Seventeen-year-old Cas always knew that one day he would inherit the family business. He was merely the next in a line of ghost killers – people who send ghosts out of the human world. But that day came much sooner than expected when a ghost finally defeated his dad. Cas immediately stepped into his birthright, and although he never shared his plan with anyone, he always intended to avenge his father.
Then, Cas hears about Anna, a ghost so fearsome that an entire town avoids the house where she dwells, fearing they’ll be ripped apart if they step too close. But it seems that Anna may have crossed the boundary to seek out her victims.
Cas has been called up to face his most gruesome opponent to date, and he believes that if he can defeat Anna he’ll finally be powerful enough to take down his father’s killer.
Ever since her death, Anna, wrapped in the same white dress in which she died, stained with the same dripping blood, and covered with curses older and more evil than anything Cas has ever encountered, has violently murdered anyone daring (or stupid) enough to cross the threshold into her rotting, Victorian home. But she spares Cas.
Kendare Blake powerfully depicts an usual story. Refreshingly dissimilar from the Young Adult trends of dystopias and vampire romances, we enter the world of the paranormal and find it coexisting with our everyday lives. Unlike many stories of teenagers with unusual powers, Cas’ mom is well-aware of her son’s alternate life. After every kill, she casts protection spells on his athame, the tool he, like his father before him, uses to breach the barrier between human and ghost and send the spirit out of this world and into the next.
Blake tells an eerily familiar tale, a teenager trying to prove himself, to protect his family. The familiar setting of the story serves to emphasize just how different the main characters are from the average highschoolers. Ranging from popular jocks and queen bees to outcasts and freaks, we see typical teenagers break through stereotypes and become unique.
Although the violence in Anna Dressed in Blood was more graphic than my normal YA read, fans of the Hunger Games trilogy will barely flinch. If you’re looking for something new and little different, you won’t be disappointed. Blake’s witty dialogue and fascinating characters are as brilliant as the plot. Cas and Anna quickly added themselves to my list of favorite characters, previously populated by Percy Jackson and Harry Potter. This book will not only have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish, you’ll be begging for more by the time it ends (but don't fret, Blake’s sequel Girl of Nightmares has already hit the shelves).