I’ll be honest, ghost stories are not my thing. Every once in a while, I’ll give one a try, and for the most part (major exception for Lost Boy, Lost Girl by Peter Straub, one of my favorites), they leave me wanting. Anna Dressed in Blood was the October pick for my book club, and is not a book I would normally choose to read.
And I didn’t love it.
I really don’t have much to say, so let me just hit a couple of quick points.
Here’s what I liked about it:
Like Buffy (the Vampire Slayer, of course), Cas, our protagonist, has little choice over the fact that he has been chosen to “kill” troubled ghosts. It’s in his blood, and he’s following in his father’s footsteps. Cas and his mom travel from town to town, taking care of spirits who are causing trouble and murdering the living. I liked the fact that Cas had pretty much accepted his destiny without a lot of whining and complaining, and that he stepped up to difficult situations, even when he knew he could potentially be killed in the line of work, like his father was.
Also like Buffy, Cas had a strong support group. His mother was a witch and his godfather was also familiar with the spiritual world. And when Cas and his mom moved to Thunder Bay, he met some new friends who were brave and bold. Like the Scoobies.
Here’s what I didn’t like about it:
Going in, I had no idea that this was the first book in a series. UGH. The ending really bummed me out, because it left so much unanswered, and I didn’t like it enough to read the new, follow-up volume.
I also didn’t care for the really specific references to pop culture that were constantly thrown into the story. I realize the author was going for a modern-day ghost story, but these references will really date the book a few years from now. They really annoyed me.
And I really hated the romance angle thrown into this story. I don’t think I’m spoiling much by telling you that Cas falls in love with his target ghost. Sure, I feel badly for her and what happened in her past to make her so evil. But. She is a murderous ghost. THERE IS NO NEED FOR ROMANCE HERE.
Lastly, don’t make fun of Buffy. Ever.