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Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered 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. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, 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, now stained red and dripping with 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.
Yet she spares Cas’s life.
I’d had this book on my radar for a while, but couldn’t seem to find a copy of it. Then I happened to be at the library in the YA section the other day, and lo and behold, it was in a display of Halloween-worthy books. So I snagged it up. I started it the night I got it and finished it a couple of days later because I only had time to read late at night. This is the kind of ghost story that will keep you interested.
Kendare Blake has woven a tale that is unlike any other ghost story. First, you have Cas. He’s a ghost-hunter. Sort of. He doesn’t hunt ghosts like you see on TV. He isn’t just trying to figure out if a place is haunted. He’s trying to remove the ghosts. But only certain ghosts. Only those that are dangerous. Ghosts that are angry about being dead, have turned evil, and are trying to or succeeding in harming humans. He gets it from his father.
Cas’s mother is a Wiccan. She cleans Cas’s athame used to “kill” ghosts. She makes herbal remedies, herbal protection spells, and works with candle makers to make “spell candles”. She’s sweet, worried for her son, and one tough mother.
Cas’s father is dead. He lost his life while trying to “kill” a ghost. He’s the reason Cas is doing this – he wants revenge. Not much else is known about Cas’s father, other than the fact that he had a network of friends who could help him out, who now help Cas out.
Mike, Will, and Chase are the school jocks and local bully/jerk squad. They’re seriously obnoxious and quite rude. I’d say more but I’d spoil the book if I did.
Carmel is the sweet girl that everyone likes – including Cas. He quickly makes friends with her and she will play a very important part in the story. Trust me, you’ll like her as much as everyone else does.
Thomas and Morfran. Thomas is a classmate of Cas’s and becomes one of his best friends. Morfran is Thomas’s grandfather. They’re both integral parts of the story. They’re witches and that’s all you really need to know right now.
Now for our second main character – Anna herself. Anna is a beautiful sixteen year old girl, who happens to have been murdered in 1958. She’s not the nicest of ghosts and has a habit of killing anyone who comes into her house. Except for some reason, Cas. She lets him go. Now Cas has to figure out why she let him live – and how to stop her from killing. And just when he thinks he has it all figured out, including her tragic past, another wrench is thrown into the mix.
I loved the writing in this book. It wasn’t flowery or pretty and it flowed well. The book kept me wondering what was coming next and was pretty fast paced. I was enthralled from the beginning. It does start off a bit slow, but it’s not terribly slow.
This one is perfect for spooky Halloween reading! Grab your favorite thunderstorm sounds playlist if there isn’t a real one going on, grab your favorite hot drink, a blanket, and settle in. You’re going to love this one.
I gave it five out of five stars because I just couldn’t imagine this book not being a five star read when I was finished with it. Plus, there is a sequel. I’m waiting for it to become available at my library.