“I’m not a superhero,” I say. It’s an awful tag. It’s egotistical, and it doesn’t fit. I don’t parade around in spandex. I don’t do what I do and receive accolades and keys to cities. I work in the dark, killing what should have stayed dead. 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. If anything, I’m Rorschach from Watchmen. I’m Grendel. I’m the survivor in Silent Hill.
This city smells like smoke and things that rot in the summer. It’s more haunted than I thought it would be, an entire layer of activity just under the dirt: whispers behind peoples’ laughter, or movement that you shouldn’t see in the corner of your eye. Most of them are harmless-sad little cold spots or groans in the dark. Blurry patches of white that only show up in a Polaroid. I have no business with them.
But somewhere out there is one that matters. Somewhere out there is the one that I came for, on who is strong enough to squeeze the breath out of living throats.
I think of her again. Anna. Anna Dressed in Blood. I wonder what tricks she’ll try. I wonder if she’ll be clever. Will she float? Will she laugh or scream?
How will she try to kill me?
Welcome to week one in our October spooky read-and-review-athon! I decided to start with Anna Dressed in Blood for the very simple fact that I had to place holds on the other three books and Anna was already in my e-book collections, waiting to be devoured.
I. Loved. It. It was a great start to my month, and I finished it in under 24 hours. This isn’t a huge accomplishment since it’s under 300 pages long and since I was still suffering the ill effects of jet lag, I mostly laid around on my couch snoozing and reading. I also couldn’t choose just one favorite passage, so that’s why there are two different ones listed. Luckily, they seem to mesh well despite coming from completely different chapters.
I didn’t have super high hopes for this book. I didn’t necessarily have low expectations either, but I just delved in with zero idea of what I was about to read. I had downloaded to my google playbooks some time before merely based off of the cover art and the title and mentally added it to my TBR list without even reading the summary of what it was about. This did lead me to be pleasantly surprised by what I found.
Anna Dressed in Blood features Cas (Theseus Cassio) Lowood as the book’s protagonist. He, his kitchen-witch mother, and their spirit detecting cat, Tybalt, travel all over the world following legends and small town lore dispatching the murderous dead just like his father did before he was brutally murdered. Cas follows the legends of “Anna Dressed in Blood” to a small town in Canada where he expects more of the same: find, hunt, kill, move on. What he finds is a complicated mess of rage, curses, and violence wrapped up in the spirit of a 16 year old girl who was murdered in the 1950s. A girl who still wears the once white dress she was murdered in, now dripping in blood. Since her own brutal death, Anna has killed every single person who has ever dared to step foot into her abandoned home. Until Cas.
Now he finds himself trying to figure out her mysterious past to help her move on while also fighting another malevolent force that he has a long history with. With the help of local teens determined to befriend him despite his best attempts to remain a solo character, Cas will face the mystery surrounding his father’s murder and the mystery surrounding Anna’s even if it kills him…which it very well might.
All the layers in the book player and weaving themselves together made me really happy that I chose this book for one of my October reads. While not the creepiest book I’ve ever read and certainly not one that would keep me up at night, it did have enough twists, turns, gore, and spookiness to keep me turning each page, anticipating what was on the next one. It’s a fairly easy read, with great imagery. Cas as a main character is pretty relatable emotion wise and none of his actions seemed out of character for him, which was nice. I especially fell in love with their cat Tybalt, but I have a tendency to fall in love with the feline characters in books so that’s nothing new.
Age wise, I wouldn’t probably recommend this book for anyone under a high school reading level. Just because it didn’t spook me (I live on horror movies and spooky things) doesn’t mean it wouldn’t scare someone younger or more prone to nightmares. There are a few scenes that are pretty graphic (great imagery, which might be a negative for sensitive readers) and the language used in the book is also pretty realistic for language used by teens today.
Next week I plan on reviewing “Daughters unto Devils.” I’m picking it up at the library tomorrow and have a pretty clear rest of the week and weekend ahead of me to read!