Character Appreciation Post: Anna Korlov from Anna Dressed in Blood
“… there she is, my goddess of death, her hair snaking out in a great black cloud, her teeth grinding hard enough to make living gums bleed.”
– Cas Lowood, Anna Dressed in Blood
A Song I Associate with Anna
Dig up her bones, but leave the soul alone
Let her find a way to a better place
Broken dreams and silent screams
Empty churches with soulless curses
Bones by MS MR
Why I Love Her
Admittedly, the main reason I wanted to read these books was because of the covers, and while I do love Cas and his misfit group of friends, Anna Korlov, a girl relegated to an unfortunate fate, is the real hero of the story for me.The thing that really stood out for in these books is that Blake kept Anna consistent in general character and in the ghostshipping (the romance) that’s presented in the book.
In so many books, once a male counterpart enters the story, the female character becomes a bit useless, especially in young adult books. Let me stop here for a moment to clarify “useless” in the sense that I mean. Anna has fears. She has desires, wants, and needs. She has feelings that run deep. She is not a shell of a person… er… ghost. I’m not saying that she shouldn’t be allowed these things and feelings. Quite the contrary.
A strong character for me doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be allowed their weaknesses or that they shouldn’t need someone to save them from time to time. I don’t mean that, sometimes, they don’t break when things overwhelm them. However, when a character loses complete sense of self and suddenly becomes nothing more than “that chick that needs saving by her oh-so-strong man all the time,” I get pissed. Vulnerability as well as strength should be shown. There needs to be a balance, and I think Blake did an excellent job with that. She also seemed to do a great job of having Anna and Cas complement each other.
In the story, Anna did not suddenly become a weepy girl ghost who needed Cas to protect her after he helps her reconcile her duality, which makes her a near unstoppable force. Anna already outpaces the average ghost with her strength and awareness (most vengeful ghosts in the story don’t realize they’re dead and are unaware that the world has changed at all). She becomes Cas’ protector in some ways. She doesn’t run in always saving him. She allows Cas to be the person that he is, and she doesn’t underestimate his abilities or formidability.
Cas gives her the same respect. But they both are there for the other to lend strength when needed. And there have been scenarios when they have both needed the other in extreme cases. Anna doesn’t ignore her feelings for Cas, but she tries not to mourn what she can’t have with Cas. It pains her and she quietly shows it, but she she is more willing than Cas to accept that a relationship between them is impossible. I really liked the dynamics between Cas and Anna, and I appreciate the love story didn’t eclipse the rest of the story.
Anna doesn’t excuse herself from what she’s done. She understands that she’s taken lives and she’s disgusted and saddened by it. Her living companions–Cas, Thomas, and Carmel–are much more sympathetic to her and her plight than Anna is to herself even though they’ve seen what her fury can do firsthand. She doesn’t know if she’s deserving of the kindness that she’s given. She doesn’t know if her final rest should be peaceful because of the horror she’s perpetrated over the years.
Anna is presented as a realist, and she’s pragmatic about her situation and the situations surrounding her. She won’t lie to herself or to any of the others just to dull an ache. She’s not some over-romanticized wisp of a ghost who spends time sighing about life and the living. She seemed more practical about what was going on than her living companions. And this doesn’t seem like something she only gained in death. In the brief glimpses of her life we are given, Anna was respectful and kind, but she would not be cowed.
She shows impossible courage along with the rest of the gang. Despite her fears, she stands her ground, even in one of her weakest moments, and she makes a sacrifice far greater because she knows she’s the only one who can despite the fact that she may be sending herself to some unknown fate. Anna has earned her place on my list of favorite fictional characters.