Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story...
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.
The writing is amazing. The setting and the action are written in such detail that throughout the book the scenes kept playing out in my head as if I were watching a movie. The story is told through Theseus Cassio Lowood, better known as Cas. There are few books told from male points of view so if you're looking for a good one, this is the one to pick up. Cas is used to working alone when he hunts ghosts but now that he moves into this new town he gets his own little crew that never leaves his side. Thomas and Carmel are always there for him. Even though Carmel is just a normal girl facing these ghosts and at one point she actually says, "Come on. I'm the freaking Prom Queen. [...] What am I doing here? What use am I?", but she sticks it out. We all need more friends like these. We are all familiar with the missing parents syndrome that young adult books suffer from. Well, I am happy to say, this book is syndrome free! Yes, we have adults. Cas has his mother and Thomas has his grandfather and they actually help and are involved throughout the novel.
Moving on to Anna, she is terrifying. At one point Cas describes her as, "Bruce Lee, the Hulk, and Neo from The Matrix all rolled into one". She floats around her house in a white dress covered in dripping blood and completely black eyes. If that doesn't terrify you, I don't know what will. And to add to the scare factor she goes around tearing anyone that walks into her house from limb to limb. But on one night, she spares Cas' life and from then on he continues to seek her out. Cas and Anna's relationship is complicated to say the least. He's a ghost hunter and she's the ghost he came to town to hunt. I think Cas describes their relationship perfectly in this quote:
"We're not children, neither of us. We don't believe in fairy tales. And if we did, who would we be? Not Prince Charming and Sleeping Beauty. I slice murder victims' heads off and Anna stretches skin until it rips, she snaps bones like green branches into smaller and smaller pieces. We'd be the fricking dragon and the wicked fairy. I know that. But I still have to tell her. 'It isn't fair.'"Although the book is serious and creepy there were some funny moments to balance it out. Cas doesn't like to be called a ghostbuster, but that's essentially what he does...he hunts ghosts, so this happens, "Yes. Smashing. You'll be just like those four chaps in the movie. You know the one, with the oversized marshmallow". The humor and sarcasm continues to lighten some parts throughout the book.
I highly recommend this book if you want a book that is filled with action, humor and great characters. Plus the ending is heart wrenching and I need the second book now!
There were some really gory scenes that if this were a movie I would have been covering my eyes for. Other than that I didn't find it to be too scary. So if you don't mind a little gore in your books this should be your next read!