Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Disclaimer: This review first appeared on my Goodreads profile. It can also be found on our Tumblr here.
*Shakes head in disappointment*
You know when you walk into a book store, and you see a beautiful cover that catches your attention and you immediately think, "That looks good!" and you read the blurb and review quotes and you think, "Yep. This looks great. I need to read it."
And then you start reading the book and it fails in every single aspect, and you're left with nothing but bitter disappointment?
That's Anna Dressed in Blood. The premise was interesting, but everything else just failed.
"Cas Lowood is no ordinary guy - he hunts dead people.
People like Anna. Anna Dressed in Blood. A beautiful, murderous ghost entangled in curses and rage. Cas knows he must destroy her, but as her tragic past is revealed, he starts to understand why Anna has killed everybody who's ever dared enter her spooky home.
Everyone, that is, except Cas..."
When I read the blurb, it sounded incredibly interesting. So interesting that I bought it straight away and didn't even bother reading the reviews here on Goodreads (which I usually do before spending money).
When I then read the review snippets, I thought it was going to be a scary, gory, sleep-with-the-lights-on book, but I couldn't have been more wrong.
Cas Lowood has accepted a new job -- to banish the spirit of Anna Dressed in Blood, a murderous, spiteful spirit who dismembers every human that dares step across the threshold of her home.
From page one, I could see that I wasn't going to like it as much as I expected to. Cas Lowood is a dick. He's cocky, shallow and very much in your face. He does nothing at all to win over the readers or even his cat, Tybalt. I felt incredibly sorry for his mother, who has to put up with a son like Cas, someone who doesn't give a flying fuck about other people's wishes except his own. He's very selfish that way and his mother just goes along with whatever he wants to do. So when they decide to go to Ontario, Canada to hunt Anna, his mother didn't even bat an eyelid.
Throughout the entirety of the book, Cas constantly says, "I'm the only one who can do this job. I'm the only one who can kill ghosts." Which left me screaming, "Why? Why are YOU the only one who can? What if there are others out there? Hm? HMMM?" I think Blake could've given us an explanation for this, even if it was just a theory, as I know there is another book in the series.
Cas likes to think he's the super macho hot guy. The second he steps into his new school, heads swivel in his direction and girls fawn all over him as if he was Depp-hot, which I highly doubt.
"Or maybe I'm just damn easy on the eyes."
Are you, Cas? Because I have no fucking clue what you look like! We are never given a physical description of the MC. EVER.
He's the kind of guy who thinks he's 'all that':
"When I walk by, I pointedly ignore her."
And he obviously thinks he's drop dead gorgeous because...
"At lunch, Carmel flags me down, but I don't go over right away. I'm not here to date anyone, and I don't want to give her the wrong idea."
Cas, honey, you're not going to give her the wrong idea if you sit with her at lunch.
"I make my way to her table, seeing eyes growing wider as I do. Ten or so other girls just developed instantaneous crushes on me."
I STILL don't know what you look like, mate!
So when you hear the name Anna Dressed in Blood, and you hear that she tortures and maims any human that walks into your house, your first thought is, "My, she must be terrifying."
Anna wasn't terrifying at all. I scare easily, but Anna made me laugh. Sure, her appearance was a bit off putting, but other than that, she's a pretty boring ghost. Emphasis on pretty.
"Her feet drag horribly along like she can't use them at all. Dark, purplish veins cut through her pale white skin. Her hair is shadow-less black, and it moves through the air as though suspended in water, snaking out behind and drifting like reeds. It's the only thing about her that looks alive. ... There is the dress. It's wet, and red, and constantly moving. It drips onto the ground."
Scary, right? Sounds pretty terrifying, huh?
Well after a few scenes she's then described as 'beautiful', 'ethereal' and 'gorgeous' -- nothing like the crazy killer from a few pages back. In the end, Anna is nothing but a damned spirit who falls in love with Cas.
Which brings me to my next point!
You haven't known instalove until you read this book. The romance fell from the sky and landed on their laps. It came from nowhere. One minute Cas is going on about how he must banish this awful murderous spirit, and the next he's in love, and thinking about their future, and talking to Thomas about how he doesn't think he can live without her.
It's awful, disconcerting and inconsistent and it just didn't sit right with me. There was no build-up, no grand revelation, just 'omg I'm in love with her'.
Overall, I was incredibly disappointed. If you want blood, gore, hair-standing-on-end, sleep-with-the-lights-on book, this isn't it. If you want plot holes, random mythology thrown at you, flat characters and cheap romance, then this book is definitely for you.