Monday, January 14, 2013
Cas Lowood is not your typical teenage boy- he's a ghost hunter. He moves around, tracking the worst of the worst, the ones that are murdering innocent people, and then dispatching them with his father's knife. His father was killed ten years ago doing the same thing, and now Cas uses his knife to continue the work. Cas and his mother have recently moved to a new town because rumor has it Anna, resident ghost, is getting worse and something needs to be done. Cas shows up for the first day of school, charms the school's Queen Bee and makes the Head Jock jealous. He cons them in to taking him to see Anna, and then all hell breaks loose.
I grabbed Anna Dressed in Blood after reading Andi's glowing review. I brought it home, I read the summary, I put it on the shelf (as I am wont to do) and then when it came close to the point where I had to read it, I got started. And here's what happens- 75 pages into the book Anna shows up. She's terrible and beautiful and powerful and scary, and I closed the book to read it NOT at bedtime. Somehow, I managed to check a ghost story out of the library, and then was surprised when frightening things happened. (Huh? Yeah. Me too.) Despite the fear, I returned to it and finish it within a few days. Anna is still scary, but she's also remarkably human, and likable, and the more you know about her, the more sympathy you have for the ghost.
Cas starts the book as a bit of an arrogant jerk. He shows up at the new school with no plans to make friends, and is not at all surprised to gain the attention of several girls. As the book progresses, we learn that he's really not that outstanding physically, and you start to wonder where the initial magnetism comes from. Despite his desire not to make friends, and his history of working alone, Things Happen that cause him to need the assistance of other people, and we find ourselves with a bit of a Scooby Gang. Thankfully, they are all likable enough, and aside from having a high percentage of weird names, believable enough. (If you can get past the idea of a 17 year old out to rid the world of ghosts, with his peers as sidekicks. Which, hello, Buffy.)
Overall, a great story and I'm looking forward to the next book in the series, Girl of Nightmares . Once past that initial scene, the intensity of the ghost scenes drops a bit, so don't let it being a horror story put you off completely. There are a few other disturbing things, that I find I can't share without spoiling it for you, so if you're prone to nightmares maybe skip it. If you're a Stephen King fan, you're probably ok for this one too.
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