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.
My thoughts: I don’t usually go out of my way to read ghost stories. It’s probably because the descriptions of the books always have a girl being haunted by their dead boyfriend or friend. Sometimes those books are good but after reading a few I don’t feel like reading anymore. So thankfully the cover (which is awesome) made me want to read the description, which made me decide to give it a try.
It turns out that it was a good thing I did! There were no ex-boyfriends and no situations where they were trying to understand what the ghosts were feeling in order to send them to “a better place.” Cas, the main character doesn’t know where he sends the ghost he “kills,” and it really doesn’t matter (to him).
And for a good ghost story, that’s what I need. I need a scary story with ghost killers that (without being heartless) don’t care too much about the ghosts they “set free.” And although I don’t mind having some kind of romance in just about every book I read, I don’t want that to be the only point of a book. Anna Dressed in Blood had romance but what was driving the character to do what he was doing was about more than that. It was for his dad, and for their profession, which involved a job that only he could do.
Something else that made this book really good was that the main character was a guy. Cas has to be my favorite male narrator, and one of my favorite YA narrators period! Because as we all know, most YA books have a female narrator. And even the good books have female narrators who can be annoying at times. Like when they like a guy you have to read about how they feel about that guy for multiple pages per chapter. I’m all for love, but I don’t want to read on page 10 (RIGHT after you meet the person) that you can’t stop thinking about them, and you’re wondering why you can’t stop thinking about them, and WOW, you still can’t stop thinking about them. And then you have to read the SAME thing on pages 20, 30, and so on. With Cas, he might say that he doesn’t understand why he’s drawn to Anna, but he only says that like two times in the whole book. And with female narratives, everything is so descriptive. But unless the author is great at making a description of an item or setting sound intriguing, I don’t want a book to be that descriptive. Like why are you telling me that you’re going to make a sandwich and then describing how you put the makings of the sandwich together? Unless it serves a purpose in the story, I DON’T CARE. So when Cas makes a sandwich, that’s all he had to say, and then we all move on.
Aside from the great narration, the book is actually scary. I don’t get too frightened by books and movies anymore so it’s hard to make a statement like that, but the book did give me an uneasy feeling at times which was good enough for me. This plus the fact that Anna herself was so awesome even after something so tragic happened to her makes this a great book in general, and especially for Halloween. And thanks to the end, I’m waiting to know what happens with Anna, which should be revealed in Girl of Nightmares. Which by the way also has a gorgeous cover:
Additional note: I loved Cas’ friendship with Carmel and Thomas! They’re quirky and so drastically different from each other, but their friendship works out well.