Anna Dressed in Blood

Anna Dressed in Blood

Book rating: 04 Hardback Anna Dressed in Blood

By (author) Kendare Blake

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  • Publisher: Tor Books
  • Format: Hardback | 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 140mm x 210mm x 30mm | 408g
  • Publication date: 17 October 2011
  • Publication City/Country: New York, NY
  • ISBN 10: 0765328658
  • ISBN 13: 9780765328656
  • Sales rank: 24,763

Product description

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 dagger, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local folklore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead - keeping annoying 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: track, hunt, and 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. But she, for whatever reason, spares Cas' life.

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Author information

KENDARE BLAKE holds an MA in Creative Writing from Middlesex University in northern London. She lives and writes in Lynnwood, Washington.

Customer reviews

By Andrea Thompson 15 Sep 2012 4

Anna Dressed in Blood is a book that's been highly recommended to me since it's release in August 2011. Granted, it's not a book that I would have been prone to jump at, because I don't consider myself a big fan of scary books, but that many readers can't be wrong, right?

As it turns out, the high praise for Anna Dressed in Blood was well-earned. Kendare Blake wrote a book that was both cringe-worthy and gorgeous. Scary and funny. In short, a fantastic read that reminded me a lot of Supernatural, but was completely it's own.

As well as the writing, I fell in love with the characters. Cas Lockwood is not a typically endearing protagonist. He's a teen curmudgeon. A loner. Snarky and dry-witted, but lovable all the same. Thomas, Cas' sidekick best friend, was a character that I immediately liked. Shy, awkward, and unpopular, Thomas can hold his own in the paranormal world, and it's cool to see him embrace his power. Carmel, the third member of the ghost busting trio, is a popular girl who basically runs the school. To see a girl with so much to lose, socially, sort of shrug her shoulders and hang out with Cas and Thomas was a nice surprise for me.

But I've left out the title character, Anna. I didn't expect Anna to be an actual character in the story. I obviously knew that she was important to the story, but I didn't realize that she was more than a scary ghost girl, dripping in blood. I expected Cas and Co. to spend the story trying to find a way to kill her. I didn't expect Anna to actually have a story. And what a sad, tragic story she has. It truly made me sorry for her. Sorry enough, maybe, to forgive her sins.

**Spoiler Alert**
The one problem I had with Anna Dressed in Blood is the fact that Cas basically goes gaga for Anna. This super strong connection is something that I didn't truly feel, and I just didn't get it or understand it. Why didn't Anna go after Cas? I mean, she knows he's after her. How could he just overlook the fact that she ripped kids apart, even if it wasn't truly her fault?
**End of Spoiler**

Okay, despite having that one, albeit major, problem with the story, I kind of loved Anna Dressed in Blood. I was riveted by the story, I had to know what would happen to Anna. Would she kill Cas?Would he kill her. The story was unique, beautifully written and highly entertaining.

By Pretty Little Reader 14 Aug 2012 4

Picture the scene of a horror movie, right before something is about to happen, and the creepy music goes silent. That is the feeling I got almost the entire length of this book. My hair was standing on end and I was on edge - jumping at any creaks or groans emitted in my apartment.

Anna is heartbreaking. And terrifying. There were definite moments where I forgot she was dead, and hoped for a future for her. Then Blake would shatter my heart and remind me that Anna was dead and that there was no hope. The scenes with her dripping blood were written so vividly, that I kept fearing that when I looked up from my book she would be hovering over me.

Cas was a strong protagonist, and I loved the slightly awkward moments between him and Thomas as their friendship grew. It was refreshing that Cas was honest about everything with everyone, instead of making stupid decisions which would end up coming back to haunt him later. I wish his thirst for vengeance for his father had been slightly stronger, and that it had been explained why his mother and Gideon reacted so strongly to his questions about his father's death - and the strange talisman he found at his murder site.

Thomas was a great supporting character - his awkward clumsiness was endearing, and being unnaturally brave made his actions that much more honourable. Carmel was also a refreshing supporting character. As the popular cheerleader-type, I expected a vapid airhead. She proved herself the complete opposite several times and I really enjoyed seeing her come into her own and prove her worth.

I did find the first half of the book was a little too slowly paced for me, as I didn't really understand Cas' attraction to Anna. I get that she is different then every other ghost he has faced, but other than curiosity over how she had gotten so strong, I didn't get why he would risk his life to ask her questions - questions that she kept refusing to answer.

Once the binding spell was completed, however, and we learn about Anna's sordid past, I couldn't get to the ending fast enough! Suspense and twists had me gripping the book until my knuckles went white. I won't get in to the ending - I don't want to inadvertently spoil anything - but I will say that the final scene at Cas' house will haunt my nightmares. I've got chills just thinking about it again.

By Amanda 06 Jul 2012 4

Also reviewed on my blog, The Vintage Bookworm. (

I've been wanting to read this for a long time, so once I saw it on the review list from Orchard Books I knew I had to get it! I'm so glad I had the opportunity to review this, even though it took me forever to read it once I started it. That had nothing to do with the writing or anything either, more the fact that I was a chicken and wouldn't read it at night if my hubby was working and I was also reading an eBook at the same time. So it took me ten days!

I don't know where to begin with this book. It was downright creepy. I looove creepy things, but this nearly gave me nightmares! Which, of course, I did love! This is such a unique idea and I fell in love with it. Sometimes I have trouble getting into reading through books that have male point-of-views, but I didn't have an issue with this book at all. I got dragged in from the start.

Cas, the main character, is sarcastic and such a great guy. Yes, his occupation/hobby isn't normal for someone his age, but that makes him so interesting. He doesn't have a lot of friends, but he knows how to make his way to the top if he has to. Which really helps when he's looking for information on the "ghost stories" around his new town.

Cas makes two new friends when he comes to Thunder Bay: the beautiful popular girl, Carmel, and the scrawny outcast Thomas. When Carmel came into the picture, I thought she'd be the stereo-typical annoying popular cheerleader, but after a few events happen in the book she becomes a lot more than that and you actually see real personality there and I really liked the REAL side of her.

I really liked Thomas' character and his grandfather, Morfran. They added a lot to the story and Thomas is very helpful and a great guy. Him and Cas are hilarious together.

Anna was really creepy at first and I didn't like her. I just wanted her gone so we could continue with the story. But she WAS the story, which even though the title IS after her, I thought that by the end of the book she'd be dead and boy was I wrong! By the end of the book she wasn't as creepy, she could have her moments, but she was a great character and I'm glad we got to know her a bit.

Overall, this was a great book and I'm dying to read the sequel. I definitely recommend this to those who love a great story and a great creepy type novel. There is even a little bit of romance in it! I'm definitely adding Kendare Blake to my author watch list because she definitely knows how to write and definitely knows how to creep someone out. Great job Kendare Blake! I love your name too, by the way!

By Najla Qamber 26 Dec 2011 5

I am overwhelmed at how good Anna Dressed in Blood is. There wasn't a part where I found it dragging to the point where I was screaming "GET ON WITH IT!". It was going at a perfect pace. Authors who are able to write a book in a perfect pace needs to be worshipped for their awesomeness at it. If I ever get the chance to write a book, I don't think I'll ever get a perfect pace like how Blake wrote this book.

I'm guilty. I didn't actually read the synposis before I decided to get this or read this. And because of that I didn't know the lead character, Cas was a boy until like the 2nd Chapter. Thats a major fail on my part. Anyways, I adore Young Adult books with male leads. It breaks the chain of endless female protagonists. Its rare but each time there is one "male" lead. I know for sure, the book will be good.

And I was not disappointed. Like the title, my copy of Anna Dressed in Blood was also dressed and filled with its own blood. The text was crimson. Which adds in a more haunting effect to the book.

Cas, our lead, is awesomely written and acts like he should as a teenager. He's a ghost hunter, like his father before him. He's dad is dead and he moves around with his mom killing ghosts with his dads knife. Cas is fascinated by the mysterious story of Anna, Anna Dressed in Blood and so he moves to Thunder Bay to kill it/her. Cas is a perfect protagonist for this role and for sure, a reader will love him.

Along the way, Cas, who is a lone ranger per se. Meets two teenagers his age, who he accidentally drags into his plan to kill Anna and with their help they try a spell to weaken Anna. At some point, the book got scary. Like Look-behind-your-shoulder-scary. To be exact, Chapter 20 scared the begezuz out of me!

Anna Dressed in Blood is haunting, dark, gorey, extremely unique, original and by far the best book I've read in 2011. The world Blake creates is utterly vivid and captivating. Its that definite read everyone is longing to read. The book that'll haunt you after reading. A definite unputdownable book.

By I'm Loving Books 05 Dec 2011 4

Anna Dressed In Blood is one of those books that I just couldn't resist. Quite honestly it's not my normal genre. Despite loving paranormal books, I've never really read a book labeled as "horror", and I'm not really into the whole ghost theme. But after seeing so many great reviews for it, I decided I'd give it a shot. Plus, the cover! I mean c'mon, how could you resist that cover? lol

I think I was sort of expecting something spookier and scarier though. Being that I've never really read a horror novel, I'm not exactly sure what to expect in terms of how I can be scared of a book. I know it happens, I've just never experienced it before. But this book didn't really feel like a horror novel to me. It just felt like a paranormal book. The "scary" aspects weren't really all that scary and there was even a little bit of romance.

That's not to say it wasn't good because I did enjoy it. But if you go into the book expecting something scary, you'll probably be a little bit disappointed (at least in my opinion). Maybe I'm just hard to scare though! lol I'd like to think so. ;)

But where I think this book really triumphs is with the character building. Especially when it comes to Anna and Cris. Both of their backgrounds and the whys of the things they do are really fleshed out and you really gain an understanding and empathy for both of their characters. The secondary characters, not so much, but that's pretty expected, especially for a first-in-series.

One other thing about the book that was a little bit weak was the pace. I found the first half (150 pages or so) to be kind of slow. Despite a few wow moments, I wasn't really impressed. Where the book starts to shine though is around page 200. The plot takes on a sort of twist and it gets to be pretty interesting.

Overall, I sadly didn't love this as much as everyone else seems to. But I did like it a lot. I definitely am curious about what will happen next as the book left off with a bit of a cliffhanger and I really want to see where it goes. I think this was a pretty solid first-in-series but I'm hoping the next book will have a bit more action and adventure, and it would be nice to dive into the secondary characters a little bit more.

Review quote

Praise for "Anna Dressed in Blood""It's the old boy meets girl story, if the boy is a wry, self-destructive ghost-hunter bent on avenging his father and the girl is a homicidal ghost trapped in a house full of everyone she's ever murdered. Needless to say, Cas and Anna are my new favorite twosome. When I got to the last page, I flipped back to the first."--Holly Black, "New York Times" bestselling author of "Red Glove"""Anna Dressed in Blood" is a dark and intricate tale, with a hero who kills the dead but is half in love with death himself. By the end of the book, you will be too. Spellbinding and romantic."--Cassandra Clare, #1 "New York Times" bestselling author of the Mortal Instruments series"Abundantly original, marvelously inventive and enormous fun, this can stand alongside the best horror fiction out there. We demand sequels."--"Kirkus Reviews", Starred Review"Cinematic and compelling. Blake's smooth combination of gore and romance should have little problem attracting the Twilight crowd."--"Booklist "