Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Reading Rainbow: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Horror is not a genre that I normally read. Sure, many years ago I read a ton of Anne Rice books and I even read Stephen King's The Shining. I blame that story for scaring the bejeezus out of me, and let's agree to never, ever discuss the movie. So when Stacie and Leigh asked me to review Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake, I was, well naturally, a little concerned. Would a book which pictures of a pretty ghost dripping in blood on its cover be my stuff o' nightmares?


Far from it, in fact, I am happy to report that it's one of my favorite reads this year. Okay, here it comes, the passionate part of my review. You guys know I have a well documented weakness for a boy's point-of-view and Cas is one fictional boy you have got to meet. He carries with him the burden of his heritage as a ghost hunter. Although, he has a wonderful, concerned mom and a faraway, but accessible, mentor in his life, you get the feeling his life is lonely. Kill a ghost. Move to another town. Get up and start all over again.
"I've seen a lot of seasons change. When you're not distracted by school and friends and what movie is coming out this week, you've got time to look at the trees." (chapter 17)
But then, they move into Anna's town and things become really creepy. The exact level of reeeeeeeally creepy I adore. Did I mention that Cas has a special knife, an athame, that allows him to dispatch ghosts? Umm, hellooooooo, Hot Boy with Sword. Have I convinced you to pick the book up yet? No?

Add to all of the that, Anna. She is an unexpected surprise for me because she is clearly not good. She kills people, after all. But (and oh boy, I know you could see that "but" coming), but...I adored her. The manner in which Kendare presents Anna's back story is so well written that it easily qualifies as some of the loveliest writing I've read this year. I expected Anna's story to be sad, okay, even tragic but not...this. As in the very best of stories, when you find out one thing sometimes everything changes. This story made me change. It did. Now I won't shy away from books whose premise may register as scary on my horror-meter-of-doom. I'm going to pick them up instead.

I challenge you to do the same. Kendare's characters, setting and oh, that multi-layered, gorgeously written plot are not to be missed. I can hardly wait to read more about Cas, his friends and those creepy, crawly fascinating mysteries they discover.