My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
It can be so hard to find good Young Adult novels, at least in my opinion. And yet Anna Dressed In Blood proved to me that they do exist, it just takes a bit of searching and stumbling through the less than stellar novels to find them. Initially I would have never picked up this novel, since I rarely touch Young Adult books, but I remember seeing a book blogger mention on twitter, and sadly I can’t remember who it was (sorry), that she was reading the book and had to stop at page fifteen or so because it was so scary. Now, that intrigued me so after doing a bit of hunting I found the book and gave it a shot.
Now, let me start by saying I’m fairly desensitized to scary things, I spent way too much of my childhood watching horror films that it takes a lot of frighten me. But that being said, I can appreciate when authors attempt and create scary scenes in their novels, just because they don’t scare me doesn’t mean I don’t recognize the scenes for what they are.
One of the big things that appealed to me with this book was that the main character was male. From my experience with Young Adult novels, and many novels from various genres for that matter, the lead character is almost always female. I understand that the large majority of readers, especially for the Young Adult genre, are female so it makes sense for them to have a lead character with the reader can relate to. But it was so refreshing to see a male lead, it instantly made the book more appealing. The second reason I liked the book is that the bulk of the story happens in the city of Thunder Bay, Ontario. Well I happen to live about four hours away from Thunder Bay and frequently visit there to go shopping, so having the book set in a place I’m familiar with made it all the more appealing.
Now there were some scenes in the novel, namely those that involved Cas killing various ghosts that may be disturbing to some readers, however the author certainly didn’t make them over the top scary as this is a Young Adult novel. Even so, I probably wouldn’t suggest it for those who are easiest freaked out by such things. Anna was another contributor of things scary in this book, not only from the first time she appears to several other instances along the way.
The story had a really nice flow to it and several parts that made me laugh as well. The characters were a mishmash of all types, which made for interesting interactions between them in the beginning but in the end they all worked out in their own way to better move along the story. Cas was a great lead character and all the supporting role characters meshed well together even when things weren’t going as well as they had hoped. Many of the reactions that they had were typical of those of that age group so it really felt like a well planned and researched book.
As the story progressed I was really interested to see why Anna had chose not to kill Cas in the beginning but also to see just what held her in the house. Let me tell you, the surprise of how she died and the curse that led her to being trapped in the house definitely surprised me, it was not at all what I expected. Another interesting twist to the story was in regards to Cas’ knife, the Athame, was another pleasant surprise and it gave the story another dimension beyond Cas simply trying to save Anna.
The ending definitely left me wanting more, to find out what would happen next, and luckily the next book was already out so I didn’t need to wait for the answers. Overall I really enjoyed this story, it had a nice flow to it that kept me wanting to read, the characters were well developed and each added their own piece to the story even if it didn’t feel like they would play any significant role at the beginning. There were enough twists in the story to keep me interested throughout, constantly wanting to know what would happen next. I would certainly recommend this book to those who enjoy Young Adult but also those who enjoy Paranormal and Romance novels as those two themes were present throughout the bulk of the story. I will definitely keep my eyes out for more books like this and also more from this author as she did a fantastic job with Anna Dressed In Blood.