My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was everything I hoped it would be and more.
If you follow my reviews, you’ll know that two of the things I love most are ghosts and horror. I eat them up with a passion. Any horror film on TV, I will watch it on my own in the dark. It’s my favourite genre of all time. So when I found out about Anna Dressed in Blood, I thought ‘a horror book? One that sounds so awesome? I HAVE to have it’. Thank you TOR for sending me a copy for review. I was a little hesitant. It’s happened before where I’m so excited for something and then it’s good, but it’s not what I thought.
Anna was not that kind of book. It was amazing. I wish I could give it 10 stars. It had everything I wanted in a book; horror, gore, romance, mystery, humour, intrigue. I’ll admit, I fell in love with this book from the first chapter.
Boy narrators don’t tend to be my favourite kind of book. I find I much relate better to female characters and how they perceive things. I also find that women writers often make their male characters very feminine and not at all realistic and what I’m used to in male people. But Blake did a fantastic job with Cas. He was sarcastic and smart and vulnerable and brave. He wore his heart on his sleeve and he said it how it was. He cared about his mother, though not as much as he could have done, and he accepted that his life wasn’t normal. He didn’t spend half the book whining about it. I loved Cas. I wanted him to succeed and to get everything he wanted. I appreciated his flaws and his strengths. He was a well developed, realistic teenage boy.
The other characters were great too. I particularly liked Carmel and found that Blake did a wonderful job putting a spin on the popular princess. Carmel had layers. She wasn’t just a pretty face. And then there was Thomas; the outsider. The three of them were wonderfully strange together. It was great to see their chemistry as friends. Although I didn’t quite buy into Carmel and Thomas possibly becoming a couple in future books? At least, that’s what Cas thought would happen. No matter how bad a situation is, sometimes your preferences and biases still remain the same. So I highly doubt the Queen Bee would settle for someone like Thomas from what we’ve read. Maybe in later books it might be more believable.
The plot behind the book was fairly simple. But so very interesting. Cas hunts ghosts, just like his dad did. He hears about a ghost named Anna Dressed in Blood and he and his mother move to the town she’s based in. Anna is awesome. She is one badass ghost. At first, she’s as scary as hell. Blake does a killer job in describing her. This whole book would make one freaky film. She doesn’t hold back on the gore, on the fright, on the description. I ate it all up. And not only is Anna completely murderous, but she has another side to her; the side that draws Cas in. Not only does Cas have to deal with developing feelings for a ghost who can’t help but want to tear out everyone’s insides (except his, for some reason), but then there’s the spirit who killed Cas’ father and is its own brand of freakiness.
I could rave about this book all day. Easily one of my new favourites. Not just of this year, but of all time. I can’t wait to read the next in the series – if there is one – and I’ll be thinking about this book for days to come. The characters were all well developed, the writing, while wasn’t masterful or beautiful in the literary sense, was wonderful in suspense and keeping you right in the moment. We weren’t distracted by the overuse of words or phrases. It was just what we needed it to be for the story’s sake.
I’d recommend this to ghost and horror lovers everywhere. If you find yourself easily scared, still pick this up because after the horror, there’s always a nice balance of scenes with humorous dialogue and loveable characters. 5 out of 5 stars. Definitely grab this book. It’s amazing.