Kendare Blake’s Cas Lowood is your cliche angsty, mysterious teen male protagonist. He references Kerouac warmly, name-drops reading The Shining, move arounds a lot and isn’t keen having a large group of friends.
He’s your basic teen stereotype, except he secretly retires the violent dead. Picture Jughead from Riverdale, add a magical knife, and you’ve got Cas.
“Death is my world. Everything else, school and friends, they’re just things that get in the way of my next ghost.” I’ve never said this before. I’ve never allowed myself to think it for more than a second. I’ve kept myself focused, and in doing so have managed to not think too much about life either, about living, no matter how hard my mom pushed me to have fun, to go out, to apply to colleges.
We meet Cas as moves to a new town to continue retiring vengeful spirits. Here, he meets Anna, the ghost of a sixteen year old girl whose “throat was slit from ear to ear.” Although she has violently murdered anyone who stepped into her house, Cas begins humanizing her as he learns more about her past.
But hey, at least we’ll have this strange story to tell, love and death and blood and daddy-issues. And holy crap, I am a psychiatrist’s wet dream.
This novel is a huge hit in my classroom right now. We received three copies a month ago (s/o Donors Choose), and it hasn’t been unclaimed for more than a few class periods at a time.
Buy Anna Dressed in Blood here