Anna Dressed In Blood takes the term "ghost story" to a whole other level. Like the highest level there is. If horror were a mountain, Anna would be freaking Mt. Everest.
Kendare Blake pushes readers to the very peak of terror and then, when you're scared out of your wits/think you can go no further, she shoves you from behind and watches you topple from the edge, plummeting, screaming like a little girl all the way down. In other words, she's a master of murderous intent, the Jedi of all things scary, and I loved her for it!
Horror's not really my bag, but I can honestly say this book changed my outlook. Not only did Anna contain plenty of gore and guts, it had story, characters, and a strong mix of romance, action, and mystery. I couldn't get enough. When I was through, I felt like I'd been on the best thrill ride ever and was ready to go a second time--and a third and a fourth...
The first thing I loved was the story itself. The concept was like nothing I'd ever seen: Cas Lowood, teenage ghost hunter, goes to a new town in search of his latest target: Anna Dressed in Blood. The ghost girl is a local legend, a mystery wrapped in the blood stained dress she was murdered in…a killer who needs to be taken out. Cas thinks he's just the person for the job--until he meets Anna. Anyone who enters Anna's house gets dead, no exceptions--except Cas. He's stunned when she doesn't try to kill him, and with that one unexpected act, the ghost and the ghost hunter develop a relationship neither one expected.
It was the ultimate opposites attract story. First of all, Anna's dead. Like really dead. But, despite this, Cas develops an instant attraction to her. Even before he sees Anna, just the sound of her name does something to him, affects him in a real visceral way that I found unbearably appealing. I'm a sucker for romance, and when you put in such an unexpected set-up (i.e. deadly ghost hunter attracted to deadly ghost girl), I can't say no. And with Anna and Cas, I never wanted to. Their relationship was unbelievable yet I bought every word, every shared glance, every touch. It was clear from the start they could never be together (more so than any "impossible love" I've read). But I wanted them to be. Desperately.
I still hold out hope. Please, oh please, Ms. Blake. Do the impossible, defy the rules of the universe, and let these two wonderful characters end up together. (Like I said, me = desperate to see Anna and Cas happy J)
The thing I loved most, though, were the two MCs. I was immediately attracted to the voice b/c Cas was that guy. The good-looking loner, cloaked in mystery with secrets he keeps from everyone. I've never read that guy's POV before. Cas was surprising, just a teenage boy yet so much more. He had a confidence about him, was so self-aware. One of my favorite lines was this, "Girls, on the other hand, have always come easy." Cas wasn't arrogant or cocky, he just knew what he had. There's something incredibly attractive about that kind of self-assurance, especially in a male MC, and I think Blake hit the nail right on the head.
Anna was the best villain I've come across. Period. She had so many layers, so much depth, I don't even know where to begin. Anna Dressed in Blood might've been the mystery driving the story, but Anna herself was the bleeding heart. I can't even do her justice. You guys will just have to read it J
I've read some truly fantastic books this year, but Anna was my number one. (Unless you count The Hunger Games--nothing tops that--but I don't b/c I was just late to the party on that one) I'd recommend Anna again and again, over and over, at the top of my lungs. This is one you definitely should not miss and a new Top Ten Books Ever for this ninja J
Hope everyone has a very happy Thanksgiving!!!