Author: Kendare Blake
Series: Anna (#1)
Publisher: Tor Teen
How Received: review copy
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.
On the cover of my copy, there's a quote from Cassandra Clare describing this as "spellbinding and romantic." While it is both spellbinding and, in its own romantic 'am I invested in this relationship' romantic, that is not the main thing that this is.
This is, in short, a horror young adult novel with a fascinating paranormal romance twist. And you know what? I loved it.
This book has people routinely being ripped in half, dropped into pits of dead bodies, eaten and murdered and I loved every moment of it. It's fascinating to read and excellently well done. I honestly had no idea what to expect and every time I learned something new, it was a surprise and a hell of a lot of fun. The writing may not be supremely eloquent, but it's easy to read and lets the book fly by with its fast-paced nature.
I loved all of the characters; they were magnificently fleshed out, even the ones without flesh. (See what I did there?) They were all fun to read about. Cas was a little annoying at the beginning -- it's hard to be in the head of a smug ghosthunter -- but he grew up as the story went on, so it all worked out.
My favorite character, of course, was Anna and my favorite relationship was Anna and Cas. I should not be invested in the relationship of a ghosthunter and the ghost who didn't kill him. And yet...
Overall Rating & Final Comments: 10/10. A fun read that stands out among the rest of the paranormal ranks.
Cover Comments: It's a dead girl in a dress! But, uh, so's the main character. So it's appropriate.
I have the sequel, so I'm hoping to sink my teeth into it soon! Have any of you read it?