Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake

Posted August 16, 2017 by Amber in Reviews / 4 Comments

Anna Dressed in Blood

Anna Dressed in Blood

by Kendare Blake

Series: Anna #1
Publisher: Tor Teen on October 17, 2011
Genre: Fantasy, Ghost Story, Horror, Paranormal, Romance, Thriller
Target Age Group: Young Adult
Rating: ★★★

Check out this book on Goodreads

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered 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. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, 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, now stained red and dripping with 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.

Yet she spares Cas's life.


Cas Lockwood hunts and kills ghosts.

Note:  he is NOT a Ghostbuster, he just kills ghosts.  He has no friends and he and his mother travel the world to take out ghosts that are killing the living.  Cas is a lone ranger and that’s the way he likes it.  This ghost, though?  “Anna Dressed in Blood”?  She catches his attention, and her mystery leads to friends and to the trail in destroying the spirit that killed his father.


This book was not my favorite.  I’m going to try to give it as fair a review as I can.  It’s always really difficult to review books that I don’t like, but everyone else does.  Like I’m personally insulting these other people?  I’m not, I promise.  You may love you Anna and keep it with you… but I’m all set.


While we spend the most time with Cas Lockwood in this book, we also get to know Carmel, Thomas, Will, Cas’ mom, and a bunch of others.  And, of course, there’s Anna Karlov.

I had huge issues with the characters because I thought they were largely cliched and generally flat characters.  None of them really evolved as PEOPLE.  Even Cas, who acquires friends, just feels like he found people who liked him.  Anna has always been the same.  I don’t feel like anyone LEARNED anything here.  They did the thing, the thing is done, slight regret, life goes on.  They SAY things have changed, but it doesn’t FEEL like it.



Blake describes the world rather well, moving between the senses to try to illustrate the things that Cas is experiencing.  She does a particularly good job describing Anna’s house.  You get a pretty good sense of the atmosphere and the buildings.



As you will see in my “Personal Thoughts” section, I had issues with the story.  HOWEVER my issues are not necessarily fair to the book.

The beginning of the story is really good.  100% Supernatural vibes and I loved it.  The first couple hours of listening to this book, right down to the first confrontation with Anna, was SOLID.  However, Anna is not what this book is about.  Not entirely, anyway.  This is a deeper story about Cas – about avenging his father, and about falling in love.  That’s just fine for a story, and it makes it more of a paranormal romance in many places.  For that genre, it’s just fine.

Writing / Narration


Blake uses a lot of metaphors to describe things.  Her use of all five senses is great.  She hints a little bit at the twists that are upcoming and she constantly throws obstacles at Cas to make him prove himself.  Overall, her writing style is thorough and perfectly adequate.  My main complaint with the writing style is that she does a lot of explaining, but that my stylistic preference.

I did NOT like the narration of this book.  Cas was fine, but the voices of the other characters were a bit rough.  Not losing a heart for it, but something to know if you’re considering the audio.

Personal Thoughts

I did not like this book.

It had it’s moments.  The first chapter was great, and the descriptions of CRAZY GHOST ANNA were absolutely amazing.  I do want to give it some credit… I really was hooked at first.

Then, I got bored.  I liked Anna’s story well enough, but I didn’t like Thomas, or Will, and all that really seemed like a waste of time.  After Anna was dealt with, I was ready to be done with the book.  I didn’t want to DNF it, though, so I finished.  I think the relationship between Cas and his mum is totally off.  Gideon’s role could have been filled by another character.  I think that the romantic relationship here was ENTIRELY unnecessary.  Things were really predictable.  I cannot bring myself to care at all about what happened to Anna and Cas after the end of the book and I will not be picking up the second.


Ratings Breakdown

Setting: ★★★★★
Plot: ★★★
Characters: ★★★ 1/2
Writing: ★★★
Pacing: ★ 1/2
Narrator: ★★★★★
Personal Enjoyment: ★★


Have you read this book or anything by this author?  If so, did you enjoy it?  Tell me all about your experience in the comments!

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4 responses to “Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake

  1. Zoe

    YES. I completely agree. This was a unique book with a promising premise, but there was just something…missing from it? And, like you said, it definitely dragged a bit in the middle. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! <3

    • Thanks Zoe! It’s great to hear someone else feels a bit “meh” about it. I think I would have liked it better if it was two separate books – one about Anna and one about his father’s killer. But each to their own! 🙂

  2. This is one of my favorite books, so I’m sad to see that you didn’t really like it! I know that a lot of people had a huge problem with the audiobook narrator, and after listening to a bit of the audible sample, I kind of see why. I didn’t like his narration style.
    I understand what you mean about the characters and stuff. The book obviously isn’t for everyone. It’s kind of nice to read a review from someone who didn’t love the book, and to see it from that view point. Great review!!

    • Amber

      I know, I’m sorry! I wish I liked it, but I didn’t! 🙁 The characters in books are REALLY huge with me, and consistently you’ll find if I didn’t fall head-over-heels in love with one of them, I don’t enjoy the book or I get really bored. The more I review books from about 5-10 years ago that I’m behind on, the more I realize I differ from the popular tastes. I didn’t love Tiger Lily either, and I was REALLY excited for that one.

      *shrugs* Oh well! It’s nice to have variety, that’s for sure. 🙂