Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Fresh New Voice of YA- Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey

Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey
"Seventeen-year-old Ellie Spencer is just like any other teenager at her boarding school. She hangs out with her best friend Kevin, she obsesses over Mark, a cute and mysterious bad boy, and her biggest worry is her paper deadline.

But then everything changes. The news headlines are all abuzz about a local string of serial killings that all share the same morbid trademark: the victims were discovered with their eyes missing. Then a beautiful yet eerie woman enters Ellie's circle of friends and develops an unhealthy fascination with Kevin, and a crazed old man grabs Ellie in a public square and shoves a tattered Bible into her hands, exclaiming, "You need it. It will save your soul." Soon, Ellie finds herself plunged into a haunting world of vengeful fairies, Maori mythology, romance, betrayal, and an epic battle for immortality."- summary from Amazon

This is quite possibly one of the best debuts I've read in a while. It was original, fast-paced, humorous at times, and very compelling. I enjoyed the aspect of Maori mythology and the New Zealand setting, as this is the first book I've read that incorporates those elements. Ellie is a fun, brave heroine and I enjoyed reading all about her adventures.

One thing I really enjoyed was the friendship between Ellie and Kevin. It's not often that you see male/female friendships in YA that don't evolve into relationships. It was refreshing to see it in this story and it was just a nice, normal friendship (well, at least until the paranormal stuff started happening). And I liked the inclusion of Kevin being asexual and having to deal with that, though it'd have been nice to have him be heterosexual and still friends with Ellie. I feel like, with his being asexual, it just closed off the romance path. It would be nice to see two heterosexual opposite gender friends stay that way. Does that make sense at all? I feel like it doesn't, but maybe I'm just overthinking this.

Another plus was the whole Theatre aspect and the staging of Midsummer Night's Dream. I am a theatre fanatic so I always get way excited when some theatre stuff is happening in a book.

Overall, a fantastic debut and one that should be read by everyone. Go out and get a copy now! I can't wait to see what Karen Healey comes up with next.

FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.


  1. I agree with you about the whole Kevin being asexual thing. I thought it would have been better in this case to just have a normal boy/girl friendship that worked.

    Glad you enjoyed this!

  2. Wow that's a fabulous review. I'll have to pick this one up. Thanks.