Author: Kendare Blake
Published: 30th August 2011
Publisher: Tor Teen
Series: Anna #1
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. 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: 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.
But she, for whatever reason, spares Cas's life. - From Goodreads
It has been about 12 hours since I finished reading this book and I am still thinking about it. This book was exactly what I needed to get me back into the habit of reading in my lunch hour and going to bed slightly early to give me more time to read before I turn off my light! It was the perfect balance of spooky, gruesome and fun which made it an amazing read and left me wanting more.
For some reason for the first couple of chapters I had difficulty picturing the main character as a boy. It may just be because I have read so many books recently with female leads and, let's face it, it is more common for the main character to be a female. Once I could wrap my head round Cas being a boy I thought he was a great character and possibly one of the better male leads I have read in a long time. He was smart but still sometimes had trouble piecing together problems, he is charming but without trying to get all of the girls for himself and he is brave but not stupid.
I love the way the other characters in this booked worked as well. Carmel, Will, Mike, Thomas, Cas's Mum and Anna are all well written characters who seemed to come to life in my mind, warts and all. They were all integral to the story, but did not overpower the story lines which is very focused on Cas and how he thinks through and rationalises his decisions.
There was only one thing that did not feel quite right to me. Without giving too much away, something important is taken during the story. Now if I know if someone took something like that from me then I would fight to get it back. I felt that the character had a relaxed attitude to getting it back. To me the actions did not feel to match the words which was a tiny bit frustrating.
So with that little annoyance out of the way I absolutely loved this book. It was just creepy enough and the writing was fluid with an exciting story that kept moving the whole time. Bring on the next book, I'm not sure I can wait until 2012!