Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Format/pages: Hardcover 316 pages
Format read/Source: Book provided by publisher for review
Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars
More Info: Goodreads
Series: Book 1 of the Anna Dressed In Blood series
A refreshing take on YA paranormal, I enjoyed being scared reading Anna Dressed In Blood. Readers who enjoy horror with a sense of humor will have a blast reading this book. The strong characters and sharply written, fast paced plot that’s full of scares, thrills and surprises make it a must read this fall.
I haven’t read too many horror books lately, but I do love the rush I get from a good ghost story. The premise and spooky cover of Anna Dressed In Blood drew me in, and I hoped this title would be just the thing to get me in the mood for more spooky books this fall season. Right away I could tell I was in for a treat with this book. The story starts off strong and sucks you in right away with a mystery. The blood-red font in the book perfectly sets the mood.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that this book has a male main character. Theseus Cassio Lowood, Cas for short, is a killer of murdering ghosts. Cas inherited this talent from his father, who was killed by a particularly loathsome ghost. Cas learned the job pretty much on his own and carries his father’s athame (dagger) to send the evil spirits on their way. Cas and his mother move around from town to town to rid the areas of troublesome ghosts. Now he’s up against one of his biggest challenges yet, the ghost they call Anna Dressed in Blood. Anna brutally murders those who get too close and wears the bloodstained white dress she died in. For some reason, though, the rules have changed this time around, and Anna is not what Cas was expecting at all.
I really liked Cas and his independent spirit and dry sense of humor. He’s always taken his role seriously and been careful to stay focused and keep any distractions such as potential friends at arms length. The author nailed the voice of the teenage boy with his authentic mannerisms and colorful language. The other characters Cas reluctantly draws into his circle are also well developed and interesting and reminded me of Buffy’s Scooby Gang. Anna’s character is a scene-stealer and I loved her strength and power and other subtle nuances she brings to the table.
The plot is very engaging and the suspense and surprises kept me on my toes. I do most of my reading at night though, and had to take breaks when things got a little dark and scary so that I would be able to sleep. It may be a little too intense and violent for those on the younger end of YA, so keep that in mind.
I think that this book will appeal to a wide audience, even those reluctant to read ghost stories. I found the comedy/ horror combo fun and appealing and reminiscent of classic 80s films like Fright Night, The Lost Boys, and Ghostbusters, as well as the TV show Buffy. The details put into the story make it easy to imagine it inspiring a movie or TV series. A great choice for your Halloween reading enjoyment, look forward to reading the sequel, Girl of Nightmares, due out next year.