Series: Anna #1
Genre: Horror, Young Adult
Published by Tor Teen (8.30.2011)
Hardcover, 316 pages
Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story...
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-sniffing 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.
This was my first foray into the world of horror books. And a good one it was! The first thing I loved about this book? The writing is RED. Which happens to be my favorite color, so bonus points there. The second thing (more bonus points), Blake used the word kerfuffle. Which happens to be my favorite word! She also used clusterfuck, which is another awesome, giggle-enticing word. Yay!
Anyway, off to the story. I don’t get scared watching movies and never have reading books either, but this book had the skin-crawling gore factor. You are definitely able to get a great mental image of that, and there were a couple times I actually found myself gritting my teeth. Me, who has sat through several veterinary surgeries such as spays, neuters, declaws, and an ACL operation…without batting an eye. Kudos there!
As for the characters, reading a male POV is a bit outside of my comfort zone, but Cas was pretty cool. He was strong but still had vulnerable points and was pretty easy to relate to. And he was sarcastic, which I love. Particularly the Ghostbusters and Buffy the Vampire Slayer references!
I loved Anna. She’s a kick-ass baddie with a soft side, and even though she dismembers people, she doesn’t really want to. I really enjoyed the interaction between her and Cas (especially when she was kicking his ass haha).
The minor characters were pretty cool too. I didn’t care for Caramel at first because she was a preppy girly-girl, but she grew on me. So did Thomas. And Thomas’ grandpa…anyone else picture Sam Elliot? When Blake described him and said he had the voice from a western, I immediately thought of that.
The only problem I had with this book (and a major problem at that for me) came at the end when Big Bad Mr. Baddie shows up in the flesh (or lack thereof). My favorite character was Tybalt – the aloof, ghost-sensing family cat (of course he was my favorite, I loooove cats mucho) – that being said, if you’ve read the book, you know why I wanted to chuck it at the wall. I was so horrified I wanted to cry!!!! It gave me a bit of a desire to give this book a 2 star rating, but that wouldn’t have been fair at all because it really was a good read.
Writing Style: 4/5
Overall rating: 4/5 starfish