Cas Lowood is no ordinary teenage boy. He doesn't care about sports or computers and he isn't interested in girls. He hunts ghosts.
His latest hunt takes him to Thunder Bay, Ontario, where a violent spirit known as Anna Dressed in Blood haunts the town, brutally murdering anyone who dares to stray into her home.
Everyone except Cas...
The sole reason I chose to read this book was the title. Anna Dressed in Blood has quite an old fashioned, Gothic ring to it that appealed to me. I wasn't disappointed with the novel.
I've read a number of YA supernatural romances over the last few years, which have become popular ever since the Twilight phenomenon exploded. This is one of the better ones I've come across.
Unusually for a YA supernatural romance, the central character is a teenage boy. Theseus Cassius Lowood is descended from a long line of ghost hunters, most recently his father, who died at the hands of a powerful and mysterious spirit in Baton Rouge a decade earlier. After his father's death, Cas inherited a wicked looking mystical knife known as an athame, which his father used to kill ghosts.
Cas would fit brilliantly into the TV show Supernatural; he's cut from the same cloth as the Winchester brothers and moves from town to town, job to job, the same way that they do, killing ghosts in a gung-ho, action packed style.
Everything changes for Cas when he moves to Thunder Bay and comes up against the town legend, a teenage girl who had her throat cut on the way to a high school dance in the 1950s. Ever since, she's literally been tearing her victims apart, her rage is so strong.
But Cas discovers another side to the spirit when she spares his life after he falls victim to a prank. As he discovers more about Anna's past, it becomes obvious that she was the victim of a horrific death, which casts her ghostly murders in a different light.
As such, the novel deals with the idea of good and evil in an accessible way. Anna has committed some horrendous crimes, but she was also the victim of one. Her actions can be explained, but that doesn't excuse her of them.
It seems that a recent trend in supernatural romances is for the male lead, or the love interest, to be a bad boy, with little to redeem him. I find it hard to believe in a romance when one of the characters is completely mean all the time. Here the characters are better drawn and easier to empathise with, which makes the book much more engaging.
The story is fast-moving and exciting, with plenty of brutal and bloody action. There are some genuinely chilling moments and the descriptions of the ghosts have a visceral quality.
I really enjoyed this book and will definitely keep an eye out for the sequel.