This is one of those books that I had to read in chunks. It was due back at the library before I could finish it and I really hate keeping a book someone else has a hold on. They’re patiently waiting. It’s not their fault I couldn’t get my damn act together and read it in time. So, I marked my place on Goodreads and when it came back into my hands, I just picked up at the beginning of the chapter where I had left off. This might not have been my smartest move. I don’t really remember what happened in the first half of the book. But I’ve got a lot of stuff to read, and I figured it would come back to me. It didn’t. Not entirely. But I remembered enough to get to the end. That means my review is going to be a little spotty.
Let’s wander back to Anna Dressed in Blood for a moment. I picked up that book because I liked the title and the cover. The floaty hair won me over. Both of the covers are actually great. I’ll end up buying them because I love the way they look.
Then I read the book and was pretty pleased with what was inside. A YA horror novel that’s actually kind of creepy. The descriptions were good. The image of Anna and her house and all the crap that happens inside it – well done, Blake. A sequel seemed like a reasonable idea and I knew I was going to read it. It gets my nod of approval. It’s equally horrory.Suicide Forest – creepy. Other moments I can’t remember because of my previously mentioned not re-reading decision. Just a general sense of things being creeptastic.
Anna was sent into the afterlife in the last book. Cas and his mother have decided to settle in Thunder Bay until he finishes high school. Cas is trying to get on with his life, but now he’s haunted by Anna’s tortured, burning ghost. She’s trapped in some kind of hellish in between. Cas loves her – weird. He’s in love with a ghost. How does that work? I never really understood that. He did not know her when she was alive. But somehow, it’s believable enough. He doesn’t want her to suffer. And then there’s the big scary with the name I can’t pronounce. The way this guy is written in the final showdown is vivid and offputting. The extra joints. Blech. Puppets – they’re just so weird. Sometimes, I want things to be made into movies. This is one of those series. It’s so visual it deserves some screen time. And it’s got a set up that would easily allow for weekly episodes even after the Anna plot wraps itself up.
I really liked that Blake didn’t save Anna. She brought us right to the precipice and then veered the other way at the very last second. Anna was in the clear. Cas had her in his arms. He was heading back to safety. And then he let he go because it was the right thing for her. It was a good move. It was unexpected and genuine. Blake did the right thing for the story instead of the easy thing to continue the series. Will there be more books? Could be. They wouldn’t be about Anna, but neither were these books. Regardless of the titles, the stories are all about Cas. And now that we’ve met The Order and Jestine and Gideon and Thomas’s grandfather and his voodoo people, there are future stories opportunities out the ying yang. Seriously, this is good tv in the making. There’s a built in audience of people looking for something new since The Vampire Diaries shit the bed (I have no idea if that is actually true. I never got into that show, but it was mentioned by several other people in this past Tuesday’s TTT).
I haven’t really got a lot of bad things to say about this book. It’s not super exceptional, but it’s totally enjoyable. I liked the causal nature of the writing. Cas has an internal monologue. It’s usually pretty funny. I guess Carmel is probably the character I like the least, and even then I don’t really have too many problems with her. I recommended both books to a coworker whose ten-year-old daughter loves horror and has a hard time finding age appropriate stuff. I know this is a short review, but the wrap up is that it’s worth a read if you want something fun and creepy rolled up together. You have to read the books in order though. No skipping. Otherwise, they won’t make a lick of sense. Although, if you’ve read this far, the book’s been spoiled for you and you should have stopped before you started.