Guardian of the Dead by
Publisher:Little Brown for Young Readers
Pages: Hardcover,352 pages
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.
Guardian of the Dead was my first of the Maori legend. It's basically New Zealand mythology. It offers a great tale that follows Ellie as she goes on a journey of epic proportions to keep New Zealand from falling off the face of the Earth. The characters are great and there was never a dull moment to it. First Im going to talk about the main characters.
The main character is Ellie. Ellie is a native of Northern New Zealand but is sent to boarding school in the South Island while her parents travel around the world. Ellie is a no nonsense kind of girl and will kick butt when needed. The other main characters are Mark and Kevin. Kevin is her best friend who she wants to be more than a friend but that is near impossible at the moment. Mark is the strange guy at school who Ellie has a crush on but he barely pays attention to her. Later you actually find out what Mark is and it explains his keeping away from her. There wasn't a character I exactly hated but there was one I disliked but that character makes things better at the end.
I absolutely loved Karen Healey's writing. It was very descriptive, I felt like I was actually walking around the South Island of New Zealand or kicking fairy butt. Karen gives you a bunch of details about the Maori mythology which gives you a better understanding. I also like that she includes Maori tales within the book.Karen gives each character a distinct voice and makes the characters feel real which is always a plus.
I would recommend Guardian of the Dead to anyone. Really everyone should read it. Its a unique story that keeps you on the edge of your seat till the very end. It mixes action with romance in equal parts. I love mythology and Guardian of the Dead offers a great take on New Zealand mythology.So go pick up and maybe even learn a little New Zealand language along the way!
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