I did a bonus post last summer that I wanted to turn into a semi-regular feature about reading a random novel that my sister was reading from the library, then promptly never did again, probably because I don’t actually live in the same house as her all that often, which made things difficult. The idea for this feature was that I would be going into my younger sister’s room and picking up whatever library book on her floor looks the stupidest, opening it to a random page, and seeing how long it takes me to figure out what’s going on – or give up.
Of course, there’s no guarantee that the book would actually be bad. But I absolutely couldn’t resist trying this when I saw Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed In Blood.
Let’s read the part of the jacket that’s on the inside cover that has a brief summary of the premise written and the technical name for which I can’t remember. I write a blog about books.
Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story
I’m sold. Let’s open it to somewhere in the middle! Why hello, Chapter Fourteen!
Okay, first things first, all the text in this book is in dark red. I shit you not.
Okay, time to actually start reading. Let’s see if we can figure out what’s going on out of context.
My mom lets me sleep through most of the day, and when she finally wakes me up it’s to tell me she’s brewed a bath of tea leaves, lavender, and belladonna. The belladonna is in there to temper my rash behavior, but I don’t refuse. I hurt all over. That’s what getting thrown around a house all night by the goddess of death will do to you.
Well, here’s what I got so far:
- There is a goddess of death and the main character has an antagonistic relationship with said goddess of death
- The main character was, until recently, sleeping
The main character (whose name and gender are still a mystery to those who just started reading on page 107 – come on, help us out a little bit, Blake) goes into the bath and tells the reader he’s outmatched in regards to some matter, which, if it’s the one concerning fighting with a goddess of death, would seem reasonable. So the main character calls a family friend.
“Thesus Cassio,” he says when he picks up. I smirk. He’ll never call me Cas.
Okay, we have a name, which is good, but I still have no idea what gender this person is, so… baby steps.
“Gideon Palmer,” I say back
Oh for fuck’s sake, Gideon? Why does every book I read for this blog seem to know what other books I’m reading for this blog? Maybe this Gideon won’t be as creepy as the other Gideon I have to read about in Bared To You. Supernatural young adult novel Gideon versus erotica Gideon. Seems like good odds.
Gideon is a classic English gent […] He’s the kind of man with a pocket watch and long shelves of meticulously dusted books
This is my new favorite character. Right here.
We learn that Cas’s dad died and Gideon was there to comfort him and his mother. Also that Cas has to start applying for colleges soon, but isn’t a particularly good student because of ghosthunting or something. I dunno, this sounds like less of a problem to me than it does a seriously unique personal statement. We also learn more about the mess Cas is in and that it involves a ghost named Anna (who is perhaps dressed in blood?) who is unusual for a ghost because she’s just haunting the house she was murdered in. I’m gonna have to take their word for it that this is unusual ghost behavior. Gideon tells Cas he needs to find “an occult supplier”, which apparently means “witch”, although I’m pretty focused on this “supplier” part and definitely thought of something else first.
Cas recounts a really depressing memory about how his dad died and going to the house he was murdered in and how he discovered some voodoo stuff there that even his mom and Gideon freaked out and stay away from. But then we move on to something considerably more interesting to me and other people not actually reading the book right now: young adult fiction.
“Hey, Carmel. What are you doing here?”
She reaches around and pulls something out of her schoolbag. “I brought your assignment from bio. It’s a partner’s assignment. I thought we could do it together.”
[…] “This was really cool of you,” I say, and I mean it, even though there is some other motive at work here. Carmel doesn’t give a crap about biology. I’d be surprised if she went to class herself. Carmel got the assignment because she wanted an excuse to talk to me.
I glance at my mom, and she’s giving me this creepy once-over.
Haha, even Cas’s mom is all “Yeah! Get some!”
But then Carmel starts talking to Cas about what happened at the house last night and come on just make out already, characters who may or may not have romantic tension! Another person they know drives by and guys we have a love triangle.
“What was Carmel doing at your place?” he asks. There’s more than just a little jealousy there.
Turns out this guy Thomas likes Carmel, but Carmel likes Cas, but Cas only likes her as a friend! Aw, jeez, guys! This is some tricky shit!
But they stop talking about the love triangle (it’s like they have no respect for my interests) and keep talking about Anna the ghost and supernatural stuff.
“Know any witches?”
He squints at me. “Isn’t your mom one?”
“Know any black witches?”
Wow, that looks bad out of context.
Cas goes to the library and Carmel is all “why is Thomas here?” and Thomas does some research and finds a newspaper article about Anna’s murder and, well, Cas falls in love with the photograph of her?
I carefully trace along her hair, which is held up with ribbon. There’s a warm feeling in my chest but my head is ice-cold. I think I might pass out.
Basically, Thomas likes Carmel, but Carmel likes Cas, but Cas likes a ghost girl that’s trying to kill him. I’m content with my understanding of this novel.