Monday, November 12, 2012

Audiobook Review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

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Title: Anna Dressed in Blood
Author: Kendare Blake
Narrator: August Ross
Publisher: AudioGo
Duration: 8 hours, 43 minutes
Edition: Unabridged
Summary: (taken from Goodreads)
Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story... 
Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead. 
So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder 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: move, 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, but now stained red and dripping 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. 
And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.
Overall Rating: 3 out of 5

Anna Dressed in Blood is a fun ghost story about a guy who kills ghosts and a ghost who kills people. Strangely, they end up sort of liking each other. Cas is a ghost hunter, like his father before him. He is intent on gaining enough skill and expertise so that he can track down the ghost who killed his father and take revenge. He moves to a new town  with his mother, determined to find Anna and send her off to the afterlife. In the process, he makes friends, people get killed, and Cas realizes that Anna's situation isn't as straightforward as it seems -- and neither are the weird events that keep happening around him.

I haven't read a good ghost story in awhile, so I enjoyed this book. I like how Blake brings together ghost hunting and witch elements. She does this so well, that I kind of hope she brings more paranormal stuff into the sequel. There are also incredibly gory kill scenes that every good ghost story should have. The plot didn't drag, which I was really grateful for. Everything felt like it moved along fairly quickly and I wasn't bored for a second.

But there were definitely predictable moments. All of the side characters are worked from stereotypes and they don't have much complexity to them -- add that to the not-so-subtle clues that something weird is going with Cas, and it doesn't have to do with hunting for Anna, and you've got an ending that's pretty easy to figure out. With that said, I still think it's worth a read. I enjoyed the idea of the story and thought that Cas's background was interesting -- not to mention the whole cool ghost-hunting thing.

However, while the story is fun and enjoyable, I don't recommend the audiobook. The narration sounded very stilted to me -- it almost seemed as if words were taken from different clips and pieced together to form the story, because the expression and emphasis rarely matched what was going on in the story. Considering that this is also a first person narration, I expected a lot more energy and personality. I was frustrated by this and found it hard to connect with the characters and the story because of the narration. If you're going to read this at all, definitely go for print.

If you're into ghost stories, definitely pick this one up. It does have its gory moments, but it's an interesting look at ghost hunting and, while predictable, kept me interested the whole time. I can't wait to read the sequel!