Saturday, June 5, 2010

YA review: Guardian of the Dead

In less than a day I had been harassed, enchanted, shouted at, cried on, and clawed. I’d been cold, scared, dirty, exhausted, hungry, and miserable. And up until now, I’d been mildly impressed with my ability to cope.

At her boarding school in New Zealand, Ellie Spencer is like any ordinary teen: she hangs out with her best friend, Kevin; obsesses over her crush on a mysterious boy; and her biggest worry is her paper deadline. Then everything changes: In the foggy woods near the school, something ancient and deadly is waiting.

Karen Healey introduces a savvy and spirited heroine with a strong, fresh voice. Full of deliciously creepy details, this adventure is a deftly crafted story of Māori mythology, romance, betrayal, and war.  (summary from Goodreads)
My thoughts...Guardian Of The Dead is a fast paced, edge of your seat YA thriller.  It is packed with suspense, folklore, and mythological creatures. 

The story, which takes place in New Zealand, begins with the heroine Ellie, attending boarding school.  She is a strong character with imperfections.  Ellie is not your typical drop dead ggorgeous, rail thin heroine.  She is a bit conscious of her weight, but she is very talented in the martial arts.  The other characters served their purpose in building the story, but they did not make a big impression on me. 

The plot moved at a steady pace.  The action is built around the Maori legends of New Zealand.  It was very interesting, but it seemed to be explained in large chunks and I got a bit confused at times.  The good thing is you do not have to completely understand the stories to keep up with the plot.  Enough information was presented for me to figure out who was good and evil.  I did not realize, until I finished the book, that there was a glossary in the back.  This would have been helpful in understanding the legends of the Maori.   This book did a great job of setting up for future installments.  The world is complex, imaginative, and a bit creepy.  Overall, I enjoyed Guardian Of The Dead and I will be watching for more from this author. 

For more information, visit Karen Healey at her website.   Guardian of the Dead released in April 2010, follow this link to purchase your copy from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.


Christina T said...

I just read this one too for an ARC tour.

I really liked Ellie's character and thought the Maori myths were interesting but I agree with you that the info was a little bit of overload sometimes. I didn't notice the glossary until I'd read the book either. Maybe it should have been in the front of the book.

Great review!

Becky said...

The mythology and background for this book really do sound interesting.

Juju at Tales of said...

O sounds good. I need to read this.

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