Sunday, August 08, 2010

Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey review

I was sorta forced to read this by Snazel. We were both visiting a friend at the time (we live on different sides of this particular continent) and I was going to visit her, Snazel, right after that. She left first, and left Guardian with me as well. So whenever I was tempted to stop, I just kept thinking, "But...she told me to read it! And left it with me! I gotta read it or when I go visit her she'll hate me!"
Don't ask. I have insecurity issues.

This book was SLOW GOING for me at the beginning. I wasn't connecting with the narrator (first person present, for those who care), I didn't like any of the other characters, and the plot seemed to be the whiny "I'm such a loser I refuse to participate in life" kinda books, a la Swan. But about three chapters in, I started sitting up and paying attention. The characters that had been introduced became more interesting, started doing things, and I cared. I don't really know how Healey made me care at that point, because by then I had such a bad attitude that I just kept picking up the book and saying "I DO NOT CARE." The rest of the experience was lovely: I just got more and more interested and by the end I was glued to the page, to the point that I didn't notice Snazel walking up to me in the airport.

So, I guess I should talk about the plot. The narrator, an insecure highschool girl named Ellie, has a best friend Kevin, who is involved in a college drama production. She also has a crush on a mysterious emo bad boy (I KNOW, RIGHT? He gets better!) named Mark. There is a strange woman also involved in the college play named Reka. Meanwhile, in the city a serial killer named Eyeslasher (guess what he does to his victims???) is, well, killing people. Reka starts trying to seduce Kevin, Mark starts to take an interest in Ellie, and somewhere along the way, plot happens!
Yeah okay I suck at plot summaries.
But what I loved about this book was the incorporation of the mythology. A big part of the book has to do with New Zealand mythology, which I am very unfamiliar with but was really interesting and cool! The main characters have varying degrees of knowledge about the stories involved (it's set in NZ), but they all learn more. I'm a myth geek, but New Zealand folklore was new to me, so all of those elements were delicious!
I also believed in the romance, which was nice. I didn't at first; I was like wow this is lame and thinking I could predict the whole thing. But by the end I did like both of them, so there you go.
The only thing I disliked about the book besides the lackluster beginning was the postmodernist viewpoint, which is just a personal thing. But really, when the main characters say "Stories are true if you believe enough in them" just gave me a bad taste and did NOT make me want to care about THEIR story.
Somehow I managed, though, which says something for the pacing (after the first couple of chapters), the action, and the characters.

I gave this book four out of five stars.

(debut challenge book #1)


shield maiden said...

this one is on my list of "to-reads" for the debut challenge. I'm glad you ended up liking it :)!

Snazel said...

I wouldn't HATE you. I'd just have issues with our friendship and your soul. ^_^

And I'm glad you liked it, in the END. ^_^