Author: Kendare Blake
Genre: YA; Horror; Supernatural
Theseus Cassio Lowood, called Cas, hunts ghosts who won't stay dead. Wielding his father's athame, a blade that cuts the dead, he sends murderous spirits into the afterlife--again. But now he may have met his match. Rumors tell of a daughter of Finnish immigrants whose throat was slashed on the night of her first dance, the crimson blood running into her white dress. This is Anna Korlov--Anna Dressed In Blood. Cas knows he must face off against this powerful ghost. What he doesn't realize is that the trip to Thunder Bay will bring out a secret from his darkest past--and lead him to a love that just might give him a future.
If you like ghosts and action and want a light, fun read, this book might be a good fit. I paged through it quickly and it left me entertained. There's enough blood and profanity to gear it toward an older audience. I liked the characters well enough, especially Anna who can be horrifying and sympathetic. The story of how she became a ghost was probably the novel's strongest scene.
I couldn't find much wrong with the book, but I did wish for a little more. More mystery, more emotion, more fear. I didn't feel particularly surprised or horrified or invested in the characters. The book is told from Cas' point of view, and he's witty and sarcastic but also a bit distant. As a result, I didn't feel as emotionally engaged as I might have been.
Some explanations were hand-waved away. The police, for example, barely pay attention to the slew of horrifically murdered bodies because they feel uncomfortable with them. Voodoo becomes central to the story, but the foundations of the practice are never laid before us. Only people from Cas' bloodline can wield the athame until all of a sudden someone else can, too. These little inconsistencies add up and chip away at my suspension of disbelief.
Then again, I'm a picky reader. Anna Dressed In Blood is like a visit to a haunted house: spooky and fun and liberally splashed with gore. It probably won't leave you with a transcendent view of mankind, but it's a great way to maim and murder a few hours of your life.