Series: Anna #1
Release Date: October 17, 2011
Publisher: Tor Teen
Purchase at: Amazon
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.
“I can’t imagine what it is to be dead; it’s a strange idea to me, having known so many ghosts. It’s still a mystery. I don’t quite understand why some people stay and others don’t. I wonder where those who leave have gone. I wonder if the ones that I kill go to the same place.”
Theseus Cassio Lowood, goes by the name of Cas and is a loner. He goes out of his way to not make attachments because why bother? He is leaving town as soon as he kills the ghost he is hunting for. Always out for the next ghost that needs to be put down. That has been his life since his Fathers death, the catalyst that has driven him hard to do better, be better, not end up the same way. He may not have friends but he does have people who know how to get in touch with him if they need his special skill set. It is one of these associates that lead Cas to Anna.
Everything is peachy for Cas until he enters Thunder Bay, the town where Anna Korlov was killed. At first he does his normal MO, start school, pick out the biggest chatterbox and befriend her with hopes of learning the local lore about the resident spooks. He wants to know about Anna from the local point of view, helps him to get an understanding of what will draw the ghost out.
Unfortunately for Cas, the local “it” girl, Carmel, has an Ex that is a real douche and wants to hurt Cas in a permanent way. Knowing that Cas likes “ghost stories,” Cas’s way of introducing the subject, the Ex and his buddies take Cas to Anna’s house…can you see this not going well?? Oh Cas, you are a dummy. Well Cas gets to meet Anna, after being bludgeoned by said douche bag, completely unprepared with no way to defend himself. Rock meet hard place, but things do take an unexpected turn.
“Anna is descending upon me, coming down the stairs without taking any strides. Her feet drag horribly along like she can’t use them at all. Dark, purplish veins cut through her pale white skin. Her hair is shadow-less black, and it moves through the air as though suspended in water, snaking out behind and drifting like reeds. It’s the only thing about her that looks alive.”
Anna is referred to as “Anna dressed in blood” because she wears a white dress that is wet and red with blood that drips on the ground. She is unlike any other ghost that Cas has dealt with before because she didn’t kill him, but the douche bag….well…she didn’t play nice. Hhmmm, isn’t that a quandary? Anna protected Cas, but why? That question is driving Cas nuts, so he decides to go over there and ask her himself, and this is where the situation gets out of hand for Cas because he is just so drawn to Anna. He finds himself wanting to protect her, to release her from her torment. In order to do this he must find her source of power, learn her story, and then kill her.
From the start of the book I was entranced with the story. I love how the author gives the ghosts mentioned a backstory, how you feel so sorry for what happened, but you want them killed any way because otherwise the ghost will continue to kill the living. Sigh, this is an amazing story. It is not scary as horror is obviously intended but well done. I would say that it has a creep factor and definitely, at points, a gag factor.
Anna’s death is tragic, well written and it also helps you to understand how she can be a horrible monster and a sweet innocent girl. This book is written from Cas’s point of view, so you are in his head listening to his inner monologue at times and that can be a turn off for some, but as the story develops you want to be with him every step of the way. This is a page tuner and you will finish it in one sitting. I definitely recommend this book. So good!