Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Me on Anna Dressed in Blood
Author: Kendare Blake
Release Date: August 30, 2011
Publisher: Tor Teen
Cas has an unusual job: he kills the dead. So did his father, until his gruesome murder. Now, armed with his father's mysterious athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead, keeping the future at bay. When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost called Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything different. Move, hunt, kill. That's how it works. Every single person that steps into the house she haunts is killed. Until she lets Cas live.
A welcome book in the packed YA market, Anna Dressed in Blood was the horror/paranormal that grabbed my attention and didn't let go. Haunting, dark and creepy, dangerous. This is the kind of YA horror that will draw both teen girls and teen guys. It wasn't all blood and ghosts and gruesome danger, but it wasn't just Cas solving a mystery and making friends in a new town.
It's rather refreshing to find a YA novel written from a teen guy's perspective (or it is when I take into consideration the YA novels I read), and Cas was perfect. Hard and jagged around the edges, cracked and broken from his father's death years earlier, dangerous with the athame and willing to do what it takes to kill the dangerous ghosts he comes across. Like any hunter in this situation, he's solitary, even with his mother there with him. Like Dru and her father in Strange Angels.
And you had to know that Anna wasn't going to be like every other ghost he came across, you had to expect that something would be different when she lets him live. You had to know that it would start something huge that would get Cas thinking and planning and realizing.
A great story mixed with the gruesome horror you'd expected in a book when the ghost is called "Anna Dressed in Blood," Kendare Blake gives readers something special. This book is all manner of things, gorgeously written and haunting and vivid and terrifying. No sugar-coating, no mercy. Ghosts, blood, horrifying death, and a battered hero.
(I bought a copy of this book.)