Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
|Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Compelling paranormal story that bridges the gap between romance and horror, giving it a wide potential readership. Strong central characters and a satisfying villain complete the mix. Thumbs up for fans of the paranormal genre.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 320||Date: July 2012|
|External links: Author's website|
Cas Lowood is no ordinary high school boy. He lives a peripatetic existence, hunting malevolent ghosts and "killing" them with his father's knife. A tip-off from a trusted informant lets Cas know that Thunder Bay's Anna Dressed In Blood is no urban myth and so he and his white witch mother set off for the Canadian town. Something tells Cas that Anna is no ordinary ghost and he feels sure that once she is despatched - to wherever ghosts go - he will be ready at last to deal with the voodoo spirit that killed and ate his father...
... and Cas is right about Anna. Lost in sixty years of rage, she still wears the dress she wore on the day of her murder but now it's stained red as it drips with neverending blood. Cas knows he must destroy her but he feels a strange and immediate connection with this tragic spirit. And the more he finds out about her past, the more difficult destroying her will become.
I rather enjoyed this paranormal novel, and it's not my favourite type of book to read. It's slightly subversive, blending horror and romance, and the central characters are strong and well-rounded. They aren't stocks at all and they make unexpected pairings that you don't often see in what can be a very predictable genre. I particularly liked Carmel, the Thunder Bay high school sweetheart, who has unexpected depth, practicality and courage. I also liked the villain of the piece - and while I don't want to say too much about that for fear of spoiling, I will say the steady build-up was beautifully-paced and gave me quite a surprise.
The mythology was well thought-out and Blake keeps exposition to a minimum. And the Canadian lakes setting was wonderfully described - vivid and real.
I'd recommend Anna Dressed in Blood to all fans of paranormal novels. You get what it says on the tin but you don't get a template story in which you can predict the end right from page one. And I, for one, look forward to seeing what Cas Lowood does next.
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