Author: Kendare Blake
Publisher: Tor Teen
Genre: YA, Paranormal, Horror
Release Date: October 17th 2011
Purchase: Amazon | TBD
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.
This book was creepy, dark and intensely fascinating. I'm not used to reading horror, just watching it, but this was just simply amazing! I can't tell you how many times I had to put the book down just because it creeped me out. I caught myself occasionally peering around the pages of my book thinking that something was there in the room with me, and since I read mainly at night in my room, it just added to the effect.
Theseus Cassio, or Cas to his friends, hunts ghosts. And he's not your typical ghost hunter. He doesn't go around trying to catch EVPs, take photos or try to talk with them. He literally hunts them, as in slaying ghosts. It's a family "business" so to speak. His father had the gift and now Cas does as well. After his latest kill he is drawn to Thunder Bay, Ontario for his newest gig, Anna Korlov. He soon finds out that she is not all that she appears to be. Soon he finds himself asking questions and going on a journey to get the questions answered.
The characters were simply amazing. However, at first, before I found out Cas was indeed a boy, I had thought he was a girl. Blake soon made it clear that he was, in fact, a boy, and cleared up any confusion. Cas is strong willed and very independent. He is on a journey to avenge his father's death and has been training himself for the moment he will encounter the demon that took his father's life. With any hero there has to be something that drives them to do what they do, and Blake delivers with Cas.
Anna is definitely hell on wheels. She is your classic ghost folklore, like the Woman in White, but instead of haunting highways, she is haunting her old home and killing whatever or whoever dares enter it. She has pretty much given up hope until she meets Cas, who, for some reason, she spares.
The rest of the characters were also great. Thomas and Carmel were just a great pair, and I can't wait to read the second book to see what enfolds for them.
I really enjoyed the take on this story. As I previously stated, this one had me on the edge of my seat and literally scared at points. I would highly recommend this book to anyone 15 and older due to use of the "F" word and some gruesome violence.