Saturday 29 May 2010

Review: Guardian of the Dead - Karen Healey

In less than a day, I had been harassed, enchanted, shouted at, cried on, and clawed.  I'd been cold, scared, dirty, exhausted, hungry, and miserable.  And up until now, I'd been mildly impressed with my ability to cope.

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 bad boy; and her biggest worry is her paper deadline.  Then everything changes: In the foggy woods near the school, something ancient and deadly is lurking.

Visit Karen Healey's website for more information

Ellie has recently started at boarding school while her parents travel the world for a year.  She is struggling to fit in but at least she has her best friend Kevin to hang out with.  Everything starts to change when she literally bumps into the mysterious Mark who she has had a crush on for ages.  She has blank spaces in her memory but when she tries to remember what happened she suffers from horrible headaches.  But what does all of this have to do with Mark and does it have anything to do with the horrifying murders that are being committed?

Before I read Guardian of the Dead I knew absolutely nothing about Maori mythology but Karen Healey has done an amazing job of bringing legends to life in a way that makes it really interesting to read.  She has created a great heroine in Ellie - someone who may not be the prettiest or skinniest girl but who doesn't allow her insecurities to take over her personality.  She is strong & determined and able to defend herself but always uses physical force as a last result.  Mark is the perfect hero for a YA story - cute, mysterious and a bit of a bad boy, what more could a girl want? 

I found the story action packed and completely different from anything I've read before.  There were some great secondary characters in Kevin (Ellie's best friend) and Iris who was a lot more important to the story line than I expected her to be but was another great female role model.  The ending was unexpected and although the story did have a proper ending I can easily imagine this being turned into a series - if it does it will definitely be going on my buy list.  A great debut from Karen Healey and I'm looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next!

I also really liked her best friend Kevin and

Source: Received as part of a book tour arranged by International Book Tours, this book has already been sent on to it's next destination.

Other reviews of this book:

If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.


  1. I will be reading this book soon as part of an ARC tour. It sounds fantastic and I can't wait. Great review. I don't know anything about Maori mythology either but hopefully I will learn a lot from this book.

  2. Hi Christina, I can't wait to see what you think of this one! I hope it gets to you soon & that you enjoy it as much as I did :o)

  3. This book sounds really interesting, but that cover scares me!

  4. Hi Clover, the cover is really creepy but I didn't find the book was particularly scary so you should be OK reading it :o)



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