Series: Anna #1
Published by Tor Teen on October 17th 2011
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Buy: Amazon, B&N, Book Depository, Chapters !ndigo
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.
This was the perfect book to read Halloween weekend. It started off all gore, ghosts and supernatural. From there, the reader follows as Cas finds unexpected friendships and romantic entanglements.
From the summary, I knew that I wanted a romance between Anna and Cas. But it’s made abundantly clear straightaway that even if something were to happen then it wouldn’t be able to end well. The strange dynamics between those two characters was captivating to read, and impossible to put down.
At first Carmel and Thomas annoyed me. Like Cas, I preferred the ‘lone wolf’ thing, finding it risky to involve too many people. As the story progressed, they both grew on me. (Thomas quicker than Carmel.)
The progression of Anna as a character, and not just a spook to kill, was interesting to read. She started off as a slightly more powerful run-of-the-mill ghost, there to terrify and for Cas to kill again. Then as she and Cas get to know one another, more sympathy for her situation is able to slip past the disgust of what she’d been doing. Anna became a character I wished could be saved from the bad things that had happened to her in life.
The romance is faint and mostly towards the second half of the book. The ending leaves you wanting the next book, but doesn’t torture you with the unknown. This book is good for anyone craving a spooky YA. Don’t let the hint of romance be a deterrent.
Cyn’s Take: 4 of 5 stars
The grease-slicked hair is a dead giveaway – no pun intended
That was the first line in the book and I was a goner.
The introduction of Cas sets the tone of the book for what it is, not just some YA romance, paranormal lite, but for an honest to gosh ghost story. Like the kind you tell around camp fires to scare the wit out of you. Which to say is fabulous (and I don’t even like ghost stories). It’s got action, and gore and romance all wrapped into a revenge ghost hunting story.
It was refreshing to have a male protagonist, especially one like Cas who I wholly enjoyed and could really get behind. Anna is crazy, deadly and vengeful but it’s hard to not feel pity for her and how she ended up in this situation. Thomas and Carmel I ended liking too, mainly because Blake was able to give them some personality rather than just your cardboard cutout sidekicks.
The romance is actually more of an after thought, but considering Cas falls in love with a crazy murdering ghost that he’s trying to kill without realizing it, Blake does a great job of developing the characters and the romance between Cas and Anna at pace that makes their relationship believable.
Definitely can’t wait for the next book.
Everything can be made better with a good book or some relaxing knits. 😀 Find me on IG @kimberlyh12 or on Twitter @enervated.