Reading Level: Young Adult
Size: 320 pages
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: August 30, 2011
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Anna Dressed in Blood series
Rating: 4/5 stars
I have had this book sitting on my shelf to read for quite some time. I am going to be blunt and say I originally wanted to read this book because of the intriguing and hauntingly beautiful cover. Once I read the synopsis I found that the story sounded intriguing as well. I enjoyed this book, it was a like YA novel version of the Supernatural TV series. It never got too scary for me, but was still very creepy. There is a sequel to this book called Girl of Nightmares that has already been released.
Cas has inherited an interesting job from his father, he kills the dead. Cas is especially interested in killing the dead that are horribly violent and dangerous to the rest of humanity, these are the ghosts who rip people apart in the night or shove cars off of roads. Cas has been doing this job since his father was viciously killed one night and Cas inherited the knife that can damage the dead. Cas has a side mission to hunt down the ghost that murdered his father. As a result of this vocation Cas and his mom hop from place to place, going wherever the trail of dead lead them. That’s when Cas here’s about Anna, aka Anna Dressed in Blood. She haunts a house and what she does to the people who venture in there is truly disturbing. Little does Cas no that Anna is unlike any ghost he’s ever dealt with before.
This was a very well done book. Much of it reminds me of the Supernatural TV series, so if you enjoy that TV show I think you would enjoy this book. Cas and his mom have kind of inherited this ghost hunting thing from Cas’s dad. Cas does a lot of research about ghosts to find the ones that are dangerous, he also gets tips from some of his acquaintances. Of course beneath all of this you have Cas’s terrible desire for vengeance against the ghost that brutally murdered his father.
Cas is an interesting character. He’s kind of chameleon, he can fit in anywhere. He’s very good at blending in at high school and fitting in with the popular group right away because that is where he needs to be to get the information he needs to get. So it’s an interesting contrast. He’s a bit of a loner, yet everyone wants to hang out with him.
Anna is fascinating as well, she has a horribly tortured past and is an interesting mystery to unravel. She is a surprisingly engaging character and, despite her horribleness, you end up very attached to her by the end of the book.
There is a bit of high school drama here when Cas starts hanging with a popular girl, Carmel, and Carmel’s ex gets all bent out of shape. I enjoyed how Carmel, Cas, and Thomas end up joining together to figure out the mystery of Anna.
There is a lot of character development throughout. Cas goes from being a total loner to learning the value of having friends to back him up. Thomas and Carmel also change and mature a lot throughout the book as they learn to deal with the world Cas faces from day to day.
There is a lot of creepy stuff and gore in this book as well, but I never thought it was over the top or too scary. I enjoyed the level of creepy and there were a couple parts where I had this urge to hide under my covers because the suspense was just killing me.
The story is very well written and easy to read. I love that the text throughout the book is in a deep maroon color; it added to the creepiness. Part of the story is wrapped up very well, but the book does end on a bit of a cliffhanger. I was happy to see that there is a sequel to wrap things up.
Overall this was a very well done YA horror/ghost story. I enjoyed it alot. I loved the complex characters and the way they grew and developed through the story. I love the whole theme of fighting off the dead who are killing humans. I also loved the idea of a horribly violent ghost that the reader can be sympathetic towards. There is some excellent mystery, some excellent creepy, and just wonderful moody writing in here. I really enjoyed it and strongly recommend to those who love YA horror. Things never got so gorey or creepy that I felt ill reading this book, but it was still enough to be spooky and scare me. Highly recommended, I am very excited to read Girl of Nightmares.