Hardcover, 316 pagesPublished August 30th 2011 by Tor Teen
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.
I grew up reading R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike, so horror, in a mild sense, is where I got my reading start. I don’t read much of it anymore, but when several friends raved about this book, I knew it was one I had to check out.
I don’t read many books that have male main characters, but it was easy to imagine being a teenage boy (what does that say about my mental state?) with the way Blake wrote about Cas. He has had a unique up-bringing, in that his father, and now he kill ghosts. But can you kill something that is already dead? He struggles with this throughout the story. Especially once he meets Anna. Who has killed many people over the years. But for some (still unknown) reason she doesn’t have to kill him. So he holds conversations with her. He becomes obsessed with her. He (apparently) falls in love with her.
What?! I loved this book, gave it 5/5 even, but still can’t wrap my head around that. I have to take the whole love is unexplainable concept at face value in this one. Because honey, if you ever kill a bunch of people I will drop you so fast your head would spin. The only other thing I had a hard time grasping was the ghosts are corporeal. Anyone can touch them, see them. But only certain few can kill them. But honestly? I don’t care. The story was so good, and unique, and original, and all the other words that describe books I love.
I felt for these characters, their joy was mine, their sorrow had me in tears … and also a little creeped out since I stayed up until after midnight just to finish this book. Be warned, there is some blood and gore, but along with that are some heart-wrenching scenes that have you rooting for Anna and Cas, even though they are on opposite sides and their relationship should be impossible. It is easy for me to recommend this book. I have no doubt you will at least like it, if not love it.