Following my discovery of Young Adult novels back in 2010, I spent the next couple of years reading and rereading Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series and whatever Holly Black and Rachel Caine book I could get my hands on. I recall having just finished a book about a fae disguised as a human when the spine of Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood whispered to me. Despite not being remotely about fae or vampires, I let the creepy and blood-dripping girl on the cover lure me in. A four year dalliance had begun!
After his father’s gruesome murder a decade earlier, Cas Lowood has taken up his father’s job: killing the dead. Armed with his father’s mysterious athame, Cas travels around the country with his kitchen witch mother and spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore and destroy the murderous dead, all the while keeping pesky things like the future and friends at an arm’s length. Catching wind of a ghost, Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects to track it down, hunt, and kill it. So the usual. What he discovers, however, is a girl buried in curses and rage. She’s a ghost he’s never faced before. Wrapped in a blood-soaked dress that she wore on the day of her murder in 1958, Anna has killed everyone who has had the misfortune to step into her crumbling Victorian house.
Yet she spares Cas’s life.
Unfortunately, my sanity while waiting to read the second book wasn’t. Nevertheless, Anna Dressed in Blood and it’s sequel, Girl of Nightmares, was packed to the brim with sarcasm, wit, and epic ghost versus human battles. From the violent beginning to the heart-wrenching end my heart was in my throat. And the chills… I’m still looking over my shoulder whenever I feel something running down my spine.
I rate the Anna duology a four out of five stars.