Blake, Kendare. Anna Dressed in Blood. 316 p. Tor. 2011. Hardcover $17.99. ISBN 9780765328656.
For whatever reason, I ignored the buzz about this book, even though there was a LOT of it. But once my library’s copy came across my desk, I found myself absolutely hooked from the first page. I love it when a book takes me by surprise like that!
The premise is awesome: a creepy Victorian house haunted by the wrathful spirit of a murdered teenage girl who kills anyone who enters the house... except our ghost-hunting main character, who’s there to put an end to her slaying spree? HELLO, SIGN ME UP.
And the book delivers on that awesome premise, making for a fast-paced, genuinely engaging read. Really, I have no idea why I didn’t pick it up sooner.
Anna Dressed in Blood reads like a really awesome episode of the TV show, Supernatural-- before the show got all convoluted with demons and angels, back when it was just monster-hunting, I mean. There’s lots of legends and lore, and the horror is pitch perfect in this book. There are some genuinely chilling scenes and really creepy, gruesome imagery-- things I’d cover my eyes to avoid watching on a screen, but don’t traumatize me in print. Scary, but fun!
It’s kind of unfortunate that this book has a girl on the cover and a girl’s name in the title, because it's not just for girls-- guys will totally dig it too. It’s got a gruff, street-smart male protagonist who delivers some truly great hilarious one-liners. It’s light on the romance and heavy on the action and suspense. It’s got gore. I know, I know-- the cover and title shouldn’t matter, guys should transcend stereotypes and read it anyway… but I can tell you from experience pitching books to teen guys, most of them are pretty self-conscious about reading a potential “girl” book. Alas! So it might take some convincing, but I would definitely recommend this title to girls and guys.
But speaking of the cover… BONUS! There’s a dead girl depicted, but unlike so many other dead girls on book covers, she’s clearly not a victim. She looks strong and imposing. Dead girl empowerment! It’s about time.
I enthusiastically recommend Anna Dressed in Blood to anyone looking for a slightly scary story to curl up with on a chilly Fall night.