Title: Guardian of the Dead
Author: Karen Healey
Published: NSW : Allen and Unwin, 2010
Snippet: "The empty eyes stared straight back into mine."
Summary: Can Ellie discover a power she never knew she possessed? 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 essay deadline. Until everything changes... In the foggy woods near the school, something ancient and deadly is waiting. (Taken from Christchurch City Libraries Website)
Review: I'm not sure where to begin this review. I liked some of the things in the book but not all.
Starting with the story itself, I really enjoyed that part. I love fantasy books and this one was a pretty good fantasy. It also involved a lot of mythology from Maori and Greek cultures, which I thought was quite good. This is the second book I have read which mentioned Maori mythology and it put a really interesting spin on it.
The characters were quite well-written characters. I liked Mark, I have no idea why, he just seemed like a really likable character same as Ellie and Kevin. I did not like Reka which was fine. I like reading books where not all of the characters are completely lovable.
The setting was New Zealand. Christchurch, New Zealand to be exact and well I felt it was maybe a little too close to home. So much of the book was set in places where I spend the majority of my days and well, I felt it took away from the story a little bit. Mostly because I had trouble imagining the events unfolding there.
I must say that Karen Healey did a brilliant job of describing most of the settings in the books because they do look like they did in the book.
The second problem I had with this book was that it was over-saturated with New Zealand. Well, it was in my mind anyway. I just felt like a large part of the book was trying to push New Zealand and the culture of New Zealand on to people. Some of it was there to tell the story which is fine. But the rest of it just seemed like filler. To be honest at times I felt like I was reading a tourists guide to New Zealand rather than a young adult fantasy novel.
I thought the book as a whole was pretty enjoyable. I look forward to more from Karen Healey in the future.
This kiwi indicates that this book is by a New Zealand author. It is also set in New Zealand.