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Anna Dressed in Blood - Kendare Blake I was too busy thinking about the dead, and about one dead girl in particular, wearing a beautiful dress, stained red with her own blood.Anna Dressed in Blood is an intriguing, sinister and tragic ghost story that will keep you awake at night—not just from the descriptive visuals but the eagerness you’ll discover in yourself to finish it. This book has its flaws, but if you’re pulled in by its claws from the first page you’ll hardly notice anything wrong with the story at all. There are likeable characters—especially that of Cas and Anna—and is flavoured with pop culture humour. I’m interested to see where the sequel, Girl of Nightmares (July 2012 in the US; June 2013 in AUS/UK) takes me next… To hell I think!I may have lied in that opening paragraph to the ‘keeping you awake at night’ thing when discussing my feelings. I don’t get scared when reading books, so I guess for Anna Dressed in Blood whether I was scared or not wasn’t an influence for me liking or not liking the book. I did cringe at times however, but that was because I wasn’t expecting a certain character to be sliced in half and have his innards scattering the floor. I love gore; I think I’m going to move onto Adult Horror and see how I go… maybe I might change and return to YA a wimp. But Anna Dressed in Blood didn’t do much for me in that department, though the atmosphere and feeling of the book in general, I will admit, was creepy.…no one should get caught up this, and I can’t imagine ever being finished. There will always be more dead, and the dead will always kill.Cas was a fantastic protagonist. His bloodright is to kill ghosts; this was passed down to him for generations. He’d be moving from town to town, killing ghosts with no feelings whatsoever because it is his job—and to respect his father’s legacy. But throughout this book you could see that when he begins learning about the town’s ghost Anna and making friends along the way—even with Anna—his character changes. It was a great internal transformation to be an audience to. However, the thing that made me critical was the voice and Kendare Blake’s choice of words. Being a male myself I felt Cas’s voice to be unbelievable; in the beginning I’d forget I was reading about a boy. If you take the quote on the top of this post for example, how many boys—straight—do you know that would describe a dress as ‘beautiful’? At least I have reason for being critical. Oh, also Cas thought he was ‘handsome’ at one point… Definitely slip-ups in character caused by the writing.Who knew a ghost could be so human…ly nice. Anna Korlav is that ghost. At first she’s just another angry ghost tearing apart whoever steps inside her home, with oily black eyes and wearing a dress stained with the blood of many. When Cas comes by however, and feels something different about her that he hadn’t felt with the other ghosts he’s killed in the past, that’s when things start to change. The more we read about her—through Cas—the more we want to befriend her and empathise with her. She’s powerful. But then the broken, sad—the beautiful girl that was hiding beneath her facade emerges. You want to learn about her history and how she ended up like this. I only wished that there was more to it than what we were given in a few pages recount. I thought more of Anna’s life before the incident could have been showed, however much you discover about her.As for the book, the first half felt stronger than the second half. The introduction of a second ghost and another plot seemed like an easy option to end the book and have room for a sequel. And I know I’m not the only one that thinks this. To me, it felt like this path that Kendare took was decided on halfway through the writing because it just came out of no where with no real lead up. There was of course some hints here and there earlier on as to something else coming into play, but they were very minor and often felt useless at those moments because you were invested in what would happen involving Anna… and not really expecting anything else. So it really felt like two books with the latter half not doing much for me. The romance also seemed a bit too shoved him for the hell of it.So many of my blogging sisters absolutely love this book to shreds, like Anna to her victims, so I’m sure if you go in and enjoy the ride then you’ll enjoy it just as much as them, if not more. Girl of Nightmares is I believe the only planned sequel, so I’m interested to see how Kendare develops these characters even further and what will actually occur given what we’ve been enticed with in Anna Dressed in Blood.