Jul 15, 2010

Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey

Ellie Spencer is a mostly typical teenager. After her mother's cancer battle, her parents have left her in Mansfield Boarding School while they traipse around Europe. Ellie is taller than most girls and carries a little extra weight, making it possible for her to float around unnoticed by most of the human population. With asexual guy friends like Kevin and a keen interest in the Classics, what more could a girl ask for?

Ellie never expected that a chance run-in with her crush, the mysteriously brooding Mark, and working on a play at the local university would change everything as she knows it. There is something dark and foreboding in the mist around the schools and it may have something to do with people turning up dead. What's a girl to do?

Well. That was different. Guardian of the Dead had a lot of potential. Using New Zealand as a setting is completely out of the norm and totally awesome! I really enjoyed catching glimpses of everyday life & there was definitely a large focus on the cultural history & mythology of the Māori people. Ellie, Kevin, & Mark were very fascinating characters with quite a few dimensions. Ellie was an especially fabulous character because she wasn't a traditional female lead. She had self-image issues, but they weren't the entire focus of her being while still maintaining a form of self-confidence. I feel most girls can relate to this balance.

As I stated though, this book had potential. There was just so much going on in this book. Between self-assessment from Ellie, her relationships with the males, the murderer, the Māori history/culture, and more, I found myself struggling to keep up with everything. It seemed like once I got settled into the explanation of something, we were already moving on to the next thing that needed to be explained. A few points, mostly the "romance," felt constrained and unnatural. This book would have really benefited from being broken into two pieces.

As it stands, Guardian of the Dead was alright. For me, it's really something I could take or leave. If there was nothing compelling me to read it, I feel like I would pass it by. The cover and jacket description look & sound great, but I feel like it failed to deliver what was promised.

Graciously provided by Around the World Tours.


vivimarie said...

I read this book and felt the same way. I think that the romance was lacking in that it jumped from them being strangers to all of a sudden being in love. I personally, didn't like the ending all that much either. Thanks for the awesome reviews. GOD bless =+)

The Book Owl said...

I've been hearing a lot of similar things about this book. I was super excited to read this, so it saddens me a bit.

Andrea said...

I decided against reading this because looked really creepy. I probably would have reacted the same way you did.

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