Anna Dressed in Blood Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead. So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now armed with his father's mysterious and deadly atheme, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage. She still wears the dress she wore in the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, it is now stained red and dripping with blood.
Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home. Yet she spares Cas's life.
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|Listening Length||8 hours and 43 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||July 05, 2012|
|Publisher||Blackstone Audio, Inc.|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #92,607 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#174 in Horror Fiction for Teens
#218 in Paranormal Fantasy for Teens
#259 in Paranormal Mystery, Thriller & Suspense for Teens
Reviewed in the United States on May 24, 2016
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Thesues Cassio 'Cas' Lowood is 17 and a ghost hunter like his father. He and his mother moved to Thunder Bay to eradicate, Anna Dressed in Blood, the local ghost who has killed many who dare enter her house. From the moment Cas steps into Thunder Bay, however, nothing goes as planned.
This is the book I was hoping Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children would be: scary, chilling, and exciting. The characters are well-written and, for the most part, not cliched, the story is interesting, and the pace is pretty brisk.
Our cast is led by Cas. I was really excited to read a novel from a male's point of view (so many YA novels are from a female's), but I was also nervous, seeing as the author is a female. Perhaps she writes her boys too feminine. Ha! Cas is truly a young man; he is arrogant at times, bold, daring, determined, and loving to his mother (this is a HUGE plus for me--I really hate it when books feature disposable parents). Sure, he also drove me bonkers (for someone supposedly so skilled at ghostbusting, he seems to do a real shoddy job of it most of the time), but I actually found that made him more realistic and relatable. Cas isn't perfect; he isn't a god to the female sector of his high school (in fact, he is rather callous to them and/or inept); he makes mistakes, underestimates his enemies, and misunderstands circumstances. And that is what makes a good character, in my book: a character whose actions you can understand and possibly relate to (also liking the character helps, but is not mandatory).
Side characters were surprisingly vibrant. Carmel totally blew me away; I thought she would be a stereotypical vapid popular girl, but she was really smart, clever, and actually contributed to the mystery and end showdown. I also totally loved how Cas was not paired up with her. Thomas started out kinda cliched (nerdy/geeky psychic), but his friendship to Cas really elevated him out of Dorky Side-kick. Anna, the titular girl, was great. I really liked how the author chose not to give her a point of view; I thought seeing her through Cas' eyes was great and I don't think giving her a POV would have contributed anything to the story. I did think, however, how she became a ghost was goofy (including stereotypically EVUL step-parent and ridiculously and unexplained EVUL mother), but it was interesting how she wasn't a typical ghost.
I think what really impressed me was the story. I like the idea of ghost hunting (so funny with all the Ghostbuster references too!), and I thought the idea of Cas hunting this eerie girl dressed in blood was cool. Also, don't know if you know, but there is this trend in YA to add a romance or a Romantic Triangle. I have great news for you: THERE IS NO ROMANTIC TRIANGLE AND ANY ROMANCE IS PURELY INCIDENTAL! Yes, DO NOT FAINT! It has been done, and I think quite well.
However, in the middle, the story seemed to have forgotten where it was going. I would read several pages, but when I thought back to those pages, I would be like, "What was the point of the last 20 pages?" How Cas loses the athame was COMPLETELY stupid and could have been avoided. I felt there were two plots that could have been intertwined a bit better. Some of Anna's backstory was silly. There was even a point where I was about to give this book 3 stars: Cas was grating on me, the story seemed to have stopped, the writing seemed sloppy at times (consistency flies out the window, Cas has no problem dropping f-bombs and suddenly censors himself, etc.), and the characters seemed to be morons.
Fortunately, at this point, the author pulls in a GREAT comeback, where something unexpected happens to the characters (and heck, even to me!). Honestly, I love it when characters come up with a plan, and it totally goes out the window. (I hate it when characters perfectly assess the future, come up with a plan, and the plan goes off without a hitch and without them having to think on the fly or show any of the "majr skilz" they supposedly have.)
And the final showdown...well, I'm trying to keep this review spoiler-free! Let's just say: WOW! It's big, it's great, and it's SCARY! The baddie is someone who can actually do some damage and makes you wonder how the characters will come out. And don't worry about cliffhangers; there is a wee bit of one, but this book is definitely a stand-alone.
My feelings about this book are almost 180 from how I felt about Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children . I thought this was a pretty scary book (though still not enough to keep me awake at nights, eyeing the door for intruders) with good characters and a good story. I am definitely keeping my eye open for book 2, and I heartily recommend this book for a good Halloween scare.
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Cas, our little hero of a ghost slayer, reminds me of Dean and Sam Winchester from Supernatural. He has pent up issues he does everything in his power to suppress; he's low on friends due to his constant chasing of urban legends and ghost stories; and a freak-show demon helped itself to his dad like an all-you-can-eat buffet. The kid is tough ~ can pretty much handle anything that comes his way... and that's what he's counting on when he comes face to face with the infamous Anna, the most powerful ghost he's ever encountered...
"This city smells like smoke and things that rot in the summer. It's more haunted than I thought it would be, an entire layer of activity just under the dirt: whispers behind peoples' laughter or movement that you shouldn't see in the corner of your eye. Most of them are harmless - sad little cold spots or groans in the dark. Blurry patches of white that only show up in a Polaroid. I have no business with them.
But somewhere out there is one that matters. Somewhere out there is the one that I came for, one who is strong enough to squeeze the breath out of living throats.
I think of her again. Anna. Anna Dressed in Blood. I wonder what tricks she'll try. I wonder if she'll be clever. Will she float? Will she laugh or scream?
How will she try to kill me?"
The details in this novel make you cringe, but try as you might, you can't look away... Anna literally tears people limb from limb, and the image of her, even when formed through the simple black and white of words, tends to sear itself into your nightmares... Her tattered white party dress stained with the drip-drip-drip of crimson... Two black orbs in place of eyes... dark veins covering her pale skin... *creeped-out*... But she's still the most lucid ghost Cas has ever come across, intriguing him.. Why is this? What happened to her to give her such power?
We see glimpses of Anna as she was before, beautiful and innocent... And there's something about Cas that keeps her from hurting him... They have this strange connection that defies life and death... Of course it would happen like that for Cas ~ the only girl he's ever fallen for would just have to be dead already...
"She is with me all the time. I feel stupid now, for not seeing it sooner. But hey, at least we'll have this strange story to tell, love and death and blood and daddy-issues. And holy crap I am a psychiatrist's wet dream."
As you can tell, Cas has a pretty blunt voice ~ hilarious, but right to the point. He doesn't mess around with niceties and he's fiercely independent, which is both a blessing and a curse for a teenage guy who hunts ghosts... You praise his strength just as much as you pity his predicament... I don't think he'd have his life any other way, but you're still tempted to want to shoulder some of the massive burden this kid carries... I fell in love with his humor, courage, stubbornness, and quiet suffering..
This story is as much about Cas as it is about Anna... He learns of her history just as his past catches up with him, presenting him with what could probably be the most difficult decision he's had to make in his young life... Fabulous twists make themselves known, and Cas gains as much pain as he does peace in the end...
Incredible read, creepy and nightmare-worthy... but it also breaks your heart just as it gives you hope... I've got the second book sitting on my shelf just screaming at me to be read... Ahhh, the beauty of "more to the story.."
Happy Reading Everyone :)
Top reviews from other countries
The biggest praise has to go to the villain, i never expected him or predicted his motivation. And he was suitably creepy and powerful to feel like a real threat to Cas, Anna etc.
I'm glad that Blake didn't go down the traditional route of having Cas and Carmel end up together as the popular girl and mysterious new guy trope is well worn.
Anna's story is very sad, and makes it easy to feel sympathetic towards her. However i'm sure a lot of the other ghosts have sad stories too, and the implication seems to be that they can't control themselves. Yet we're not supposed to have the same feelings to them.
However I was left with some questions. Why is Cas special, why is he able to see/kill ghosts? Why doesn't Anna have to kill him? And where is the Cas/Anna romance going? This is not a story i see having a happy ending. Hopefully the mythology is explored a bit more in the next book and these questions are answered.
The story is gripping from the beginning, I couldn't help but wonder why Cas was so fixated on Anna, though I had my suspicions.
I don't like giving anything away in reviews but I will say this, this book will make you feel. I went through happy, sad, furious, happy again in between and landed on heartbroken. It actually made me cry.
The only reason it's not a glowing 5 star review is because of how things were described at points, it felt like a lot of metaphoric language was added throughout and I know if it didn't come recommended by said friend I would have lost my patience with it.
That being said it was a compelling read, I finished both of the Anna books in two days.
Right - I need to justify all this gushing *takes deep, calming breaths*.
Anna Dressed in Blood is unusual in the YA-paranormal genre in that it is written in first-person perspective of a male character, Cas. And Cas is a great character - he's snarky and smart-arsey, clever and funny, brave and strong (yeah, there's the gush again) - his looks aren't really described but I did imagine him as kinda like Dean from Supernatural, it's the personality that I loved so much! And Anna, my heart broke more than a little when her story was revealed......
Although Anna Dressed in Blood is not one of the scariest books I've ever read, the creep factor is pretty high - the ghosts are scary as all get-out and any scene featuring them got my heebies jeeby-ing, it's subtly written but quite intricately detailed as well.
There's also romance (which had me all misty-eyed), magic and some surprising characters - the popular girl from the local high school Cas attends, Carmel, actually isn't the stereotypical bitchy bimbo at all, and Cas' mother is not the overbearing overprotective character I would have assumed the mother of a ghost-hunting teenage boy would be.
The writing in Anna Dressed in Blood is extremely good, the pace is maintained even when the ghosts aren't around and the action scenes had me sitting on the edge of my seat. The dialogue is great - it really cements the personalities of the characters and I could almost hear them in my head (I can't admit that I DID hear them, that sounds slightly crazy!). Of course, being a series, there is a cliffhanger - but not the kind that made me want to throw the book across the room, more the kind that had me hugging the book and beginning to stalk Ms. Blake to see when the next book is being released....
Anna Dressed in Blood is one of my favourite books of 2012 so far, if not THE favourite.
Cas is a ghost hunter that patrols the country killing spirits, with his wiccan mother in tow. After his dad is horrifically murdered, Cas adopts his powerful athame and swears vengeance. He's not just hunting for ghosts, he's hunting for the thing that killed his father.
Cas was subtly manipulative enough to play the role of someone used to adjusting to their surroundings, stealthy and skilled enough to be the trained hunter he claimed to be, and yet also wry and anxious enough to be just another teenage boy. Kendare Blake really did a wonderful job crafting a character who manages to be so many things, none of them ever seeming forced or overdone.
Unfortunately, I wasn't too keen on Cas's new friends. Thomas seemed like a recycled version of every typical 'smart sidekick' character and Carmel was far too bland to ever capture my interest.
Anna more than made up for that though. Her darker side was truly scary in some points and the vividly grotesque descriptions of her, right down to the dark tendrils of hair, were enough to creep me out.
As we watch her struggle with the more demonic side of herself, and her back-story is revealed, I only liked her more and became invested in her as a character who, despite anything, was still fit for redemption.
This is a romance as well as a horror, but that aspect never really takes shape. It's hinted at and implied, but never fully-developed, which I was pleased with. At its core, this is a ghost story, and I was glad the focus remained on that, splattering some blood-red droplets of doomed love, but never drawing away from the story with it. Instead we're treated to a plot that twists and turns in so many surprising ways, redeeming old murderers and revealing new ones.
This was a fantastically eerie ghost story that made the perfect Halloween read. Kendare Blake was able to effortlessly balance gory ghostly murders with slow-burning romance and a plot that twists and turns with the wind.
It wasn't perfect, and some clichés floated through to the surface, but overall this was a satisfying start to the series.