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KB

The Ninja Reader

High-brow or downright pretentious, good PNR or sparkly vampires, I don't care about the premise so long as it entertains me.

Currently reading

Bullying: The Social Destruction of Self
Laura Martocci
Anna Dressed in Blood  - Kendare Blake Cover impressions: I liked it better when the dress was white. Also, what's with the CC quote? Seriously? An honest-to-goodness horror YA novel, and it's being blurbed as romantic? Great.Oddly enough, once I did read the book, the blurb made a lot more sense. Still don't like it that the marketers worked the romance angle, but it really couldn't be helped.This book seems to polarize people. Some say it's an amazing departure from regular YA thropes, what with the strange mix of gore and hilarious banter, and the characters who are more than amazing. Others claim it's the same fare, wrapped up in a better packaging. I think both sides have a point, but my overall impression of this book was an overall positive meh.Anna Dressed in Blood tells the story of Cas, a teenage ghost hunter, whose first, second and third priority is taking out the not-quite-gone. But things go awry when he goes after the ghost of Anna Korlov, or Anna Dressed in Blood - a young woman who was brutally murdered in the late 50's. Anna is, indeed, responsible for quite a few deaths, but Cas never expected to feel empathy for her, or question his duties as a ghost hunter.Now, first things first - I really loved most of the characters. Carmel, in fact, was a joy to read, if only because for once the blonde popular girl is also a badass among badasses. Anna was amazing, through and through. And, I loved how Blake stgrikes such a good balance between the comic and the horrific, and I never thought it weird I could laugh at one moment and then cringe at the next. It's just how the book rolls.Also, it's worth pointing out that one of the book's main criticisms - the relationship between Cas and Anna - wasn't a turn-off for me. Let me explain - early on, we can tell that Cas and Anna will be drawn together, in the instantaneous way only YA can deliver. It's there right from Cas' first thought of Anna, and Blake isn't too subtle about it. However, I think there's a good reason for that, and dismissing it as insta-love kind of takes away from the experience.Because here's the thing - Cas is a lonely guy. Anna is lonely too, but it's Cas' point of view we get throughout the book, and Cas is really in denial about how much he misses human interaction. He openly admits to feeling more empathy towards ghosts than towards humans, but he never had a real friend before coming to Thunder Bay, or was ever surprised by the spirits he hunts. It's not such a surprise, therefore, that he becomes infatuated with Anna.I kind of wish, however, that Cas was a little more self-aware, because for the other parts of the book, he comes off as a cocky douche. Not only is he condenscending towards his friends, he's also looking down his nose on his mother, and I really hated that. Luckily, he grows past these things, but it's still frustrating to read about.Another thing I didn't like was how the book didn't seem to have an overriding surface conflict - sure, goals change, but Cas never seemed to have a solid goal. Things just happened to him, and he pretty much reacted to it. I realize it's not much of a problem, but to me, it took away from the book's awesomeness.So, verdict: I think it's kind of worth the hype. Sure, it depends on personal preferences sometimes, but I think it makes for a pretty awesome read, and I'll definitely be picking up the sequel, if Amazon would hurry up and give me the Kindle edition!