Monday, April 16, 2012

Anna Dressed in Blood Review

Date Published: August 30, 2011
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Number of Pages: 316
Publisher: Tor Teen
First Thoughts:
This was a book I've been back and forth on if I really wanted to read it (I'm not a big fan for ghost stories) but with some encouragement from my friend I dived right into it and man was I captured from the very first page. The concept itself was new to me, it seemed more creative than the ghost stories I'm used to and a little more gruesome. This was a book where love met death; evil vs. evil, a brilliant and fun read, one that will keep you reading late up into the night.
The plot was really well constructed, there weren't too many sub-plots but the ultimate conflict was brilliant and unique, though by no means was this story completely resolved but for book one of the series it really concluded in a way that I was satisfied but the not necessarily a cliffhanger but it's teetering on the edge. I found that this was a book that kept me entirely interested, there weren't any moments really that I wished for this book to be over, especially at the end; I wanted more, I became so in-tuned to the story that when it ended I was a bit saddened. As far as the romance went it was good but yet again it wasn't overpowering, it was subtle in its own way, it really was a beautiful blossom to watch bloom. The relationship was gradual and not rushed, I hate that in some books the romance is instant and us as the reader are expected to know that's how romance works; like you'll instantly know you’re in love...from experience it doesn't exist, a relationship takes time and this author chose to be more realistic in this aspect of the book. As for the pace of the book it wasn't always fast but there weren't any slow moments either, it was pretty much steady throughout with a few faster moments. I really did like the concept the author had about ghosts and the boundaries she set for them, it was creative and interesting, it gave me another perspective in this aspect of the paranormal world.
I loved most of the characters, there were some that I found a little weak, like I expected the author to do a little more with them. But the characters that I did love were created with precision and care. I liked that each character had a distinct personality and role to play in this much larger picture, there weren't really any un-necessary characters, each one fit into the story at just the right time. Also I felt that though we weren't always privileged to get a more microscopic view of each of the main character's mind we were able to still connect with them. The author chose to approach each character differently; I found that she manipulated the characters themselves and their surroundings to give us a view into how they were feeling; like using nature itself to represent a certain emotion. As far as the minor characters went I liked them, some of them were weak, they needed a little more boost but they did their role just fine none the same. If there's one thing I look for in a character is its ability to draw me towards them, to force me to like them no matter their traits, personality etc...and well in this book there were a character or two that I wanted to hate, I wanted to pull away from but I just couldn't, they drew me in like a bee to honey. So overall the characters were well built and fit perfectly into this world.
Transformation of the Character:
Though this is only book one of the series I felt that one or two of the characters did some transforming, maybe not full out transformations but I could see that they grew up in this book some and came to realize that life isn't always what it seems and that they have to step up their A-game if they want to get through it. I liked the small transformations and can't wait to see even more transform and become a better them. I've always thought transformations were better when they were gradual, I think rushed transformations just don't have as big and deep of an impact as the gradual transformations but either way this book did good in this aspect.
My favorite thing about this book was the way the author described each scene and character, it was so creative and precise. One thing I learned from my creative writing class was that some of the best stories are the ones that aren't afraid to describe the things that disturb others. There were some pretty disturbing and gruesome scenes in this book, usually I shy away from these kinds of scenes but I was oddly drawn towards them and I think it was because of the author's writing, she just had a way with words when it came to describing each of these scenes. I didn't think there was too much of it either, it seemed that the more she described in detail the more entranced I became with this story...the more I begun to understand the characters and what was going on. There's power in attention to detail, just very few authors know how to wield it...this author did great in this and there will be some scenes that will forever be engrained on my mind...there's just some things you can never forget. So overall I loved the description and found it to be my favorite thing about the book.
The style was good; she seemed to know when to switch over to a new chapter and when to build up the suspense. I liked her style of writing. There is one thing I wished this author chose to do; multiple POV's. There are a lot of stories that are better left from just one perspective but I felt that this story could have opened up even more with the POV with one other character, whether it be Thomas, Anna or Carmel. Though I understand multiple POV's can reveal some information that needs to be covered up but in this case I think there is a way around it, there were just some moments where I could get into the perspective of one of the others, to see this problem through the eyes of another character...sometimes it's better to get more than one angle.
Quote of the Book:
"She squints at me like I'm an idiot. "Peaceful? After what I've done? Peace, in a house of torn-apart boys and disemboweled strangers?" She pulls my face very close to hers. Her black eyes are wide. "I can't let you kill me," she says, and then she shouts, shouts loud enough to make my eardrums throb as she's throwing me out through the front door, clear past the broken stairs and onto the overgrown gravel of the driveway. "I never wanted to be dead!""
Goodreads Summary:
Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story...
Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.
And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.
Last Thoughts:
I would recommend this to paranormal readers and anyone who enjoys a good ghost story with a new and fun twist to it. I wouldn't recommend this one who is sensitive to darker writing and some gruesome scenes, I wouldn't classify this as a horror but I would say that it can leave you a little creep out at times. I liked that it was able to invoke some chills in me, there are very few books that can get under my skin and this was one of them. Aside from a few minor issues I really enjoyed this series and will be waiting eagerly for the second book in the series "Girl of Nightmares".
My Rating:


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  2. I still have to read this one! You just reminded me to go put it on hold :) Thanks and great review! :)
    -Kimberly @ Turning The Pages

    1. LoL, this is definitely a fun and fast read. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!! And glad I helped remind you :) Happy Reading!!

  3. This book and Divergent were my two favorite YA books published in 2011. I was also reluctant to read it- I really wasn't in a paranormal mood then. But I kept seeing it over and over and most people loved it, so I broke down and read it. I can't wait for the sequel that's coming out this year.