Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Anna Dressed in Blood


Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

It's a love-hate relationship for me. I love reading spooky tales, but I hate how scared I get after reading them. I've been known to scare myself witless after reading ghost stories. Oh, I'm fine while reading; it's afterward when I have to turn out the lights and every noise or shadow shifts into its true nightmaric form that I huddle shivering under the covers.

No, I'm not a 12-year-old girl. I'm a grown woman who's been doing this with scary books since she was 12. You'd think I'd have outgrown it by now, or at least given up reading the scarier ones. You'd be wrong.

So what is it about Anna that had me eagerly anticipating a frightful night hiding under the blankets? Here's the basic premise: a teen ghost hunter kills the dead who kill the living. The ghost of a murdered girl tears apart anyone who enter her house. Then the kicker: The ghost spares the life of the ghost hunter, even while killing others around him. Mystery? Yup. Intrigue? Oh, yeah.

To say that the story is creepy would be putting it mildly, but that's not what makes this book so fascinating. From the horrifying first encounter with Anna, the story progresses from mystery to secrecy, and, yes, even to romance. Anna is a fully fleshed-out character (badum-ching!) who becomes increasingly complex as the story progresses. I have to say, she was my favorite part of the book.

I honestly didn't get as scared as I thought I would, but that's a good thing because I stayed up much too late finishing it. One straight shot through the whole book. It really was that good.

The rating was docked half a star because I might have over-hyped it in my mind a bit, leading to a tiny bit of disappointment, but not enough to ruin how much I enjoyed it overall. (I'm probably hyping it a bit too much here, too. Oops.) I'm hoping that the sequel (Yes!) will deliver that last half star to make this an incredible series. 

For an author's debut, this is very well done. I'm definitely keeping an eye on Kendare Blake. There are delicious frights to be had in future books, if Anna Dressed in Blood is any indication.

Note: For those who are sensitive to language and violence, this has both. While it's aimed at YA readers, I'd suggest it's better suited on the older end of that spectrum.

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