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Anna by Kendare Blake

So it's been a good five weeks or so since I read a book; not a textbook, or a magazine article, but an actual book. I had started 2 books previous to this, but school took over my life, as summer courses tend to do, and although I attempted, I couldn't just pick up either book from where I left off. I needed something new to get the blood pumping again. After asking friends, flipping through my own books, and research on WhatShouldIReadNext.com, I came upon Anna Dressed in Blood. I'm a sucker for a good ghost story, so I decided that this would be the book to get me going again.

(Source: Kelsey Darling)
Anna Dressed in Blood follows Cas Lowood in his hunt to kill a ghost the locals call..well duh...Anna Dressed in Blood. Anna Korlov was brutally murdered in 1958, and the murder was never solved. Since her death, any unfortunate soul who wandered into her deserted Victorian would surely never see another day. Until Cas, that is. Cas himself is confused by the turn of events, not only because does he know that she should have killed him, but his urge to kill her isn't as strong as it should be; he finds himself plagued with needing to know what happened to the sweet innocent girl who died on her way to a dance. With the help of his two new friends Carmel Jones and Thomas Sabin, Cas gets to the bottom of the horrific story. But ghosts from Cas's past threaten to make this hunt more life threatening than any he's faced before.

Ups and Downs

(Source: Giphy)
So this is what I have to say about Kendare Blake: Her writing has seriously improved. I read Three Dark Crowns (2016) before my reading hiatus, and the writing was spot on. Anna Dressed in Blood was written in 2011, and there were some things that were a little redundant, or things mentioned that I thought were going to play a role in the plot because they were mentioned a few times, but then never again. I didn't know the same person wrote both books until I actually looked (it was bothering me because the name sounded familiar and I couldn't place it). And even between Anna and Girl of Nightmares, there's a huge improvement in writing style. I love seeing authors grow and refine their style.

There's one thing I hate though: the cat, Tybalt, dies, or rather, is murdered by the Obeahman, the spirit who killed Cas's father and has been siphoning ghost mojo from the athame ever since. I have zero tolerance for animal deaths. It was unnecessary.
(Source: Giphy)
Also, I feel that this could have been a stand alone novel. I enjoyed Nightmares just as much, but there is no cliffhanger that will leave you in suspense. I do appreciate when authors do that, because sometimes I can't/don't read subsequent novels right away.

Back for Round Two

Girl of Nightmares picks up six months after the end of Anna. Cas, Carmel, and Thomas are ghost busting on the weekends, and trying to return to normal life. But here's the thing: Cas is getting visions of Anna, who he thought he sent to a better place; but every time she appears, she's being tortured. Cas has to rescue Anna from whatever hell she's in, but he's meeting resistance from everyone except Thomas. Cas knows that the athame is the key to reaching her, but he can't figure out how exactly. And now he's being told by many people that he needs to stop digging, or he'll regret it.

Okay, I'm going to say it-it's creepy as hell that he loves a ghost. He didn't know her when she was alive, and it's not even like he loved her like a friend, he loves her. I mean, I hate the whole 16 year old falling in love in general, but this pushed it for me.

But in Nightmares, you learn more about the history of the athame and the world of spirits in general, and I love when stories give back stories. Give me all the layers!

(Source: Giphy)
Also, when I talk about Blake's writing style improving, there is more going on with the story than just what's going on in the world of Cas. Nightmares explores the relationship forming between Thomas and Carmel, and that plot moves along nicely with the main plot of saving Anna. Also, Thomas has a fit where he finds out he ate ginger snaps belonging to a dead woman, and his freak out was just the comic relief that is needed to break up all the serious.

Rating: 7/10
Author: Kendare Blake
Series: Anna (2)
Genres: Young Adult, Horror, Paranormal

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