Published: September 2011, Tor Teen
Part of a Series: #1
Read For a Challenge: 2011 Debut Author's Challenge**
Teaser: "Smashing. You'll be just like those four chaps in the movie. You know the one, with the over sized marshmallow."
In a sentence or so: Cas kills dangerous ghosts, and Anna is a very dangerous ghost who has been killing anyone who enters her former abode for the past sixty years, but when they meet something is different. Cas's world turns upside down the night he doesn't kill Anna Dressed in Blood.
*Rating: 9.5/10 (-.5 point for potentially pointless sequel)
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.
1. YA -- Fantasy/Paranormal, Horror (Free 1 point)
2.Consistency -- The mythology that built this world was encompassing, Anna was one bad B until she met Cas and is able to explore her new level of control growing and discovering along the same timeline as Cas's growth. (1 point)
3. Flesh -- The narration by Cas is amazing in this story, with his dark humor and inquisitive nature I can't think there could be a better character to lead the way through this story. Anna's snark collides with Cas's wit in a way that makes this story unforgettable. (1 point)
4. Flow --This was my most anticipated read this year and it definitely delivered. From beginning to end it was thrilling, enthralling, captivating. I was never bored with the pacing and I was satisfied at the end. (Even though this is growing into a series this volume was good enough to stand on its own.) (1 point)
5. Character Growth -- Cas grows to remember his father as a man; not an infallible being, and be truly grateful of the people that are in his present life. He has a great journey. (1 point)
6. A Point/ Purpose/ Journey -- This has all the elements of a great YA paranormal: supernatural beings and a strong set of mythologies; shocking appearances, dangers, and reveals; and all capped off with the classic coming of age -- finding self and first love. (1 point)
7. Witty Dialogue*** I was trapped by the first paragraph. Cas is witty, digging, in-your-face, and just everything I love in a narrator. (1 point)
8. Love -- The synopsis hints at the love story, and at first I was weary of a budding ghost-ghost killer star-crossed lover thing. I had no reason to worry. It turns out Anna and Cas are perfectly matched in maturity and personal development. Ms. Blake unfolds the relationship hesitantly and it paints a beautiful couple that fits the world she built. (1 point)
9. Evoke Realistic Images -- I got completely lost in this story. I wouldn't say the story is actually scary but it is creepy enough that when your in the middle of a scene you jump at any movement your peripheral vision catches. (1 point)
10. Writing/Story telling -- Right off the bat funny, witty, and strait-forward and darkness and gruesome murder -- no, for the killers. AND there are some great story drops, references to novels, myths, and movies.The kind of things that let you know the author is a bookish type and proud when you recognise the tales. (1 point)
Reread Worthy: Definitely, I loved it, but it was over so fast. It would be interesting to see if it stands the test of time.
Recommendation: Anyone who enjoys coming of age novels and isn't easily scared.
*Click Rating to see post about my 10 aspects of a great book.