Sunday, October 9, 2011

Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey: Review

Guardian of the Dead
By Karen Healey
Published April 1st by Little Brown Books
Pick up your copy at Amazon, B&N, or your local indie today!
Synopsis borrowed from Goodreads:

This is an intriguing YA urban fantasy in the tradition of Holly Black and Wicked Lovely. 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.

The strong, fresh voice of the narrator will pull readers in, along with all the deliciously scary details: the serial killer who removes victim's eyes; the mysterious crazy bum who forces a Bible on Ellie telling her she needs it; handsome, mysterious Mark who steals the Bible from her and then casts a forgetting charm on her. All of this culminates in a unique, incredible adventure steeped with mythology, Maori fairies, monsters, betrayal, and an epic battle.

Darkfallen's thoughts:

I would say this is more like 3.5 stars, and in reality if I wasn't confused with the folklore it probably have been 4.

Ellie is a 17 year old heroin that is NOT all perfect pretty, perfect smart, perfect frail, like we see in so many other YA stories today.Yes all your pretty, flawless in all your skinny 100 pound glory, heroin's I'm talking about you! lol Ellie is always the guys friend, and never their girlfriend. She is the girl you sneak into her dorm room with when your not quite done drinking for the night, only to wake up on the floor in the morning surrounded by a scattering of empty beer cans, and wine bottles, to discover that yet another night got away from you and now your stuck sneaking out the window of the girls dorm hoping you don't get caught on the way back to the boys side of campus.

Yes people 17 yr old boarding school kids happens...get over it;)

Overall this story is captivating and at times down right terrify. A little gory even. All of the New Zealand folk lore was completely new to me, which made things very confusing at time seeing how I am not from New Zealand and have never heard any of these stories. The author however seems very familiar with the lore and I would venture to say that she stayed true to the legends, which I think would cause this book to be a home run for those people that are already familiar with it. For the rest of us left me lost. The twist on, what I am guessing is a type of fea, was most awesome. The thought of them living in the mists will make me pay closer attention on high fog days. *winks* So I would say give this one a go. Because even thought I was confused 90% of the time, I still found myself laughing, crying, and turning red with anger on more than one occasion...which only a good book can do. But for those that have no clue what New Zealand folk lore is the glossary in the back will become your best bad for me I didn't realize the glossary existed until I was finished with the book.        

Bite ya later...

Wanna join the Zompacolypse hop? Want all the Wastelanders to trick or treat at your blog this Halloween? Then why don't you join the most awesome party around?! Details are Here but beware of the zombies!! Remember.... we warned ya -- muhahahahas!


  1. Thanks for the review! I have family in New Zealand - my mom moved there from Scotland with her parents and sisters when she was 12 or so, so I love finding books set in NZ! I don't know that she would read this one, though, lol, but the Maori lore has me intrigued!

  2. That's awesome! And if you know anything about their folk pore, which I don't lol, I say this is a must read! Bc even though I was confused by the legends I couldn't put it down;)

  3. This sounds like a fantastic read. I love spooky legends. Thank you for sharing the Halloween fun!