Tuesday 27 November 2012

A Review for Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1) & Girl of Nightmares (Anna #2) by Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna, #1)
Posted by Donna
Release Date: August 30th, 2011
Finished Date:  November 23rd, 2012
Publishers: Tor Teen
Source: Gifted (Thank you Haley @ ya-aholic
Format: Hardback 
Pages: 316
Buy : Amazon UK / Amazon US / The Book Depo 

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.

The Review: “She's my purpose and we're going to save each other. We're going to save everyone. And then I'm going to convince her that she's supposed to stay here. With me.” 

For the past year all I’ve heard about is Anna Dressed in Blood and while I’ve always been intuited to read it, I’ve never really had the motivation to do so, well that is until book two – Girl of Nightmares landed on my door step from Tor Teen to review. So yes, there’s the kick up the butt to read it. 

I’ve probably said this before but I’ll say it again, ghost stories for me have always been a little…..bland, I believe there’s only so much an author can take a ghost story – other than Tara Hudson’s Hereafter but still, they just  don’t really appeal to me. And while I think Anna Dressed in Blood is definitely unique and frankly, quite spooky and somewhat scary – but there’s just something about it that stops me enjoying it fully. Maybe it’s because I’m not confident there will be a happy ever after but I’m honestly not sure. 

Anyway, what I did enjoy about this story was Cas. It’s not often that I read a book from a male prospective and Cas was a fantastic lead. He delivers in every possible way and I think this is why I stuck this book out because I do have a habit of giving up on books to easily. He was fun, dangerous, sensitive, determined, hot – everything I like from a male lead. I really enjoyed getting in his head and I loved how even he was unaware of his feelings for Anna until the last minute. It was great discovering his new found feelings he had for her. And then we have Anna, sweet, dangerous Anna. Who wouldn’t be scared of her? I bloody well would be if I came across from her but what happened to her was unbelievably horrible and I felt for her. I’m glad that Cas could connect with her.

Overall, I enjoyed Anna Dressed in Blood. Maybe not as much as I would have liked but still it was enjoyable. 
Girl of Nightmares (Anna, #2)
Posted by Donna
Release Date: August 7th, 2012
Finished Date:  November 24th, 2012
Publishers: Tor Teen
Source: For Review
Format: Hardback 
Pages: 332

It's been months since the ghost of Anna Korlov opened a door to Hell in her basement and disappeared into it, but ghost-hunter Cas Lowood can't move on. 

His friends remind him that Anna sacrificed herself so that Cas could live—not walk around half dead. He knows they're right, but in Cas's eyes, no living girl he meets can compare to the dead girl he fell in love with.

Now he's seeing Anna everywhere: sometimes when he's asleep and sometimes in waking nightmares. But something is very wrong...these aren't just daydreams. Anna seems tortured, torn apart in new and ever more gruesome ways every time she appears.

Cas doesn't know what happened to Anna when she disappeared into Hell, but he knows she doesn't deserve whatever is happening to her now. Anna saved Cas more than once, and it's time for him to return the favor.

The Review: “She crossed over death to call me. I crossed through Hell to find her.” 

After the ending in Anna Dressed in Blood, I ended up picked Girl of Nightmares - which the second and final book the Anna series pretty much straight away. Even though I’m still not sold on ghost stories, I needed to find out how this series would end. 

We’re back with Cas, Carmel and Thomas and once again, I loved them. I think they make a fantastic team, they bounce off one another and their group is full of banter and jokes but it’s a group that can also lean on each other in times of need. Just like Cas leans on Carmel and Thomas when he finds out that Anna isn’t at peace, like he hoped she would be after scarifying herself to save him. So what does Cas do? He decides to open the gates to hell to save Anna as much as he can for someone who’s dead. Scary work! 

I enjoyed the storyline as much as I enjoyed the first book, however I missed Anna because, well she’s locked in hell and she doesn’t feature in the book as much as I would have liked. But when Anna is present, well she doesn't disappoint. Anna and Cas's scenes are great as usual and I felt they really grew - their love stronger than ever. I have to admit, I didn't realise this was only a two part series - which is surprising because nowadays most are trilogies, however it was very refreshing to have everything all wrapped up into two books and I would love to see more like this. 

Now the ending...I'm almost disappointed but I guess you could say the ending was realistic - as much realistic as a ghost story could be. I guess you have to make your own mind up about the ending but I honestly wanted more. But still, I'm glad I picked up this series and I'd definitely recommend it for your ghost fans. 

Thank you to Tor Teen for giving me the opportunity to review this book. 


♥Rachel♥ said...

Donna, I feel exactly the way you do about ghost romance stories. I'm always nervous about the ending because really, how can it end well? I really enjoyed Anna Dressed in Blood but Girl of Nightmares didn't live up to the first one, IMO. Cas was not his usual fun, snarky self. Great reviews Donna. :)

Erin W. said...

I LOVVVVEEEEEDDDDD the first book so, so much. It remains one of my favourite books from last year! Though, like you, I was pretty disappointed with how things ended in its sequel. It was realistic in some sense but I still found it pretty disappointing. Anyway great reviews! I'm looking forward to reading more from this author.

Sam @ Realm of Fiction said...

I loved the first book at lot, but haven't yet picked up the sequel. I think I can guess how it ends, but I hope it won't disappoint too much. Brilliant reviews, Donna!

Emma Gray said...

I have just bought Anna Dressed in Blood, and I really can't wait to read it! It will be very soon, hopefully! In one sense I agree with you about Ghost Stories, but I haven't really read a good deal of them to actually have my own opinion over them. If you know what I mean. I can't wait to see how I will review this one. :-) Brilliant Review Donna! :-)

mayceegreene said...

I'm very excited to read this one too. I love ghost stories and loved the first book!
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