Friday, September 30, 2011

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

“Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story …”

Theseus Cassio Lowood, aka Cas, is a ghost killer, just like his father before him. Since his father’s death when he was just seven years old, it has been just Cas and his kitchen witch mother, a practicing a Wiccan who reads tarot cards, does aura cleansing over the phone and sells occult supplies online. They move across the country to wherever there is a ghost that needs killing. Their latest move is to Thunder Bay, Ontario and a date with a ghost named Anna Dressed in Blood.

Anna Karlov, aka Anna Dressed in Blood, was brutally murdered in 1958. No one ever discovered who or why. Anna was sixteen at the time and on her way to a school dance. She was nearly decapitated and the white party dress she wore was soaked in blood. She haunts the boarding house her mother ran and rumor has it she has killed 27 known people but no bodies have ever been found.

Ghost killing since the age of fourteen, Cas and his mother go to Thunder Bay based on a tip from Rudy “the Daisy” Bristol, a Goth kid from New Orleans. Cas’ first order of business is to get the attention of his new high school’s Queen Bee, Carmel Jones. By lunch, Cas has Carmel wrapped around his finger and garnered the wrath of her newly former boyfriend, Mike Andover and his gang of cronies. Carmel is Cas’ social and informational pipeline to the background scuttlebutt and teenage gossip he needs in order to find out about Anna before going to do her in. What Cas doesn’t count on is being followed by Thomas Sabin on his way home. Turns out that Thomas is telepathic and knows why Cas is in town. Cas assumes Thomas tipped off Daisy about Anna and he isn’t happy to learn that he has been played.

Cas goes with Carmel to the End of the World party traditionally held the night of the first day of school. He hopes to get her alone to learn more about Anna. Before he can get too much information out of her, they are interrupted by Mike and his gang who begin teasing Cas about his mother. He soon turns their attention back to hearing Anna’s story. To Carmel’s dislike, the two join Mike and his friends on a car trip to Anna’s house. Cas is thrilled to learn where Anna resides but soon finds his life in peril. Knocked out by a jealous Mike, Cas awakes inside Anna’s house. Before he can regain his footing, Anna descends the staircase. She is everything Cas imagined she would be but finds he is unable to escape. Fortunately Anna passes him by to Mike’s misfortune. Watching through the window, Mike soon finds himself in Anna’s clutches and literally torn in half. Cas finds himself being dragged from the house.

Cas wakes up to find that Thomas rescued him and took him back to his grandfather’s antique store. There he meets Morfran Starling Sabin, Thomas’s grandfather and he realizes that he is the one who tipped Daisy off. Cas is a little angry but Morfran soon explains that something is changing with Anna. He too is in tune with the dead but doesn’t elaborate. Anna has become stronger and killing people who she normally wouldn’t be bothered with. Both agree that Anna needs to be stopped but not before Cas does damage control with those who witnessed Mike’s death and learn more about what Anna has evolved into.

The plan is to perform a spell to learn how Anna died and how to stop her. They decided that Thomas will be the witch and Cas, Carmel and Mike’s friend Will round out the remaining four for the spell to work. Can the spell be performed without Anna killing one of them? How did Anna die and who killed her? Why is she bound to the house? What happens when one of the four goes rogue? Who is still killing the townspeople if it’s no longer Anna? Will Cas discover how and what killed his father? And can Cas make a life for himself if he desires?

Join Cas as he goes on a life altering journey as he learns more about himself. Cas’ story will be continued in book 2, Girl of Nightmares.

This book is really quite unlike anything currently being published. The story was refreshing bit of air and I loved that the text was in a blood red color a la Maggie Stiefvater Wolves of Mercy Falls series.

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