Book Review: Anna Dressed In Blood

Anna Dressed in Blood
Published by: Tom Doherty Associates
Release date: October 17, 2011
Genre: YA paranormal
316 pages
Source: borrowed from the public library

I knew when I first saw this cover that I would love Anna Dressed in Blood. I have no idea why I waited so long to read this book. I freely admit it was a mistake. I plan to redeem myself by singing its praises near and far, shoving it into the hands of my unsuspecting friends, and unabashedly proclaiming myself a Kendare Blake fan for life.

A few of the reasons I love Anna Dressed in Blood:

The male perspective. Thank you, Kendare, for a narrator who is male matched up with a story that is not an adventure or about sports. Seriously. Cas is such a great character because he isn’t like every other teen boy in YA; he’s just a guy with a job to do, with a little vengeance on the side. No posturing for the local queen bee, no drive to prove himself the alpha. Cas even makes fun of the guys who fit that stereotype. Some guys really are like this, and it’s nice to see them represented.

The female representation. Cas’s mom, for starters, is a “witch” who makes a living by creating things that are helpful to others. Then there’s Carmel: the character who could have easily become a caricature, but instead proves that beauty can sometimes be found with brains. Finally, Anna herself- when we finally get to know her personality apart from the monster she’s become, we find out that she was, in life, a lovely girl who has become something evil under the malevolent influence of others. All of these female characters carry through a theme that’s very important to this audience: being yourself despite what others may expect of you.

Other random thoughts: I love the whimsy of naming the kid from New Orleans Daisy. I love that the wimpiest kid in the book performs possibly the most noteworthy act of brute strength. I love that there are passages that are truly creepy, but the book never comes off as either campy or horrific. I love Tybalt: even his final scene in the book. I love, love, love that there is so much material that can be explored in future books, because I plan to read every. Single. One.


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.


  1. I like the witch who creates things helpful to other people. Maybe one day this book will come my way. I like the shocking title.:)

  2. The male narrator is one of my favorite aspects of the story. It was such a nice refreshing change!

    Ashley @ The Quiet Concert

  3. I read a library copy, but I think I'm going to eventually want to own the whole series.

  4. LOVE It!! It's one of the most original ghost stories, and the ghost is so alive, so sad, so wonderful you root for her!!

    Cas and all the other characters come alive as well, and each has a distinct presence and uniqueness!!

    Lovely review :)

  5. I really liked this book. It was refreshing to "hear" the story from a male perspective.

  6. Great to see new comments on this one! I really enjoyed it. :)


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