Monday, January 30, 2012

Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey

Set in New Zealand, Ellie's main concerns at her boarding school are hanging out with her best friend Kevin, her crush on the mysterious Mark, and her paper deadline. That is, until a mysterious older woman seems to set her sights on Kevin, who is Maori, and has more than just romantic plans for him. In an effort to save him, Ellie is thrown into the world of Maori lore, and eventually finds herself in an all-out war with mist dwelling Maori fairy people called the patupaiarehe who need human lives to gain immortality.

I feel sorry for those who follow me on Twitter.  I read Guardian of the Dead a few weeks ago and did not stop gushing about it.  It is one of the best novels - adult or teen or kids - that I've read where the author effortlessly blends mythology and contemporary setting.

Ellie is an average girl, bigger than average maybe, but rock solid in her friendship with her best mate Kevin and very grounded in her own world.  She genuinely comes across as a girl you'd like if you met her at a bbq or shindig. I loved how utterly normal she was, how she screwed up (getting drunk in boarding school and hiding the beer tins in a drawer under her bed and forgetting about them) and how utterly fierce she is when it turns out someone a bit unpleasant is putting the moves on her friend Kevin.

I'm hesitant to even try to give a comprehensive outlay of the plot because it is so layered and without me going into an in depth explanation of bits of Maori lore, it won't make sense to anyone.  Let me try and put it this way instead:  buy. this. book.

Buy this book if you are a fan of old school legends, mythology and fables.  Buy this book if you have an interest in learning about new cultures, about unfamiliar mythologies and if you have that something in your soul that wants a bit more when it comes to reading.  Buy this book if you are a romantic at heart and if you want the sweetest, saddest love story in the world ever.  Buy this book if you like strong female characters who are fierce and kind and generous and who are a bit clueless now and again.

All in all, if I were to give Guardian of the Dead stars out of five, it would get a ten. Obviously, Guardian of the Dead works for me because it was as if Karen Healey sat down and wrote the book for me specifically.  It really has everything in it that I enjoy reading and I've subsequently found other authors and reference books for my shelves - and that is what good fiction does: it leads you to explore.

I must apologise if this isn't much of a review - it doesn't make much sense, I know, but there are some great reviews by other bloggers on Amazon - Sarah, Dwayne and Leanna probably say it better than I do.  They are more eloquent.  I just love Guardian of the Dead and I want everyone else to love it too.

Find Karen Healey's website here.


Unknown said...

I have had this on my wish-list since it came out in the States.
Terrific review I will go see if it is cheaper now

Jenni said...

You've had me sold on this one for a while :)