Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Guardian of the Dead

I picked this book at random from my library's digital media catalog when I was about to do some traveling, and I wanted to load a few things onto my Nook before I left.  I did this with five or six books, and of them all, this was my favorite.

Ellie Spencer, seventeen, is attending boarding school, and things are going perfectly well - perfectly normally, until she has a chance encounter with a boy she's been secretly fascinated with but hasn't really talked to.  Following that encounter, things are suddenly subtly different, and before long Ellie finds herself plunged into a new, scary world where beings from Maori mythology are all too real.

There were so many things I enjoyed about this book. The New Zealand setting was such a great backdrop for the story, and the way Healey has woven the strands of Maori legends through the novel gives it a lot more depth than I expected. I loved reading a YA fantasy story that wasn't rehashing the same old, same old themes and fantastical elements.  Ellie is an engaging, sympathetic character, flawed but with her heart in the right place.  This one would appeal to fans of Charles de Lint and Pamela Dean.  I look forward to reading more of Healey's work.

Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2010)

9 comments:

  1. Oooh, Glad to hear you enjoyed this one! I've heard nothing but good about it!! I really need to get my hands on it.

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    1. I think you'll enjoy it, Chris. Although you never know when your expectations are high. I hadn't even heard of it, so I was doubly delighted by it!

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  2. This. Sounds. Awesome. Hooray for serendipitous e-reads!

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  3. Kiirstin - I think you'd really enjoy this one. I do love that serendipity - particularly as I have this enormous TBR list that I know I will never be able to complete. Sometimes it's fun just to take a chance on something that I don't know anything about. It's rare these days, now that I think about it, for me to pick something up with very few expectations.

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  4. I know I'm being picky here, but the book is set in New Zealand, not Australia. I think the author may live in Australia, but she's a New Zealander too.

    (Sorry, we New Zealander's have a "little brother" thing going with Australia so tend to make a comment when something of "ours" get attributed to Australia.)

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    1. Holy cow! My apologies. I actually knew that - not sure what I was thinking. I read the book some time ago (I'm SO behind in my reviews, but that's no excuse.) Thanks for pointing out my error, Rocalisa - I'm off to fix it now...

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    2. Thanks from this New Zealander. Have you read her second book, "The Shattering"? I have it but haven't had a chance to get to it yet. But given how much I enjoyed "Guardian of the Dead" I'm looking forward to reading it eventually.

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    3. I have not read her second book, but I certainly intend to. This one was such a breath of fresh air. Is The Shattering connected to this one in any way? I will add it to my list - thanks! And thanks again for pointing out my mistake. I hate it when I do something like that. Sheesh.

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    4. I'm pretty certain The Shattering is a stand alone with no connections.

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