Sadie Hawkins Sunday Review #73: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Sadie Hawkins Sunday Review #73: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare BlakeAnna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Series: Anna #1
Published by Tor Teen on October 17, 2011
Genres: Horror, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 316
Format: Hardcover
Source: Won
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Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

Yet she spares Cas's life.

Recommended by: Megan (Adrift on Vulcan) & Dani (Entertaining Interests)

Amazingly, I managed to go into Anna Dressed in Blood knowing nothing whatsoever about the book, despite its immense popularity with my friends. All I knew was that it was a horror novel, but not even anything more than that. Oh, and that this series has badass covers. It’s so rare to get to read such a hyped book knowing nothing and I treasured the experience. Kendare Blake does horror and plot well. Anna Dressed in Blood isn’t the scariest thing I’ve ever read, but it did make me shudder at times.

Kendare Blake has a serious fascination with mythology. Both Antigoddess and Anna Dressed in Blood are steeped in it. I mean, hello, the main character’s name in Anna Dressed in Blood is Theseus Cassio. The fact that he loves his parents despite this puzzles me a bit, but whatever. I was thrown out of the book anytime his name came up, but the rest of the book is good enough to make that not matter so much. On top of that, though, there’s a lot of cool voodoo stuff in Anna Dressed in Blood.

The horror isn’t the constant shock of things coming at you. It’s more the gruesome sort, like the Saw franchise. If this were a movie, I still couldn’t watch it, but as a book it was totally fine. I’m actually a bit surprised they haven’t made a movie out of this, because it’s quite cinematic. Actually, that’s something I’d noticed about Kendare’s writing in Antigoddess, though I do think she’d gotten even better at it by that point. While I had a great sense of what all the horror aspects and settings were like, I had no read on the human characters at all.

It’s hard for me to really describe what worked for me in Anna Dressed in Blood. Though I saw the twist coming, I thought it was a good twist. This book was just highly entertaining. It’s got some weaknesses for sure, but it’s a debut. Considering that, it’s a really solid novel. My attention was held and I was always curious to find out what would happen next and if my theories were correct. I could have done without the animal death, but, considering the large human death toll, I suppose I can let that slide.

What left me cold, as though a ghost were sitting on my heart, were the romances. There are a couple of ships in here and neither of them did the slightest thing for me. I don’t quite unship them either, but there was a whole lot of non-caring to be had from me. Like, how often is it that I am wishing the kissing would stop and the plot could get on the road, at least in a book I actually enjoy? Hello, I am all about the kissing scenes, but not so much this time. I don’t really see a future for either couple, for very different reasons, and their connections aren’t sufficient for me to be invested anyway. It must be the lack of banter.

Though I didn’t have a strong emotional tie to this one or give it one of my highest ratings, I’ve already purchased the sequel. It’s damn fun and I want more. Usually I reread favorites, but I could see wanting to reread these just for the ghostly mayhem.

Favorite Quote:

Carmel drives a silver Audi that’s a couple of years old, and it hugs the curves as we flash past strange street signs that look like Charlie Brown’s t-shirt, and others proclaiming that apparently a moose is going to attack the car.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

gif carrie dressed in blood

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4 responses to “Sadie Hawkins Sunday Review #73: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake”

  1. So according to your tweet I voted for this a year ago! And even then, I still haven’t gotten around to buying Anna, much less reading it. Yay me! (Haha, no.)

    I rarely read books I know nothing about — I have limited pocket money, so I spend it wisely on books — but it’s great that you managed to enjoy this one so much. Honestly, I’ve been hearing how immensely creepy this is, so it’s a leeetle disappointing that it only gave you shudders, but I guess that’s better than nothing. And gore is always good, imo.

    I had no read on the human characters at all.” — Yeah, this is pretty much a recurring complaint for this book in most of the reviews I’ve seen. I’m hoping it didn’t do much to ruin your overall experience with the story, though the romance probably will mess things up the most for me. I’m just relieved that it wasn’t completely unbearable, otherwise I really wouldn’t be able to read on.

    Thanks again for reviewing this, Christina! I’m still quite interested in reading this — mostly for the horror scenes, if nothing else — so hopefully I’ll get to read it soon. As for the sequel, here’s me crossing my fingers that you’ll love it even more than this one. 🙂
    Megan (Adrift on Vulcan) recently posted…This Week: Bookstagrams & MoreMy Profile

  2. Annie says:

    I liked this one a lot too! It didn’t get me emotionally invested but I really enjoyed the whole ghostbusters type theme. It was kinda fun being able to accompany Cas and his friends on their ghost hunting missions, though I don’t think I would want to be there with them in person at all. I still haven’t read the sequel but from what I’ve heard, it’s pretty good and has a satisfying ending so hopefully you enjoy it! 🙂
    Annie recently posted…How to Love by Katie CotugnoMy Profile

  3. Lyn Kaye says:

    Another book that helped cement my reading standards for books. THis is, by far, my favorite YA horror. It was so beautiful, and the characters were outstanding!
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Blogging ConfessionsMy Profile

  4. Paula Stokes says:


    I heart this book, mostly because Cas and Anna are both so awesome. I have the same Tor editor as Kendare Blake (I never get tired of saying that :D)

    Just wanted to comment that Stephenie Meyers (Meyer? Is it weird that I can’t remember the Twilight lady’s last name?) optioned this for film awhile back. I really hope it makes it to the screen because it’s different from all the dystopian/tear-jerkery contemp stuff that’s currently being developed.

    Hope you enjoy GIRL OF NIGHTMARES!
    Paula Stokes recently posted…Lainey and Bianca’s first date tipsMy Profile

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