Thursday, October 7, 2010

Book Review: Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey

Title: Guardian of the Dead
Author: Karen Healey
Genre: Teen Fiction, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: April 1, 2010
Publisher Book: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
ISBN Book: 9780316044301
Pages: 352
Publisher CD Book: Recorded Books
ISBN CD: 9781436197106 (9 Sound Discs)
Source: Checked out the book and book on CD from my local library.


Guardian of the DeadGuardian of the Dead by Karen Healey

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Ellie Spencer, is just an ordinary 17 year-old girl until one day her eyes are opened to the magic of her world, and she discovers that her friends and her very future may be at risk. When a string of brutal killings where the murderers remove the eyes of their victims draw closer and closer to those around Ellie, she knows that she must risk everything to protect those she loves.


This book is a tough one for me to review. It really had the potential to be a really great read, but unfortunately I just felt like it took too long for me to get in the story.

The beginning of the novel had the feel of every other paranormal fiction novel out there. It didn't have anything in the beginning that set it apart from the numerous novels in the genre out there already. Fortunately, for the reader, this first impression turns out to be false. Once you progress deeper into the novel you are introduced to the Mãori legends, and traditions which adds a richness that makes this novel distinctive from others in the genre. Unfortunately, it just took too long to get there.

Ellie is an appealing character. You love her for both her strengths and her flaws. She is a good friend and seeks to protect those she loves, and is very determined. She isn't perfect, but that is what makes her so likable.

Healey's imagery is wonderful. She knows how to make you feel that you are right there in the novel. The combination of modern New Zealand and the ancient Mãori mythology makes this novel so rich and fascinating. I loved learning more about the myths and the comparison to the Greek and Roman traditions was a stroke of genius.

The audiobook, narrated by Saskia Maarleveld and produced by Recorded Books is superbly done. Maarleveld is a believable narrator, and does a nice job with all of the voices. Without the audiobook, I think I might have put the novel down before I got to the good parts of the story.

Overall this is a good book, but the slow beginning takes a lot to get past. Once you get past the beginning and the story is revealed to you, you are hooked and have to know how it ends. If you have difficulty reading books with slower beginnings, you might want to try the audio version--it worked for me. I am glad I read this book, I just wish the beginning had moved a little faster. I loved the mythology, and felt that the mythology in itself is a great reason to read this book. I am glad I stuck with it to finish the story.





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