Anna Dressed in Blood
Publisher: Tor Teen
You can read the Goodreads summary here.
Cas Lowood moves around a lot with his mother, on account of the fact that he took over the family business when his father was murdered. That is, he kills ghosts. Now he's on his way north for the ghost the locals call "Anna Dressed in Blood." Not too much is known about how she died, except that it was brutal and now she's killing anything and anyone that comes into her abandoned home.
I loved Anna's story. When we first meet Anna she gives off such a vicious vibe that I was afraid we wouldn't really get to know her, but what's great was that we got to know her and her true story, which is so much worse than what the reader assumes at the beginning of the novel. I love that the author was able to make me feel sympathy for a cold-blooded killer.
This book was scary. It was just like a horror movie in book form. There was your typical cabinets opening and slamming by themselves and some blood dripping from the walls kind of stuff, but there was also much more... gore. The kind of thing that's scary in a good way to read in a novel, but maybe you don't want to see that disembowelment on the big screen, you know? It was fantastic!
The characters themselves were great. They were all fleshed out and had flaws, which I mean in a good way. Even our main man, Cas, while being a fantastic ghost killer (not ghost buster!) had personal problems. He was out to avenge his father's murder almost to a fault. The hint of a romance in this book left me intrigued and wondering if that's going to flesh out in future novels.
The writing in this novel was beautiful while being horrifying. Kendare Blake is obviously great at crafting the written word. Even the descriptions of how terrifying Anna looked sounded beautiful. Like if it were real life, you would want to look away because it was ugly, but underneath was a kind of beauty that you couldn't look away from.
If you don't like horror movies, please do not let that stop you from reading this book. I won't come within a mile of a horror movie in theaters or on television. The Woman in Black commercials have me hiding under the blanket (and yet I'm about to read that, too). But this book is so good, you must give it a try. I'm really looking forward to the sequel, though I should note that you could totally read Anna Dressed in Blood as a standalone if you wish. I highly, highly recommend it!