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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Audiobook Review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

SERIES: Anna, Book #1
AUTHOR: Kendare Blake
NARRATOR: August Ross
PUBLICATION DATE: July 1, 2012 (first published August 30, 2011)
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook, 8 hrs and 43 mins
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy/Paranormal, Horror
ISBN: 9781620640333
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.


Anna Dressed in Blood is the literary version of the television show, Supernatural! It has won a few literary awards including: 2011 Cybils Award Nominee for Fantasy & Science Fiction (Young Adult), YALSA 2012 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers, and YALSA 2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults.

Theseus Cassio Lowood (“Cas”) is a 17 year-old ghost-hunter, and he comes from a long line of ghost-hunters. His father was recently killed by a ghost, and Cas feels that it is his place to carry on this unusual vocation. He receives tips from all over the world about malevolent ghosts, and he travels with his mom from place to place hunting them and sending them back to Hell with his athame, which is a special dagger that is made with the blood of his ancestors. His mom is a white witch, and she purifies his athame after each kill.

Cas gets a tip about a ghost named Anna Korlov, otherwise known as Anna Dressed in Blood, and he and his mom travel to Thunder Bay in Ontario, Canada. The urban legend is that Anna has been killing people for decades, tearing apart anyone who enters her house which stands vacant. In order that he can get “in the know” in Thunder Bay, Cas targets the most popular girl in school, Carmel Jones, and makes friends with her. Too bad for Cas that her boyfriend, Mike Andover, is the jealous type. Carmel invites Cas to a party with her friends, and he uses the opportunity to his advantage to find out more about the local hauntings. It turns out better than he expects when the group decides to take a trip out to Anna’s house. 

Mike and his sidekick, Chase Putnam, usher Cas up the front steps of the abandoned Victorian house. Mike whacks Cas over the head with a board, and he takes the unconscious Cas into the house and leaves him there. When Cas awakens, he becomes aware of a presence with him and is confused because he doesn’t understand how he came to be in the house! He sees who can only be Anna, in a white dress dripping with blood, and watches her as she pulls Mike through the window into the house and tears him limb from limb. While this chaos is going on, someone grabs Cas under his arms and drags him out of the house. His saviour is Thomas Sabin, the quiet boy from school who can read minds. Thomas didn’t come to Anna’s house with Carmel’s friends, so he must have sensed that something bad was going to happen.

Cas should feel driven to kill Anna, but he doesn’t feel threatened by her. Oddly enough, he feels that she does not pose any risk to him. He wants to learn how Anna was killed and why she is on a killing spree, and he will do whatever it takes to find those answers.

Kendare Blake is a new-to-me author, and I really enjoyed this book! I am a fan of ghostly stories and urban legends, and I was immediately drawn to the book. I had hoped that this book would be the kind of book that would make me afraid to turn the lights out at night, so I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t scarier. Nevertheless, it was still a good story.

This is my first narration by August Ross, and I have mixed feelings about him. I feel that his voice is actually perfectly suited for adolescent Cas, and he does a nice job conveying Cas’ smart-alecky attitude. However, his characterizations (especially the females) leave a lot to be desired. His voice for Thomas sounded off to me. Blake paints Thomas as a quiet and reserved boy who is a little nerdy, geeky, and extremely smart. I was expecting a higher-pitched meeker voice, not a low, breathy, oafish voice. Ross’s enunciation is crisp and clear, but I believe that his attention to it interferes with the flow of the story. The result is a narration that is slow, stilted, and choppy. I have never said this before, and I am cringing as I type it, but the narration actually left me feeling a bit discontented. I think this is one of those rare occasions where I would have preferred reading the book instead of listening to it.


4 stars!! It was really good! You should put it on your "To Be Read" list.

This book qualifies as: 
#64 for my 2012 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge   
#8 for my 2012 Young Adult Audiobook Challenge  
#24 for my 2012 Audio Book Challenge      
#20 for my 2012 The Dusty Bookshelf Challenge   
#4 for my Ghostly Reading Challenge 2012  
#24 for my 2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge 
#4 for my 2012 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge
#44 for my New Author Reading Challenge 2012
#22 for my Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2012
#26 for my 2012 Young Adult Reading Challenge    
#35 for my Speculative Fiction Challenge 2012   
#5 for my 2012 Serial Killers Reading Challenge  
#25 for my 1st in a Series Challenge 2012
#10 for my 2012 Award Winning Books Reading Challenge   
#7 for my 2012 Horror/Thriller Reading Challenge 
#1 for my Peril the First Challenge of R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril VII

View all my reviews


  1. I just read another R.I.P. review for this book and it does sound like a good one. Sorry the audio wasn't quite up to snuff. There are so many really good audio narrators out there and so it is always disappointing when you get one who has some faults. As I said in the other review, I love the cover for this one.

    1. Hi, Carl! Yes, I agree, the cover is fantastic! The audio was a disappointment, and it is hard to not let the narration skew my opinion of the book. This is definitely one instance where I would recommend the book over the audio.

  2. I read this for last year's RIP. The actual book is really cool because it's printed in a dried blood colored red ink on a natural off white stock. The sequel story is printed the same way. I've not got around to reading it yet tho. I see that your first thought was 'huh, Supernatural' cause that was my take on it also. But I enjoyed it enough to get the next book. :D

    1. I love Supernatural! I actually have the book in hardcover as well, and I regret that I listened to the audiobook instead of reading it.

      I enjoyed Girl of Nightmares as well, but not as much as Anna.

  3. I was not a fan of this narrator! I'll probably read book 2 rather than listen!

    PS. Don't forget to sign up for the 2013 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge!

    ♥ Melissa @ Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf

    1. Good plan, Melissa :) The audio was disappointing.


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