Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey (April 1st—Little Brown)
Grade: 3.5 stars out of 5
Summary: “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.”
Review: I was so terribly excited to read this book. Guardian of the Dead was near the top of my wishlist for tenner books, sadly it did not live up to my expectations.
Karen Healey takes us where few authors published in America have gone, to New Zealand. Going in I had absolutely no idea what to expect of how she was going to incorporate such a new environment in an interesting fashion without being overbearing. Healey crafts together a realm of fantasy amidst the beauty of the island that, surprisingly, works.
I had just finished the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan and was elated to find similar tales between the two. While Riordan applied the Greek and Roman treatment to the mythology, Healey twists the myths with a New Zealand flare! Again she weaves the myths to the story beautifully while still managing to create this ethereal allusion.
While the novel is intricate by its very nature and design I found the novel as a whole tedious. Be it a contradiction but Guardian of the Dead dissected into elements was as wonderful as I had imagined it to be though as a whole it lacked. It lacked a finesse that made me want to read more. Even so Guardian of the Dead had an unconventional ending. Rabid fans of ‘happily ever after’s will face a reality check that will still leave them pleased.
As discombobulated as this review is it is a reflection of my opinion of the book. I wanted to love this book since I first heard of it last year, but I am just disappointed at the final product.
Ftc: review copy provided by publishers