Sunday, October 2, 2011

Anna Dressed in Blood (review)

4/5 Stars

When this book, with it's creepy and moody cover and equally creepy title, Anna Dressed in Blood, started popping up in my goodreads emails I didn't know what to think. I'm not a horror person. I don't usually read scary books or watch scary movies. Mainly because they never actually scare me and I always find myself asking "Really that's what your so afraid of?"

But I kept seeing glowing reviews. So I put my skepticism aside and decided to give it a chance.

I really need to stop being so judgmental about what I think I read. Because I loved Anna Dressed in Blood. Many of my friends say the book scared them. I'll be honest, it didn't scare me. But it didn't depend on cheap thrills or misleading bumps to up the fear factor. You don't have to be afraid to enjoy this book.

The story is well developed, centered around the sad mystery that is Anna Dressed in Blood. Yes she's a big bad ghost. Yes she kills people. But rather than running around screaming and dying like stupid people who run upstairs, not down, during horror movies, the majority of this book is spent on figuring out what made Anna such a powerful ghost. Which is a lot more interesting to me.

I pretty much like all of the characters in this book. Kendare Blake doesn't fall into the trap of making them stereotypes. Carmel--beautiful, blonde, queen bee--could have easily just been that. But she's given life beyond her type and by the end is a well developed character. Cas could've just been witty one-liner mysterious new guy. Anna could have just been a horror story. I think you get my point.

Anna actually becomes my favorite character. Nevermind that she been killing people for 50 years or that I should probably be scared of her. I find her fascinating. In case you didn't read the blurb on the front cover, there is some romance in this book. But it's not he love-at-first-sight crap that I hate in paranormals. It builds over time. Its lingering looks and butterflies in the stomach, all those wonderful things that make your first love so special and usually so tragic.

And let's net forget about Cas (who is actually the main character). He reminds me of Sam from Hold Me Closer, Necromancer. He's witty and a little bit lonely. His connection to the dead has created a barrier between him and the living. But he's not that pathetic loser type character. Fact is, he carries himself with enough confidence that he could have any of the pretty preppy girls he wanted. He just can't relate to them. They're pompoms and football games, he's killer of things that should've stayed dead. Even though he goes around killing ghosts, he doesn't think of himself as a hero. He's got a chip on his shoulder that's been following around since a big-bad-ghost killed his father and he's hoping slaying Anna will prove that he's ready to go after his father's murderer.

This story has just the right amount of twists and turns. What makes me REALLY happy is that the twists actually make sense. You're like "Okay I didn't see that coming but I totally believe it." Halfway through, the book had me coming up with my own theories. I was never right, but that's okay. The book drops clues and hints, and they aren't just red-herrings.

I think this is the perfect October read. It's creepy, ghostly, but somehow has a lot of humor and heart. I'm even considering reconciling with paranormals after this book.

One non-story related issue I had: The book is printed in maroon ink which is rather hard on the eyes. It's gimmicky and trite, which is sad because that's everything the story is not. It's a poor graphic choice by the publisher. I've seen weird ink colors in a few books thus far and I NEVER like it. I got used to it after a few chapters but that's the LAST thing you want readers to do. I literally almost put the book back down when I saw the font color. I know I'm picky about graphic design but I doubt I'm the only one who doesn't want to stare at red ink for 300 pages.


Wendy Darling said...

So glad you loved this! Anna is pretty awesome. :)

veela-valoom said...

I was glad that everyone was reviewing it. Otherwise I wouldn't have found it.

patriciarakel said...

I completely agree with you on the red ink. I checked the book out at my school's library after looking at the cover and reading the inside flap. It sounded great. As soon as I opened the book up, though, I almost returned it right away. Colored inks give me horrible headaches if I look at them too long or focus on them too hard. But I'm half way through it and it's not as bad as Shiver was (which was written in blue ink). At least the red is very dark and almost looks black or brown after reading for a while. Still, I'm thinking about buying the eBook just so I don't have to put up with the horrible graphic s choice.

veela-valoom said...

YAY I'm not the only particular graphic person! I agree that Shiver was worse. (I didn't like shiver to begin with but the blue ink of varying colors only confused me further - I kept trying to figure out the logic).

If the next book has red ink I'll consider the ebook as well.