October 22, 2012 by Heidi
Title: Anna Dressed in Blood [Amazon|Goodreads]
Author: Kendare Blake [Website|Twitter|Facebook]
Standing: First in a duology (at least I think it’ll be a duology).
Genre: Young Adult, Horror
Published: July 1st, 2012 by AudioGO (first published August 30th, 2011 by Tor Teen)
Format: Audiobook; 8 hrs, 42 min. Read by August Ross
Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story…
Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder 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. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, 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, but now stained red and dripping 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.
And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.
My immediate reaction when I started listening to Anna Dressed in Blood was that this audiobook was missing a few important things:
- Jesse Eisenberg as a narrator. Seriously. This is August Ross’s first audiobook narration and you can tell—it is rough. He’s terrible at voices, I swear every female in this book sounded like an airhead valley girl, and every male sounded like a brick-headed dope, accepting for the ones that sounded like the worst stereotypes of Canadian Mounties you could imagine. On top of which he puts emphasis in weird places, making the whole thing sound a bit like a bad William Shatner impression. Every fiber of my being was screaming ‘if Jesse read this is would be amazeballs!’ but instead the narration kind of killed the story for me, and my affection for Cas came nowhere near my affection for Cassel, which is a shame because I think they have some similar qualities.
- A sexy brother with whom to hunt ghosts. I mean, you hear about a kid who inherits a legacy of killing ghosts from his father who was brutally murdered by one of them, and what do you think? That’s right, Sam and Dean Winchester. Only here Cas falls into the comparison trap once again, because he’s not so hot, kick butt, or clever with a rapier wit and the ability to make obscure references and offer up complete meta moments on a platter leaving me giddy with enthusiasm. I think a brother could really help in this matter. Or at least a cooler sidekick. I mean, he already has a ghost killing bowie knife (that is what an athame is, right?) and a hot/terrifying girlfriend—what could go wrong?
- Speaking of cooler side kicks, here’s another thing Anna Dressed in Blood is missing—Willow Rosenberg. To be fair, Catie (The Readventurer) pointed this one out to me, so I guess it wasn’t in my immediate reaction, but I certainly couldn’t help but agree. It was nice to see Cas make some friends and all, but Carmel and Thomas couldn’t really fill that hole for me (though they certainly tried). After much analysis, I have determined that the cast of Anna Dressed In Blood is pretty much the Scooby Gang organized thusly:
Yes I had to superimpose Tara’s head over Oz, because even though I love Oz, I can’t deny that Tara has a lot more in common with Cas’s mom being all witchy and good and stuff. Just think about it people, this casting works. Though with my luck, in Girl of Nightmares Cas will get an annoying little sister out of nowhere rather than a hot brother/sidekick. *Sigh* a girl can dream.
All in all, I really liked the story of Anna Dressed in Blood, even if I didn’t like the audio. It verged just on the edge of being creepy (but not too creepy), was a fun premise, and was (obviously) reminiscent of some of my favorite paranormal shows without being eye-rollingly similar. If you’re one of the few who hasn’t picked this one up already, I’m thinking now’s the time—it’s the perfect October read.
Oh! And go check out this awesome photo over at The Real Fauxtographer (along with the rest of her YA series), because it pretty much rocks my face off.
Likelihood that I’ll be back for more: Yes, certainly, but I will be reading Girl of Nightmares (which has one of my favorite covers of 2012 fyi) instead of listening.
Recommended for: I recommend the book to fans of unconventional romance, Buffy, Scooby Doo and Supernatural (obvs). I don’t recommend the audio.
Real life repercussions of reading this book: Thomas drives a Ford Tempo! This was my first car when I was 16. I kind of hated it. It was white with red interior, had automated seatbelts (which pissed my best friend off so much he disabled them), and at one point something was wrong with my driver’s side door so I had to crawl out the passenger side. At any rate, it met its demise pretty quickly and became a lovely giant wasps’ nest thereafter. What was your first car?