Atrociously bloody? CHECK
Scary as hell? YES,YES,YES!
Romantic? Strange, but true. You may not expect it to be present in a horror book but there’s romance in this one and it’s such a compelling one too. I never would’ve guessed horror could be so well matched with romance as well, but this author made it happen. Major fangirl feels with this book, so yeah be prepared haha. Reading this book is at own risk 😉
Mysterious.. Aside from the scary moments, there’s a really interesting story-line that had me hooked right from the start. It got me thinking… I wanted to solve the mystery around Anna but also the mystery around the murder of Cas’s father.
Delicious writing? YES,YES,YES!
That’s Anna dressed in blood in a nutshell for me. Want to know more about this ya horror book that got a solid 4-star rating from me? Read on for my extended non-spoiler review and find out why this is a perfect Halloween Read!
So, there are basically two story-lines present, one of them being in the background. The main storyline in which we get to know Cas who hunts down ghosts for a living and kills them – okay, so basically ghosts are already dead lol, but they can be sent to wherever they go indefinitely by ‘killing’ them in their ghost form with a special weapon. The ghosts he has to kill are the ones that choose to ‘go bad’ after their death; killing people and haunting them and such. And doing what he does, gets him in Anna’s path…
Then there’s also the story of Cas and his past in which his father was murdered by a ghost. This is something Cas is dealing with ever since, in the background because he wants to find out who’s responsible for his father’s murder, so he can have his revenge. This is being mentioned and dealt with throughout the storyline in the background but it’s just as enthralling to read about as the main storyline. It’s a mystery you want to solve right alongside Cas.
“If people knew what I was up to, they’d probably try to stop me. The idiots would take Casper’s side, and then I’d have to kill Casper and them after Casper bit their throats out. I’m no superhero.”
The horror elements in this book are so extremely well written and gave me goosebumps all over the place while reading it. Poltergeist has nothing on this book I tell you, damn! Anna is so f*cking scary! And still… Still, the author knows to write her in such a way that you’re terrified of her but also develop a lot more feelings for this character, that doesn’t only consist of terrorized feels haha. When you get to know Anna there are several moments I just wanted to put the book down and check out the entire house to see if there isn’t a ghost present, waiting to crawl out of a corner – yep, this book had me freaked out a lot buwhaha – to provide you with a horrible death so you can end up in Anna’s basement as well, alongside her other victims.
But well, people are curious by nature so of course, I couldn’t stop reading hihi. Just like Cas, you get fascinated by Anna and you want to find something good in her.. Something good in this f*cked up and scary mess that’s Anna Dressed in Blood.
Anna goes through such a tremendous change in this book and I can’t go into details because of spoiler-sensitive things, but seriously.. Her character development is so fluently and well substantially written. And despite her not being able to shed everything about her scary personality, and there’ll be plenty of scary Anna moments throughout the entire book, you’ll definitely develop another mindset about this character, just like Cas does as well. Anna’s character is geniusly written from the beginning until the end and I came to LOVE her so much. Even when she’s at her scariest, she’s A-MA-ZING. The author graced us by writing this freaking awesome and terrifying character and did an amazing job on character development with Anna.
And Cas… Well, he’s just adorable! He’s bad-ass despite him not seeing that for himself. He just feels like he’s doing what needs to be done, that it’s his birthright, bla bla. He closes himself off from the outside world because of it though, which was sad I think. He constantly has to move around, so building friendships and such is really hard. And getting romantically involved with someone even harder because of the moving around all the time, so he doesn’t want to attach himself to anyone. But because of unfortunate circumstances during his current ‘kill-Anna-project’, he’ll find love and friendship at the most unexpected moments.
“I can feel that photo of Anna staring at me from sixty years ago, and I can’t help myself from wanting to protect her, wanting to save her from becoming what she already is.”
And because he doesn’t see for himself how amazing he is, it makes him even more attractive I think. He’s bad-ass in his own, unique way, he’s funny and has an incredibly soft spot that’s in need of friendship and love. He’s that character you wish the world to, that character you want to give the biggest hug to and never want to let go again – just safely tuck him inside your heart and hold him there forever.
The writing is just awesome. Like I said before, even in the scariest moments I still thought Anna was a-ma-zing and that’s mostly because of the amazing writing style. Everything is so vividly written like it really feels you’re in that scary house yourself while Anna Dressed in Blood is coming at you. Damn, my mind really didn’t have any trouble flashing those images through it while reading it and even after. It’s horror in different ways… It’s really atrociously bloody at one moment, but it’s just terrifying as well. My emotion range was so wide and I felt so much different emotions throughout this book. And because of the wide range of emotions, I got really surprised a lot while reading this book.
And I really love the referrals to well-known characters from movies/tv series and such. I always love it when authors do this. When you’re familiar with these characters, it just ‘adds something’ more to your reading experience I think. Cas, for example, describes Anna in such a way at some point in the book, while he’s being be beaten by Anna and it brought a big smile to my face. I just love ‘running into’ these kind of things.
“She’s like Bruce Lee, the Hulk and
Neo from The Matrix all rolled in to one.”
It says a lot about the amazing writing of this author when you just look at all the different elements in this book and it all being in balance with each other. It contains horror, but it’s also romantic and funny. Beforehand, I wouldn’t have thought it possible to successfully combine these elements, but it can be done. It’s not like you’re constantly reading with terror… No, you just experience a lot of different things and it was such a joy to read. One moment, you’re trembling with fear or you’re shocked because of the atrocious things happening ‘before your eyes’ and the next you’re screaming your lungs out and your fangirl heart is exploding inside your chest. It’s all possible in Anna Dressed in Blood! You’ll never know what’s coming your way and that’s partly what made this book such an awesome read for me.
Nope, I WASN’T ready for that ending, I really wasn’t! I’ve grown some major crushes and fangirl feels and then BOOM! My whole fangirl world collapsed and I WAS NOT PREPARED *sobs uncontrollably*. So yeah, aside from the horror/scary moments, this book was definitely emotional as well. The moment I got to relive Anna’s past and got to see everything I was waiting for; the moment of her death for example… Yeah, that was really emotional and intense and I felt everything right alongside the characters. You want to solve the mystery, but then it’s even more gruesome than you could’ve imagined. And then that Major plot twist I didn’t see coming, which left me shocked *good luck with that one… Grins like the Cheshire cat* So yeah, the plot is great. It’ll tear your heart out though, but it was really well done!
The reason why I gave the book a 4-star rating instead of a 5 star is mostly because of some things happening around Tybalt towards the end. The next bit I’ll blur because it’s a spoiler. So don’t click on it, unless you don’t mind getting spoiled.
And despite the fact that it was Ffffing emotional, reading about Anna’s last living memories – the moment you finally get to read about what truly happened to her and who murdered her -, to me it felt like the killer’s motive wasn’t really solid. Ugh, I suck at explaining things, lol. Sure, what happened to Anna shouldn’t have happened, something like that should NEVER happen to anyone, ever ever… So really; there’s no motive at all that could be good enough I guess. But the background/depth of this particular character and his/her relation with Anna just felt a bit superficial to me. I would’ve liked it if it would’ve contained some more depth. To me, it’s still not 100% clear Why this character killed Anna and that’s a shame. I definitely would’ve liked some more insight into this character. But at the same time I know.. this is a Young adult book and it was already freaking awesome and scary and gruesome enough, so in hindsight, it’s probably for the best, some things remained superficial.
So, that’s basically why I couldn’t give the book a 5-star rating, but it definitely got a solid 4-star rating because overall this book is just really really awesome. I enjoyed it so much and it left me aching for MORE. At the time of writing this review the first time around – Oct ’16 I didn’t have the second book yet. I got the book from my Secret Santa last year and I was planning on reading it this month. I’m sooo excited to read on where this first book left off, because the end of this book left me flabbergasted.
In search for a great YA horror? THIS.IS.THE.BOOK.YOU.NEED!