Author: Kendare Blake Series: Anna #1 Genre: Young Adult Horror Release Date: October 17, 2011 Book Length: 316 pages Publisher: Tor Teen Review: 3/5
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.
I thought this was a pretty good book. It was a light thriller/horror that started off strong, but in the end it kind of wavered which set my rating to a 3/5.
The protagonist, Cas, was a teenage ghost hunter and I thought the concept was interesting and unique – it kind of reminded me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. At the beginning, I thought the plot was pretty predictable as there were all the typical tropes in a YA high school that you could think of. However, even though the book did surprise me by swaying from the stereotypical, predictable ending, I thought some of it was a little cheesy. ***SPOILER AHEAD: especially the fact that Cas falls in love with Anna! It wasn’t executed in a believable way to me, so when it happened, I honestly didn’t care and I think that is one of the main reasons this book ended up flopping for me in the end.***
What I especially liked though was that this book is set in Canada! I was shocked to find that out, because it’s not every day that I read a book set here. They mentioned the setting of Thunder Bay a bunch of times, but what I wish the author did more of was bring some Canadian culture into the plot to make it more believable. Although they kept mentioning ‘Thunder Bay’, the descriptions of the setting and life in Canada were few and far between so really, it could have been set anywhere else and it wouldn’t have made a difference.
Even though this wasn’t my favourite book ever, I still think it was good. I wouldn’t go out of my way to read the sequel, but I wouldn’t be opposed to the idea either.