Guardian of the Dead

Guardian of the Dead

by Karen Healey
3.4 25

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Overview

Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey

"You're Ellie Spencer."

I opened my mouth, just as he added, "And your eyes are opening."

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316044387
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date: 08/03/2011
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 659,131
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author


Karen Healey is the author of the Aurealis winner and William C. Morris Debut Award finalist Guardian of the Dead, The Shattering, and When We Wake. She technically lives in New Zealand, but actually lives on the internet. You can find her at www.karenhealey.com.

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Guardian of the Dead 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Burg More than 1 year ago
I'm not quite sure where to start my review for this one. My feelings for this book were continuously changing, so much so that I'm not sure what my final opinion was or if I even have a definitive opinion. What I can say is that Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey was intiguing, the whole way through. This being Healey's YA Debut novel I tried not to set my hopes too high, I feel like it's unfair to the book because sometimes a reader can come into the reading with too many high expectations and fail to give it a chance because it's not part of a series they already love or an author they're already familiar with. If I did come into this with high expectations it was unintentional, but regardless Healey met or surpassed them, that much I can say for sure. For me it's usually all about the characters, or at least mostly. If I can't relate to a character or find myself desperate to stay with them along their journey through the story than already the book has failed to live up to my normal expectations. This was not the case with Guardian of the Dead. The main character Ellie Spencer was wonderful. She was different from a lot of the typical female protagonists I've read lately and I found that refreshing. She had a sharp-wit and so much going for her, but at the same time readers will see immediately that she was struggling in her life. She was constanly comparing herself to others and always found herself lacking, self esteem was a major issue for Ellie throughout the book, but at the same time it became an integral part of the story. As side characters went, Kevin (the best friend) and Iris (the girl who loves the best friend) were great. They were simple and yet perfect for their roles, they didn't overly complicate the plot and definitely didn't slow down the writing. But let's face it...I'm a sucker for the male leads/prospective love interests for my main characters, and in Guardian of the Dead, Healey threw me a curveball with Mark Nolan. I don't want to spoil anything for those who haven't read the book yet, but I'll say this...Mark was mysterious, frustrating at times, adorable at other times, and I loved him and hated him at multiple points in the book, lol. What's not to love about a guy like that right? All I know is that he wasn't your typical love interest, enough said! Healey brought a lot of Maori mythology & legends into this novel. I was not familiar with it prior to reading the book and will admit to being confused and slightly overwhelmed at certain points, but overall I enjoyed the lessons. I've always been interested in mythology and other faiths/beliefs that I may not have been knowledgable in before hand. Along with my confusion there was a matching fascination. If you haven't read this novel yet, I'm not sure why...go out and see for yourself the truly creative and beautifully written work that Healey presents. I gave Guardian of the Dead 4 stars and truly look forward to more of Healey's work, which includes me crossing my fingers for a sequel!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
To much talking and mixing in with great details of school and work. Not worth the time.DO NOT waste your money on this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing and I really enjoyed it. Some parts of it were a little ard to follow but it continued to surprise me with it's plot twists and I loved the main character as well as the asexual representation and the ending was unconventional and amazing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
Ellie leads a typical life for a seventeen-year-old. She goes to class, hangs out with her best friend Kevin, wonders about Mark, her mysterious (and good looking) classmate. She has a black belt in tae kwon do and, after a night of ill-advised drinking with Kevin, she has also volunteered her time to staging fight scenes for a play at the local university. Even if it is being directed by Kevin's oldest friend Iris who is annoyingly perfect and makes Ellie feel like an ugly, ungainly giant. After that things start to get less typical. The news keeps talking about a serial killer. After a literal run-in with Mark Ellie is starting to see things. One of the actresses at the play seems to have an unhealthy interest in Kevin. The more Ellie learns the more it seems like Mark might be at the center of all of the strange happenings around her and, stranger still, Ellie herself might have a role to play before it's all over in Guardian of the Dead (2010) by Karen Healey. Guardian of the Dead was selected as a finalist for the 2010 Cybils. Although it did not win the top spot it holds a special place in my heart as a personal favorite from 2010 and I am very excited I can finally post my review. (It is also set in New Zealand. As such, if you are not familiar with New Zealand school structure the beginning might be confusing, but don't worry it all resolves itself quickly.) Without giving too much away, the incorporation of stories and mythology-most notably traditional Maori myths-adds another dimension to the plot here-particularly the notion that stories shape us all. Much like traditional myths nothing is quite as it seems in Guardian of the Dead and, often, nothing works out quite as one would expect it too. Consequently the plot is rich and filled with twists and turns to keep even the most astute readers guessing. It's weird to say about a fantasy but Guardian of the Dead is extremely authentic when it comes to the characters and how they interact with each other. All of the characters, even the minor ones and the creepy ones, feel strikingly complex and well-developed in a very natural way. It all seems so real even as all of these improbable things start to happen to Ellie. Healey is really one of those writers that makes her craft seem effortless. Ellie herself is also a joy. She is proactive and desirable and powerful throughout the story. Tall and ungainly she is athletic but also chubby. None of which is the point of the book or becomes over-emphasized because there is so much more to her. Which is such a realistic and healthy characterization even if it is one that doesn't always appear in books. Guardian of the Dead is everything I want to see in a Chick Lit Wednesday book and Ellie is everything I want in a heroine. Filled with mythology, action, wit, and even some romance Guardian of the Dead is a charmer that will leave you thinking even while it leaves you with a smile. Possible Pairings: Plain Kate by Erin Bow, Unearthly by Cynthia Hand, Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry, Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones Be sure to visit my blog for more Exclusive Bonus Content!
Nikkayme More than 1 year ago
Guardian of the Dead is not quite the book it looks or sounds like it would be, but it is full of New Zealand-based mythology and a backstory of folklore that more than entertains. I wasn’t really sure what to expect going in, so when weird things started happening and the explanations began to unfold, I was pleasantly surprised. And interested. If you know nothing about New Zealand culture/history/folklore, then be prepared for an overflow of information. Which is both good and bad. It certainly keeps the reader enthralled, but it can be too much at times. It became a little difficult to keep the folklore tales straight and even understand some of them. But if you can stick with it, then you’ll come out with a very complete and captivating story. My one major issue with the book was the main character. Ellie has all the makings of a very strong female character: she’s a bit of a loner, but has a good best friend; she’s intelligent, a little snappy, funny, and abrasive, but then she’s uber self-conscious and even self-hating. I understand that she may be uncomfortable with her weight, but she goes on, throughout the entire book, whining about how fat she is and comparing herself to other, gorgeous, thin girls. It made me hate her a little. That being said, Guardian of the Dead, still has a lot to offer. The twists are very good, the characters (aside from self-hating main character) interesting – I wish we saw more of Ellie’s best friend Kevin – and the folklore something I’ve never heard about before. Karen Healey brings New Zealand to the reader and makes us a part of her fantasy, but entirely based in reality, world.
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the jacket sounded promising when i read it. it really did. i don't know what happened. i gave this book a fair shot. i read over 200 pages but i could just NOT get into it. it was so...all over the place and nothing was ever explained. it just..happened. and i was like wutttt? o.0 i couldn't make sense of any of it. and idk. it wasn't a flowing story. it was just BAM random fact. BAM random event. nothing connected. it was awful. don't waste your money.
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EllzReadz More than 1 year ago
My thoughts...Guardian Of The Dead is a fast paced, edge of your seat YA thriller. It is packed with suspense, folklore, and mythological creatures. The story, which takes place in New Zealand, begins with the heroine Ellie, attending boarding school. She is a strong character with imperfections. Ellie is not your typical drop dead ggorgeous, rail thin heroine. She is a bit conscious of her weight, but she is very talented in the martial arts. The other characters served their purpose in building the story, but they did not make a big impression on me. The plot moved at a steady pace. The action is built around the Maori legends of New Zealand. It was very interesting, but it seemed to be explained in large chunks and I got a bit confused at times. The good thing is you do not have to completely understand the stories to keep up with the plot. Enough information was presented for me to figure out who was good and evil. I did not realize, until I finished the book, that there was a glossary in the back. This would have been helpful in understanding the legends of the Maori. This book did a great job of setting up for future installments. The world is complex, imaginative, and a bit creepy. Overall, I enjoyed Guardian Of The Dead and I will be watching for more from this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
kittydanza More than 1 year ago
GUARDIAN OF THE DEAD, by Karen Healey, was an epic adventure full of fantasy and Maori mythology that will leave you breathless. The infusing of mythology into fiction creates a one of a kind story that will make you want to learn more about this fascinating culture. This book took me on a journey that I never expected. This book takes place in New Zealand (NZ) where the Maori culture is a big part of society. Ellie is especially knowledgeable in the Classics and mythology of NZ. Her intelligence is definitely a service to her in the spectacular and dangerous journey that she undertakes. Ellie was just like any other teenage girl with self-esteem issues, mostly physically, but the threat of tragedy that weighs on her home she overcomes her doubts exceptionally. Her crush, Mark Nolan, was an amazing character to explore. He was the farthest away from anything Ellie thought of him, but he was also brave and unselfish. These two made an scintillating pair full of electricity and life. I was wholly fascinated by the Maori customs and mythology that were unearthed in this book. I learned so much about their beliefs and how the people and creatures present in NZ came about according to these myths. The visuals of the mists and Ellie's sight were impressive. Healey created a fantasy world that leaped off the pages. The cover of the book was both alluring and terrifying. There is no telling from this cover what the story is about but it leaves the idea that something ominous will result in the story. Overall this book was a masterpiece. Combining magic, mythology, with a young love story makes it a huge hit. I cannot wait to see future books from this author.
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LoonyMoonyy More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book, it was a smart mix of Different Mythologies that really helped the story. I strongly reccomend it
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Toni Petersen More than 1 year ago
i read this book as did my aunt it takes forever to get into and onve you find youself wanting to read it your on the last page