August 17, 2015 • Cee • Reviews

anna dressed in blood

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake •  August  30, 2011 • Tor Books
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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.


First sentence: “The grease-slicked hair is a dead giveaway—no pun intended. “

What do you get when Buffy Summers didn’t slay vampires and isn’t a girl? You get Theseus Cassio Lowood, mostly known as Cas, the ghost slayer.

Cas’s job: to kill the dead that should’ve stayed dead. No, not zombies. Ghosts.

Cas inherits two things when his dad dies: 1. the ghost-hunting job with the intention of avenging his death, and 2. his dad’s athame that has powers effective enough to kill the dead. He follows and investigates the ghost lores his trustworthy contacts tips him with, which sends him all over the country, never sticking long enough to make friends. After Cas kills County 12 Hiker, he, his white-witch mom, and their cat Tybalt, leave for Thunder Bay in Ontario, Canada, where he goes in search of the ghost, Anna Dressed in Blood. There, he discovers that there are other powers lurking in the shadows.


  • Anna Dressed in Blood is creepy and gory, but with the right amount. 

I admit: I scare easily. I started the book right before bed, but had to stop after the first chapter because I was afraid the events of the book will seep into my brain and give me nightmares. Once I was in the day light and around other people, it wasn’t so bad. It didn’t use ominous and too suspenseful scenes where you’d end up quivering under your covers, and I actually like that. It’s not too scary for those who can’t really handle creepy supernatural events.

  • This is folklore ghost heaven.

Tell me who doesn’t read or watch things about supernatural folklores, and doesn’t enjoy it. You are totally lying. You have shows like Supernatural and Ghost Hunters that are devoted to these supernatural happenings. People have a fascination with it, and I’m no different. Even though I find supernatural folklores scary, I can’t help but want to read more about it. We always want to know what’s out there in the unknown, and in Cas’s world, they’re ghosts and voodoo spirits. The ones Cas encounters on his job have an interesting history that makes you want to learn more about the others and about this world he’s living.

  • For a guy who hasn’t had friends in his entire life, Cas gains them and forms a needed circle.

Everything changes for Cas when he arrives in Thunder Bay. Usually, Cas goes at it alone when he’s tasked to hunt down and kill a ghost, but on the Anna Dressed in Blood job, he gains the help of people he didn’t know he needed—a regular tipster, a telepath, a Queen Bee, a grandfather, and a ghost. I loved seeing that Cas need allies who can help him when he’s in a life and death situation, and although they get in the way sometimes, they are very helpful. 


  • Why does this book have romance in it?

My enjoyment of this book dropped significantly when it became clear that Cas was developing feelings for a murderous teenage ghost. Sure, she had no control over her actions, and the romance never comes into fruition, but I didn’t want to see this.) His sudden interest in Anna (of the romantic variety) was alarming because it came out of nowhere. What bonded them? He must’ve hit his head really hard, or he has a weird savior complex that makes him fall in love with teenage ghosts who decide not to kill him. I cringed when Cas called Anna “my Anna” multiple times. Don’t you know falling for a ghost only has one ending? It’s not a happy one FYI.

  • Did anybody else feel like they were reading two different stories in one?

It didn’t bother me very much, but the transition was very awkward. For the two-thirds of Anna Dressed in Blood, we get to see Cas try to figure out how to “kill” Anna, and once they did, the other third dealt with the athame and the mysterious Obeahman. I thought there was more to Anna’s story than what actually happened, and found it disappointing when her past wasn’t dealt with as much. 


For those who are apprehensive about reading Anna Dressed in Blood, let me ask you these three questions: 1. do you like a good ghost folklore?; 2. do you like Supernatural (the good years when it was focused on local legends and folklores like Woman in White and Bloody Mary)?; and 3. do you want to read a YA from the male teenager’s point of view? If you said yes to any of these questions, I think it’s time you pick up Anna Dressed in Blood.


One Response to “REVIEW | Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake”

  1. Alexa S. says:

    I’m still not sure that I want to read Anna Dressed In Blood! I’m not overly fond of horror in general, though admittedly there is something morbidly fascinating when the lore is presented well. I’m glad you wound up liking some aspects of this one, even though the two reservations you have are definitely something that would bother me too!

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