(You have probably heard what the story is since this novel did its rounds on blogs ages ago, but in case you didn't...) This book follows Cas Lowood who, like his father before him, is a killer of the dead- ghost or otherwise. In addition to this he has to contend with being a teenager and trying to make a somewhat normal life for himself. When he and his mother come to the town of Thunder Bay, his usual method of killing the dead is disrupted by something he never expected.
I have to say I was highly wary about approaching this book. By the time it had my interest, the hype had been so built up and so great that I doubted it would live up to my expectations. I spent some time convincing myself that it wouldn't reach this hype because (a) it's not what I would consider my kind of book and (b) the hype was way, way too high.
Yet I do think this is a fantastic book and is truly gripping. Some of the elements of horror didn't really feel scary for me (and I'm really jumpy) so this may bug some people, but I don't think it is meant as a scary book. And anyway, it wasn't important. And the single thing that made this book so awe-inspiringly awesome was Anna herself. I think she is probably one of my favourite characters ever.
On one hand, she appeals to my urban fantasy side. I don't think I'm giving anything away by saying she is an insanely powerful individual, which I just loved when reading about it. So many romances seem to like making romance interesting or edgy by giving one of the participants a dark mysterious past, or by simply telling us how the protagonist feels threatened. Now, Blake does all this BUT she before doing us she shows us without a shadow of a doubt why exactly you don't mess with Anna and how she is the genuine article of bad-assery.
And then on the other hand, she's simply a great character. Her back-story is so, so sad and soul destroying that despite the horror surrounding her, you can sort of understand her. And then when the whole "Goddess of Death" thing starts to come into perspective, you can begin to understand her as the shy, adorable individual she is.
Don't get me wrong, Cas is great and the story about the Dad and how everything ties in is gripping and makes for great reading, but I doubt I would have loved this book as much if not for Anna. I actually thought the story itself was predictable and I guessed what would happen when the cat growls near the start.
One thing I thought might have perhaps been better if it had been looked at a bit more was the whole disjointedness of the romance. It was never going to be like Lia Habel's Dearly, Departed; but I do believe more should have been made of it. The limit of consideration was "This is weird, but it doesn't matter because love surpasses all."
So overall fantastic. You should read this just to see Anna in action.