Book Reviews: Anna Dressed in Blood

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna, #1)Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sometimes a book will snag you with a title. Or a cover. Or a hook. This one managed all three.

The main character, Cas, is a bundle of badass held together with bandaids. He’s so tough. All the time. Too tough. I wish he’d been vulnerable a little more often. He veered into it sometimes, skirting the edge of human vulnerability, and then *zip* “I’m a badass and I’m better than all of you!” But I do love him, the inscrutable little love.

The villain…heroine? Villoine? I don’t know. Anna is amazing. Compelling and horrifying and amazing all at once. I can’t say much, but yes, she’s fascinating.

The supporting cast is staunch and steady. Thomas and Morfan are the most memorable, while Carmel and Will sort of shuffle to the back. I wish Cas’s mother had been more fleshed out.

I loved the storyline, how it began as a simple urban legend and spiraled into a fuller story. I think the plot twist at the end was a bit too unexpected and a little too rushed, but still. I really, really enjoyed this book. And I look forward to the sequel!

View all my reviews

Book Reviews: The Night Strangers

The Night StrangersThe Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Well. That was a book full of unexpected things! And I’m glad.

I picked up this book thinking it was going to be a fairly standard ghost story. It wasn’t. The plot fanned out in all different directions, which I enjoyed. Some plotlines were stronger than others; some seemed a bit muddled in places. And while there was a wealth of female characters, they seemed a bit too copyish of each other, while the male characters were all quite distinct. But the most important thing was that I couldn’t stop reading. I needed to find out what was going to happen, how things would resolve- if they would resolve. And I wasn’t disappointed. It was a really good read, one I’ll probably revisit for a long car trip when I need something to suck me in and keep me there for quite a while.

View all my reviews

Book Reviews: The Poison Eaters

The Poison Eaters: and Other StoriesThe Poison Eaters: and Other Stories by Holly Black

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh lordy. I read this one backstage during my last production, and thank goodness these were short stories, otherwise I might’ve missed a cue.

Each story is an effortlessly blazing little pass through a vastly different world, and I love that. I enjoyed all of them, but I have to say that my favorite one was “The Coat of Stars.” It began as such an average little story, and then turned into what could only be described as a classic fairy tale. I thought the most beautiful story in the collection.

“Going Ironside” and “The Land of Heart’s Desire” were a little lost on me- I felt like I needed to know more about Holly Black’s other stories to understand it. But I did enjoy the others, especially “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” and the titular story, because they made me think.

View all my reviews

Book Reviews: Tamsin

TamsinTamsin by Peter S. Beagle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh lordy. If I had read Tamsin as a wee lass of thirteen, I would have been completely obsessed with it. It has all the things that push my middle-schooler buttons: magic, obscure English lore, historical elements, a lovely ghost, and teenage whining.

The main character, Jenny, is uprooted from her home in New York to live in a ramshackle farm with her new blended family. She’s endearing right away- overemotional but bluntly honest. The plot takes a while to get going and there’s a heavy sprinkling of references to booze and drugs to make things Relevant for the Youth of Today, but once the narrative ends up in England, the magic takes hold.

I will most likely read this book again, on a rainy afternoon that lends itself nicely to magic. And I’ll probably hand it off to my own whiny preteen, fifteen or twenty years down the road, and hope that Jenny and her magic will catch her attention like it did mine.

View all my reviews