In a mixture of horror and paranormal fantasy with a tiny hint of romance, Anna Dressed in Blood seems to be a fairly unorthodox area for YA lit. For me, it seemed somewhat similar to the CW tv show Supernatural but with teen characters. Although the horror in the book was not quite as mind-numbing as the murders in The Hunger Games, it definitely has a creepy feel! And the plot was gripping once I processed all of the paranormal elements. For those of you who are also fans of Ghost Adventures and other tv paranormal shows, this is a book up your alley!
Cas (Theseus Cassio) Lowood has a special job he inherited from his father’s death–ghost killing. Cas travels all over with his mom, a white witch, to find vengeful ghosts and personally send them on. His contacts lead him to Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada where a murderous spirit tears people apart. She is Anna, dressed in blood. Cas’s mission doesn’t exactly go as planned. Civilians get involved, some get hurt, and Cas’s grip on the situation spirals out of control, mostly because of Anna herself. She’s different than the other ghosts he’s taken care of. But Anna isn’t his only problem. He’s got one bigger…one with a family grudge.
I also read the sequel, which, honestly, I found much better written than the first, only in a few minor details. (For instance, I was completely confused by an odd reference to spaghetti and comparing Cuisinart with slicing and dicing. Yes, Cuisinart is a brand that does make things that cut, but doesn’t entirely. My toaster oven doesn’t slice things up!) Remember, spoilers below! 🙂
In Girl of Nightmares, Anna is gone. She sacrificed herself for Cas by taking the Obeahman into a red pit in the earth. But Cas can’t seem to let go of the dead girl he loves. He keeps seeing her. Awful, horrible visions of her being killed in various gruesome ways over and over again. He determines he has to do something to help her as she helped him. Anything. But this turns out to be a giant can of worms. Everyone wants him to leave Anna wherever she is because messing with the world of the dead is obviously a bad thing. Best friend Carmel doesn’t want anything to do with the ghosts anymore and she’s his other best friend’s, Thomas’s, girlfriend. Thomas is entirely on Cas’s side, but his formidable grandfather isn’t so keen on the whole idea. Cas turns to his mentor, Gideon, for answers about Anna, the plane of the dead and the mysterious nature of his knife, the athame, and his ghost-killing blood. Their trip to England holds many secrets and hidden costs, but is Cas willing to pay the price to find answers and Anna back even if it means sacrificing his own life?
GoN had me sitting on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen the entire time!
I hate not knowing still what is going to happen to Anna and Cas, for book 3 comes out September 2013!
Rating: Be aware. There is some foul language in this book and obviously disturbing situations. Great thrilling read!