Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
"I'm staring up at Anna's House again. The logical part of my brain tells me that it's just a house. That it's what's inside that makes it horrifying, that makes it dangerous, that it can't possibly be tilting toward me like it's hunting me through the overgrowth of weeds. It can't possibly be trying to jerk free of its foundation and swallow me whole. But that's what it looks like it's doing." (ch. 10)
So, first: the cover. When I first saw this cover reveal earlier this year, I was impressed and thoroughly spooked out. When I finally got it in my hot little hands, I was even happier with it. When I turned the last page of the book, all I could think was, I wish there was more blood. So book two? Please bring me more blood front and center. Thank you.
I loved this book. I loved this book to bits and pieces and shreds. I loved Anna; I loved Thunder Bay; I loved the improbable addition of Queen Bee Carmel to the ghostfighting squad. I loved the freshness of the writing, which was clear and honest, and filled with enough unexpected turns of phrase and thought that I burst out laughing repeatedly (in the best way). The violence and gore, too, was pitch perfect—not gratuitous, always interesting, always moving the story forward in the best, most gruesome, way.
And Cas. I adored Cas. That he rationalizes his interest in Anna as being kind of perfect, even if it is more than a bit wrong, is realistic (well, as far as ghosts go); that he can't think about how the relationship would play out after five or ten years is even more so. He was just mature and pragmatic enough to make the effects of his job seem real, while at the same time jussssst enough self-focused and shortsighted to be a believable teenager.
The story, too, was strong and well-paced, and ended up feeling like a very satisfying television miniseries rather than a fleshed out single episode. It was comfortable territory, coming in as a rabid fan of Supernatural, but the similarities served as a framework, a safety blanket, rather than as a reminder of a different mythology rehashed.
Also: can we talk about the deep maroon font? Bloody (pun intended) fantastic.
The sequel can't come soon enough. But, you know, with more blood.
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