Friday, December 9, 2011

Bloody Brilliant

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

* Finished copy that I received from Tor|Forge Books for review

5 out of 5 gnomes

This book is so unexpected and full of awesomeness.  I knew I had to read this book after my first glimpse of its striking cover.  Also adding to the coolness factor is that the book was printed with crimson ink instead of the normal black.

Theseus Cassio aka Cas is not an ordinary teenager and not just because he has a weird name.  He hunts ghosts and effectively kills them again.  These aren't your placid Casper type of ghosts either, these are more of the stabby/lethal kind of ghosts.  In choosing to hunt down ghosts he's following in the footsteps of his father who was killed by a ghost.  He uses an athame/fancy knife that has been passed down through the family because it gives him a weapon to rid the world of menacing ghosts.  He feels like the knife is a part of him and without it he feels pretty powerless.

I like that he's not alone in his endeavors and that his mom knows most of what's going on (he leaves out some of the gorier parts when he tells her what happens sometimes.)  She believes in him but is also justifiably scared because she doesn't want to loose him too.  She's also a practicing witch which does make life even more interesting.  His mom also tries to make him see that normal life is nice too and that Cas really has to think about more then hunting ghosts.

The supernatural goodness really starts when the next ghost that Cas plans to get rid of is Anna Dressed in Blood.  Her story seems to capture his imagination and he can't stop thinking about her.  There first meeting is unexpected and shows just what Anna can do.

Anna is one heck of a great character.  She's very very very creepy yes, but it's much more complicated then that.  Finding out why everything is so complicated makes for a definite must read book.  Let's just say if I may paraphrase a line from The Little Mermaid Disney movie, that Anna is a poor unfortunate soul.

The relationships in this book also pleasantly surprised me.  At first you might think that there's going to be a love triangle but there isn't.  It ends up going in a much more interesting direction.  Cas grows a lot as a person in large part due to the connections he makes in this town.  He might just be growing close enough to these people and actually wanting to stick around.

The twists and turns of this book are really intense.  It's always nice to be surprised by what you're reading and this book really exceeded my expectations.  Just when you think you know what's going on or how the story is going to go, WAM some guy goes and gets ripped in half.

There is a sense of foreboding throughout the novel and you may think that you know what twist is coming next, but my bet is that you'll be surprised.  Then there's the ending, wow, I can't wait to see what happens next.

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