesome ghost killing team.
And then there is Anna. She is pretty scary, both in her looks and her actions. She is the strongest and scariest ghost that Cas has ever encountered. She has killed many, many people, a couple right in front of Cas. But once you learn why she is killing people you can’t help but feel sorry for her, and to start to like her a little. Her backstory is quite tragic and it is all wrapped up in Cas’s story as well. The romance between Anna and Cas is really quite sweet, even though it might be a little bit creepy too.
Is this book scary? Yeah, there are some scenes that might give more sensitive readers nightmares. I don’t scare easily any more, but I found the part about what really happened to Anna really rather horrifying. There are some violent scenes that are bloody and gory and not for those with a weak stomach. True horror loving fans might not find this book that scary, but the casual horror reader might.
August Ross does a good job narrating. I found him a little annoying at times though, he would at times take a certain tone to the characters that just didn’t work for me. But he does an adequate job.
If you like paranormal romances with some blood and gore mixed in this is the book for you.