Anna Dressed in Blood

Main Characters:

Cas – A ghost hunter.  His father was killed by the same demon that comes after him in this book.  He falls in love with Anna, the ghost he has come to town to set free.

Anna – Our ghost.  Murdered in 1958, she haunts her old home and is a violent vicious killer.  But she doesn’t want to kill Cas.  She struggles to control the power that is making her so horrible because she doesn’t want to kill people.  She is eventually set free in some ways – she is no longer tied to the house.  But, Cas doesn’t “kill” her.  She sacrifices herself to help save Cas.  We learn her history and how awful things were and that her mother bound her to the house when she summoned a demon out of spite because she hated Anna.

Thomas – The geeky boy in school.  With an uncle that is all into voodoo.  He has a thing for Carmel.  And he and his grandfather are important to solving the mystery behind not only Anna but the stuff going on with Cas too – and let’s not forget he is integral in saving Cas.

Carmel – the queen bee as Cas calls her.  She is the most popular girl in school.  And she isn’t written to be the snotty stuck up queen bee that we normally see in this genre.  She plays an important part since she is how Cas ends up meeting Anna and she helps throug out – including at the end when we are routing for Cas to be saved.

Mike – Carmel’s ex who gets killed by Anna the first night Cas meets Anna (Mike and his buddies trick/attack Cas and leave him in the house with Anna, but not before she gets Mike).

Morfran Starling Sabin – Thomas’ grandfather.

the Obeahman – the demon/villian after Cas.  He also killed Cas’ father.  He is a flesh eater and an eater of essence.

Tybalt – Cas’ mom’s cat, before the Obeahman kills it.  He can sense ghosts.

Cas’ mom

Will – one of Mike’s friends. He ends up dead but he plays a role in freeing Anna from the curse that kept her bound to the house.

Gideon – a friend of Cas’ father.  Like a mentor to Cas.  We don’t see much of him as he lives in London.

Main Premise:

Cas is a ghost hunter of sorts.  He hunts down ghosts that in their lingering hurt people.  He uses his father’s knife to “kill” those ghosts and set them free from the cycle of violence they are stuck in.  He heads to Thunder Bay after receiving a tip about a ghost named Anna who is committing gruesome murders.  But, he can’t bring himself to kill Anna’s ghost.  And, it turns out that there is something worse out to get him – a demon.  The same one who killed his father years ago.

Anna sacrifices herself to prevent the demon from killing Cas.  And Cas decides to stay in town for a little while.

Other Important Things to Remember for Later:  Cas’ knife will work for others despite what he thought.    Anna’s sacrifice involves dragging the Obeahman towards a hole in the floor – the hole presumably leads to hell.  Obeahed is the type of voodoo that was involved.  Mom is a white/hearth witch and she’s pretty powerful.  Thomas is too – more powerful than Thomas himself believes.  When the Obeahman killed Cas’ father, he established a link between the knife and himself, but Gideon believes the link is severed.  During the time between killing Cas’ father and when Anna dragged him to Hell,  all the ghosts that Cas “killed” were sent to the Obeahman so he could feed on them.  Gideon probably knows more than he lets on about the knife and who knows what else.  Malvina, Anna’s mother, who cursed her was a Finnish witch, that’s how she was able to curse Anna.  Anna was cut, after the scrying spell; Will stabbed her, but she didn’t go away/pass on.

Review:

Want to spend some time with a creepy scary ghost story? Then check out Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake. It’s not the creepiest or the scariest but it’s not for the faint of heart either.

We are introduced to Cas while he is out one night killing a ghost. How does one kill something that is already dead? Well, he has an athame that was his father’s, before his father was killed, and Cas believes it is a special knife. He also believes that setting the ghosts free so they can not harm others is his calling. He is meant to do it. Because of this, he doesn’t stay in any one place long. His mother moves them where ever they need to be. And where they need to be is looking into the ghost story of Anna.

Anna is a ghost who was killed in 1958 and now like all the ghosts that Cas releases, she is killing. She kills and leaves no trace of her victims.

What ensues is Cas’ introduction into the social minefield known as high school. He sets out to find the queen bee because he knows that the popular kids will know all the ghost stories. And while he knows a little about Anna, he needs to know more including where he ghost is likely to be. And as expected, by identifying the queen bee, he pisses off the queen bee’s court which includes an ex-boyfriend jealous jock and his goon friends. Fast forward to them tricking Cas and taking him exactly where he wants to go – Anna’s house. But things go terribly wrong. And for Cas Ina. Creepy sort of way they go right because he meets Anna. And over time he finds that he wants to save her as much as destroy her. We get some quick glimpses into voodoo and other magics. We get introduced to and (thankfully) well acquainted with both the mystery and the answers to what happened to Cas’ father too.

This book had a great balance of creepiness, scariness, gore, evil, ghosts, good guys, magic and fear. It had just a hint of a teenage love story too. Normally I would say that I want to see more of the relationship develop. But here, since we are talking about a really bloody murdering ghost and teenage boy, it was ok to see only a little. And it was the perfect amount of the right stuff to see. The author made Anna scary angry and vulnerable and sympathetic at the same time. It was easy to route for an ending where she doesn’t end up the big bad evil. And it was easy to route for her and Cas even while knowing that they really couldn’t be together. It was also really nice to see the author not find some wacky convoluted was to resurrect Anna.

My biggest disappointment was actually when I realized that there will be a sequel based on Anna. I think that Cas and his ghost hunting abilities/story have potential. But bringing Anna back, when things were so nicely tied up, will likely be a little bit of a stretch. I hope I am wrong and the author has found a way to do the second installment without making the whole thing crazy, because I don’twant to see my opinion of Anna spoiled. But this means that I need to get on putting some pages together dedicated to this series…

This book is a great read for those who enjoy the creepy goose bump inducing story with just enough realizing in it to scare the daylights out of you!

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