CW’s: Violence, Gore (!!!), Death, Animal Death
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.
“God, living people are irritating.”
Going into the book I had no idea what to expect even though I was already familiar with the author, because I mainly picked this out as it was a spooky read. I have read what is currently out in the Three Dark Crowns Series and was a bit worried, since One Dark Throne nearly put me into a reading slump. Anna Dressed in Blood however was very different from Blake’s other Series and stood out on its own, was one of the most creepy books I have read this year. Strike that … it is the most scary book I read … ever. Therefore, I picked out just the right book in time for Halloween, as this was just the right amount of spooky/scary that I could handle! I definitely think that this Duology is underrated, because I barely had seen anyone talk about it beforehand.
👻 Cas is a narrator with such a great sassy voice. I loved him from the very beginning, as Cas is pretty snarky and I love snarky characters with all my heart. Cas also had a very particular voice, which made him stand apart. I cannot tell you exactly why, but I felt like his voice was unique and also felt pretty real. He was definitely a narrator that I immediately liked and rooted for, especially as I understand how he finds other humans irritable. Cas was also a pretty complex character, who definitely was not an alpha male, which was refreshing. I did like to see how much he grew in the book as well, as he starts out pretty isolated, always moving from town to town and never being interested in making friends or settling down. He tries to keep others out of his business, as it’s dangerous and is more of a longer. However, throughout the book he unwillingly becomes part of a ghost hunting trio and learns to value friendship.
👻 Anna was a very interesting ghost. She’s more powerful than any ghost Cas has ever seen before, which serves for a good mystery as to where she got these powers. I love that Anna has two different sides to her as well as a rich background story. She can be the little, scared girl, who has never really been loved but also turn into the dark goddess who kills others and takes her revenge. She’s definitely a bit scary when she is in kill mode, but I liked seeing a softer side to her as well. I really do appreciate that her relationship with Cas was built up very slowly. It was very intriguing to watch and definitely different from any other YA romance I have seen, especially given the circumstances under which both of them meet for the first time.
👻 The entire world basically is Supernatural meets Wynonna Earp. If you don’t know I love the both Shows, which are great so you should definitely check them out as well! Cas himself is someone who hunts ghosts with a kind of special dagger, that has been passed down in his family for ages and can be used, because it’s connected to his bloodline. Therefore, only a few people can hunt down ghosts, which does remind me so much of the gun in Wynonna Earp. Interesting enough, in Cas world there are no monsters, only different kinds of ghosts. So while he is a hunter, unlike in Supernatural, he is only after one creature. However, Cas is living the typical SPN hunter life – always moving across the country, never staying long in one place and not having much attachment. I also loved that there were witches in the book as well. Cas mother practices white magic, but there is also mention of Voodoo, which I thought was really cool.
👻 The secondary characters were all well fleshed out. I’ve got to say that I did like Cas mother and Thomas grandfather, even though they were only minor character. Thomas definitely was a sweetheart, as he was kind and literally had a heart of gold. He’s psychic and can sometimes read the thoughts of others, which was very intriguing. He approaches Cas right away, but has a hard time getting to him. I loved how both of them were slowly becoming friends, especially as Cas isn’t one to have many friends or even be interested in friendship. Still Thomas grew on him. Then there is Carmel, who in the beginning looks like your typical rich, popular girl, but she did turn out to have lots of depth and complexity. She’s definitely tougher than you think and the voice of reason among the emerging friendship trio.
👻 Will of course was THE worst. He was like my least favorite part of the book alongside his “friends” Chase and Mike, who were no better. I rolled my eyes several times, as Will was so damn annoying the entire time and he got no better. Firstly, he’s super mean and absolutely horrible, as he partakes in extreme violence, just because his BFF hates the new guy as he’s friendly with his ex *rolls eyes even further* Then, he’s not taking any of the supernatural stuff seriously and constantly screams at Cas, blaming him for the death of his friend. He’s like whining the entire time and never wants to believe anything, while also trying to sabotage Cas. Will was that annoying character, Cas could never quite be rid of.
👻 The atmosphere & plot gave me the creeps. This was very well crafted, as the atmosphere really hooked me and made my reading experience quite spooky. That’s an integral part of the book, because immersion is important, especially when it comes to a horror like novel, which relies on that tension and suspense. Anna Dressed in Blood definitely got that right and always left me feeling a bit queasy and uncomfortable, because I was always expecting something terrible to happen. The entire book gave me the creeps, especially in the end, where everything came together and some pretty creepy, horrifying things happened, that made me shiver. The plot also was very good and much more fast paced than the Three Dark Crowns books. It was both plot and character driven, which made for a good combination and always kept me on the edge of my seat as I had no idea what would happen.
IN CONCLUSION: Anna Dressed in Blood was the perfect creepy read for Halloween, as it’s all about abandoned houses, ghosts and lots of bloody murder. The atmosphere was very eerie and fitting and the protagonist’s voice really stood out to for me. This is the perfect read for fans of Supernatural and spooky books!
Have you read Anna Dressed in Blood? What is your favorite book with ghosts?👻