Yet another one of those books that I wouldn't have read without the extra shove of a sequels challenge. Don't get me wrong, I loved Anna Dressed in Blood, and was excited for the sequel, but then I kept putting it off, and off, and off, until it was pushed to the back of my mind.
So it goes.
But anyway, I finally picked it up from my local library and... yeah, you can probably tell I'm stalling. So let me stall some more!
Six months after the events of the last book, Cas, Thomas, and Carmel are a ghost-hunting trio of sorts. But Cas can't stop thinking about Anna, worrying if she ever crossed over properly, and it turns out, she didn't. Cas realizes she's stuck somewhere in between, and makes it his mission to free her. And then things get worse.
I'm not necessarily being deliberately vague here. I remember quite a lot of the events of the book, but for some reason, they don't quite stick with me as they would, usually. There's sequences and revelations, but for all I cared, they could be anecdotes tied together by common characters and not a whole book. New characters and conflicts are introduced halfway through, and Anna doesn't even show up as a character in her own right until the last 20 pages. Damn!
What I mean is... this is a middle book. It's not supposed to be (or at least I don't think so,) but it feels like a middle book, or maybe a second and third book mashed together. There's some attempts to introduce character conflict, with Carmel becoming reluctant about the whole paranormal thing, which is an interesting and fairly reasonable development, but then we move on and a few chapters later, she's over it, or at least she's over the worst of it.
I mean... it's fine. It's not as frustrating as, say, that one part in "Angel Fire" where a character's potentially powerful motivation is waved off in the next three pages, but... it's still annoying, and it happens all the time. We get introduced to a new character, we get whiffs of conflict, but in the end, I didn't particularly feel tension because... well...
Everyone just gets along so nicely! There are barely any points where I felt like there'd be a betrayal and stuff because the characters don't come off as such. I really couldn't get into it.
That said, it was an entertaining read. Action is never running low, and there's enough creepy imagery there to tide me over the next few months. But as far as characters go... it could've been better. It really could.
Note: Image via BookLikes.