Word Spelunking

Anna Dressed in Blood - Kendare Blake Read the complete and original review (and many more) at Word SpelunkingSo, I did a not so smart thing. I started reading Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood at night…in the dark…when things get creepy. This book is so bloody great (I had to get that pun outta my system) that I couldn’t put it down, which resulted in me reading it in the dark, wee hours of the morning, constantly jumping every time my usually quiet house made a noise. Basically, reading this book was an awesome experience! SUMMARYCas is anything but your average 17 year old guy. He moves around a lot, he doesn’t revel in the attention of pretty girls, oh, and he kills ghosts. Like his father before him and his father and his father. With his witchy mom and irritable cat Tybalt, Cas relocates to Thunder Bay, Ontario in search of local famous ghost- Anna. Anna Dressed in Blood. In Thunder Bay, Cas finds three things he’s never encountered before- a ghost he can’t (or won’t) kill, actual friends, and a reason to stick around. Along with his new friends, Cas must uncover the mystery surrounding Anna’s brutal death, deal with his unexpected feeling for this intriguing ghost, and go up against a deadly foe he’s unprepared for. STORYI’m a HUGE fan of the supernatural/paranormal genre, and with this book, Blake has done this genre right! There is so much to love about this book! It is dark and twisted in the most delicious way, with a captivating story and compelling characters. Blake’s writing is sharp, confident, and she weaves a spellbinding tale. Anna Dressed in Blood flows effortlessly, is masterfully executed, and grips you tight from beginning to well beyond the end. Blake has really created something that is excitingly original and refreshing. It has all the gore and violence of a horror and all the mystery and intrigue of a thriller. It’s hip and modern, yet has the feel of a lovely, but dark Gothic classic. This isn’t your average or clichéd ghost story; it’s scary in its subtlety, surprisingly touching, and stunningly romantic.I loved how unafraid Blake is to simply Go There in this book. Nothing is held back- not the gore, the language, the violence, the emotion- and the result is a gorgeous, realistic, vivid story that is haunting, merciless, and impossible to forget. This is also a very layered book. There are smaller, yet significant, stories found within the main story, but the book as a whole is never overwhelming or simply Too Much. I, for one, appreciated the complexity and sense of development that this multi faceted element created. I was pleasantly surprised at how much emotion and heart is in this book. Underneath all the supernatural and paranormal aspects, lies a lot of character driven emotion. This book isn’t just about death or killing ghosts, it’s also about moving on, living, friendship, family, and love.Both Cas and Anna’s separate and intertwining stories took my breath away. I loved the storyline and the way the overall story unfolds. Blake throws in a few gasp-worthy twists and shockers that had me “OMGing” and “Oh, no she didn’t? Oh, yes she did!”. There’s a wonderfully evil baddie and an awesome confrontation with him. The ending is explosive and brutal, yet hopeful and it definitely left me open mouthed and wanting more.I have to mention two personal things that I love about this book. First, the gorgeous cover! This is a cover that will have people picking it up off shelves and buying it without even having any clue what it’s about. It says so much about the story and fits the book so well! Second, I love how much this book reminds me of the tv show Supernatural! Ghost hunting, Wendigo’s, the name Cas?! *squee* My fellow Supernatural fans will know what I mean : ) CHARACTERSBlake has created incredibly compelling, engaging, and well developed characters. Characters that I really liked as individuals, but loved as a dynamic, interactive group. Cas has all the charms of a confident guy who knows what he wants and knows what he’s doing. Yet, underneath all that bravado, is a lonely 17 year old boy who misses his dad, feels the need to prove his abilities, and who constantly doubts himself. He’s smart, yet reckless; tough, yet soft; distant, yet yearning for a connection. I love the complexities of his character, but appreciate his relatability. Anna is unlike any character I’ve ever come across! She is light and dark, strong and tender, feared and fearful. I was completely fascinated with and terrified of this lovely ghost girl. She could make me laugh with a witty remark, break my heart with her honesty, and with just a single described look I found myself coming undone by her right along side Cas. Cas’ new friends, Thomas and Carmel, add a nice sense of realism and normalcy to the story. It’s hard to resist Thomas’ awkward charm. I was surprised by how much I ended up really liking the beautiful, popular Carmel. She turned out to be such a cool girl. *ROMANCEFrom the very first scene between Cas and Anna, a fiery, intense spark exist between them. Even when they are quite literally at each other’s throats, you can feel the chemistry and longing within them. This is a complicated and twisted romance, which of course makes it completely captivating. But as dark as this romance is, there’s also something incredibly pure and sweet about it.Thomas’ crush on Carmel and her slow, realization of him, adds a bit of fun and cuteness to the romantic aspects of this book. MY FINAL THOUGHTS: Kendare Blake has Wowed and Wooed me with Anna Dressed in Blood. This is a book that will captivate and thrill you, leave you feeling gutted, and have you saying Thank You for the beautiful ache. This book is a MUST read and I absolutely LOVE it!

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