Finally, the behavior of cats has been explained! Check out Robert and Bryan’s take on Kendare Blake’s chilling and entertaining Anna Dressed in Blood.
Bryan’s quick summary:
Ghost killer Cas Lowood travels the country keeping the murderous dead at bay. When he arrives in a new town with his kitchen-witch mother and spirit-sniffing cat in tow, he expects nothing more than to track, hunt, and kill. When he tracks down a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, however, he finds a girl trapped in a curse and filled with rage. Anna has killed every person who dared step into her deserted house since the day of her violent murder in 1958.
Except for Cas. The ghost hunter doesn’t understand why he’s been spared, but with the help of some new friends, he’ll find a mystery unlike anything he’s faced before. If only he can survive the business that killed his father any many before him.
Anna Dressed in Blood is by Kendare Blake
So what did we think? (From a reader’s perspective)
1. (Bryan) Great twist on the traditional ghost tale. There were some things in here that really surprised me, from the popular girl who’s more than she seems to the way Cas and Anna are handled.
2. (Robert) This was fantastic—great ghost-killing scenes; stirred in with voodoo magic, teen adventures and nicely dark. Even the school jocks up in Thunder Bay play their part, and there some grisly death scenes. Not for the faint-hearted reader, but a perfect YA boy-meets-girl story … you know, the old “boy meets girl who turns out to be homicidal monster ghost story!”
3. (Robert) The scenes in the haunted house were perfect! Scary, well-described, tense but pacy, and some suitably horrible visions. A bit like a much darker, more adult version of The Screaming Staircase! Warning: plenty of F-bombs in here, and sexual references and descriptions, so for the older YA teen and above. Not for Nana, this one!
Footnote: Might be a movie produced by Stephanie Meyer … oooh! Please don’t make the ghosts sparkly.
What did we think from a writer’s perspective?
1. (Bryan) Anna is an awesome character, and the audiobook is really great with her slight European accent. Very interesting.
2. (Robert) . Cas makes mistakes, and starts out wildly confident, then rapidly finds himself in over his head. Some devices were a little trite – the all-knowing, handily-informed professor in the UK who had some answers. Almost deus-ex-machina … and then not. It was possible to believe, since Cas is a world-authority on dispatching ugly ghosts after all, and should be networked with the best.
3. (Bryan) A great example of a story that leaves a backend open for the future while it still closes up all the business in this one. It’s a tough balance, but it’s well struck here.
Bryan and Robert’s Famous Takeaways:
1. Macabre, yes it might be “just another ghostbusters” but the main characters are so good they carry the plot.
2. Change the conventions of the genre slightly to keep things interesting.
3. YA horror romance, with a smattering of voodoo wicca and some crazy tense scenes. Isn’t it what we all live for?
Prompt of the Week:
You’ve met the love of your love, but you soon come to realize this person is actually dead! How do you come to terms with your sweetheart’s condition? What will you do to make the relationship as normal as possible?