Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This story started out strong and finished only a little less than strong. This happens sometimes when I read a book that has me so hooked at the beginning. My complaints about the last third of the book are minor in most respects. They have mostly to do with me trying to impose my own ideas about how things should have gone. That's only because I got very invested in the story. I'd give this 4 1/2 stars if that was an option.
Spoilers may follow. I don't usually talk about details, but some are still fresh in my mind.
This is a ghost hunter story first and foremost. The romantic element put on top of that wasn't as strong. I think it could have been stronger if it had maintained an element of mystery and greater tragedy. Cas is a cool character and he carries the book. Anna had more potential, but to develop that would have taken the book in another direction. I really wanted there to be a great twist about why she was killing people for fifty years. I wanted something really clever that could have absolved her of all her crimes. I thought maybe the mother had killed and cursed the fiance later and somehow melded he and Anna together, that way he was the murderer and Anna wasn't responsible. Cas could have somehow separated them and then Anna would truly be free from her murderous past. I think dragging the dad's murderous ghost into the story could have been put off until a second book. I also wanted there to be a bigger twist there. Something about Cas' dad revealed toward the end that turned everything on its head.
Finally, there were a few small details that really pulled me out of the story. It started when Cas let Will take his asthme. Really? Cas lost a lot of cool points with me there. Then Anna got into a car and sat in the backseat. Again, Anna lost mystique for me there. I wanted her to pop in and out of existence wherever she wanted to be or something more ghost like. I didn't like that Cas passed out during the first fight with his father's killer. It took me, as the reader, out of the action. These are all minor things, but they are the little details that pulled at my connection with the story and characters.
It's so hard to keep the story fresh and building speed in the last third. I still recommend the book. It's one of the better ones I've read lately and has a lot going for it.
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