29 August 2012

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1) by Kendare Blake Shift
Release Date: August 30th 2011
Publisher: Orchard Books
Add it: Goodreads

For version with spoilers, click here
I was exposed to horror movies at a young age; the first horror movie I ever watched was The Night Flier based on a short story by Stephen King at the age of about 8 (Hey, I begged my mum and looking back on it now makes me laugh, the trailer alone makes me LOL) and I remember when I was about 9 at a sleepover, I thought I'd be really hardcore and watch IT and Pet Semetary (yes, I grew up with a lot of Stephen King) without mum's permission and you know what? I laughed at them. My friend and I sat there pointing at the TV and laughed about the quality of the effects and how stupid the characters were. I was probably just a twisted little kid but my point is, I'm not easily scared. I've read a lot of reviews saying this book is scary as shit and to read it during the day or with the lights on but honestly, the only reason why this book kept me awake at night was because I couldn't put it down... And I do believe in ghosts.

Our main character, Cas takes after his dad and kills ghosts with his mystical athame for a living. He gets tips from people about where to go next and which ghosts needs killing next. When he gets tipped off about Anna, he has barely any information to go off except where he and his mum will move to next, the fact that she'll kill anybody who enters what used to be her home and that she is known as Anna dressed in blood.

I am normally not a fan of male perspectives AT ALL. I find that males are always badly written, boring, sound like a girl or are just really bland to read. But Kendare Blake has managed to write a wonderful cast of characters with an amazing male protagonist. Cas is badass, funny, overall awesome although somewhat cocky - but that doesn't bother me too much, if I was a ghost hunting badass I probably would be a bit cocky myself! There were so many times I laughed aloud at an inappropriate time during the book because Cas's inner dialogue is witty, truthful and entertaining! I also loved his relationship with his mum, instead of being all angsty teenager, you can tell he loves his mum and although he is very serious about his job and ghost hunting, it's obvious how much he cares for his mother and how much he needs her.

Anna. Anna dressed in blood. Oh you deliciously creepy, murderous, sweet, innocent, funny, furious, terrifying girl! The image you get of Anna is so vivid and gorgeous, with her inky black hair, oily looking eyes and her blood dripping dress. When we find out what happened to Anna, it is really easy to understand why Cas had a hard time killing her. Her story is heartbreaking and quite honestly, I wasn't expecting it at all (view spoiler).

As for the other characters.... OH GOD. I WANT TO PRAISE THE YA GODS FOR THIS. Carmel - the pretty, popular girl that knows everybody was realistic dammit. As in, she was a NICE person. I think in almost every YA novel EVER, the pretty, popular girl is always a bitch and hates anybody who isn't goodlooking. Hate to break it to you majority-of-YA-novels-EVER, but more often than not the 'popular' people ARE nice (well, here in Australia anyway). Carmel is strong, helpful, funny, nice, caring, pretty and just not stereotypical in anyway. She is the type of person I love hanging around with! She also doesn't go for the obvious guy in this either which was so refreshing to see! Thomas is just cute. I loved him. He was a little bit whimpy in comparison to Cas, he was a nervous wreck at times and a bit weird but damn he was just adorable. Everytime somebody was an asshole to him, I wanted to scoop him up like a little puppy and tell him everything will be okay.

I found this novel to be gruesome but not scary. Kendare Blake held nothing back - there was all the necessary imagery of blood, bodies, dead people and the necessary use of vulgar language (which I am a HUGE fan of in YA because I'm quite bad, I swear A LOT - hanging out with mostly guys will do that to you) was done to perfection. All the right 'scary' scenes were written vividly, beautifully and in a delightfully creepy way. Although I guessed one major part of the plot about 100 pages in, I didn't care. It was one of those times where I didn't get pissed because I knew it was going to happen, the detail surrounding that moment, the events leading up to it and the events after it happened were all still a surprise for me and I was still so intrigued because there were still a few twists that I didn't see coming.

Kendare Blake has weaved an idea that would be boring and unoriginal into something magnificent, creepy, surprising, unique and hilarious. I don't know how she managed it but although I wasn't scared, I still managed to be creeped out a few times and it is well worth the read. If you're a fan of horror stories, you should definitely give this a go and if you're not, well you should still give it a go because it's brilliant.


  1. As you already know, I don't read of watch horror or anything like that, but man oh man, have you got me interested (bad, Penny, bad!). Anna sounds thrilling and I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed it! Regarding YA male perspectives, I get where your coming from. I haven't read all that many but the ones I've read have been rather good. If your looking for an amazing male perspective, I HIGHLY recommend Something Like Normal by Trish Doller. This is my second time recommending this book to you via blog comments but it's THAT good. I love it and it's by far the BEST male voice I've ever read. *faints from awesomenesss* Oh, where were we? Oh right, Anna!

    The cast sounds spectacular, I'm especially intrigued by your description of Anna.

    Oh you deliciously creepy, murderous, sweet, innocent, funny, furious, terrifying girl! The image you get of Anna is so vivid and gorgeous, with her inky black hair, oily looking eyes and her blood dripping dress. - ADORE

    Since you loved Anna so much, I hope you get your hands on a copy of the sequel soon!

    I love, love, love this review. ♥♥

  2. I love your review!!! I have a copy of Anna Dressed in Blood but haven't read it yet. For some reason I'm a little nervous about whether or not I'll like it. But your review is totally making me want to read it RIGHT NOW!!

  3. I was reading your review and I was like, "OH MY GOD. That is so me!" I remember watching horror movies back then and I was all stoic and bemused. So every time I start screaming just for the LOLs, everybody would follow. It's a riot and my friends loved and hated me for it. :D

    Anyway, as if I need any more reason not to read this. I am absolutely entertained by your review, Taneika. And I'll definitely read this soon! Great review! :)

  4. sounds a great book, nice review :)

  5. I just bought this one and can't wait to read it!

  6. You know, I never read horror, but this review made me rethink my position! ;) lols

    Also, I had no idea this book was told from a male perspective! How interesting! Like you, I often feel that few authors can pull this off well...good to know that this one looks like it did! I'm going to look this book up in Barnes & Noble since I work there and get GREAT employee discounts...hehe :)

    p.s. Thanks for a great post!


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