Saturday, December 11, 2010

Review - Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey (3.5/5 stars)

Guardian of the DeadReading level: Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal
Size:  345 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Release Date: April 2010
ISBN-13: 978-0-316-04430-1
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: Borrowed from Library
Rating: 4/5 stars

I thought this book sounded interesting when it first came out but have been holding off on reading it because of mixed reviews.  Well I agree, I had a lot of mixed feelings about this book.  The first 200 pages are 3 stars, they are pretty boring, not a lot going on.  But the last 150 pages are absolutely awesome.

Ellie is at a boarding school in New Zealand and agrees to help choreograph some of the fight scenes for the play her friend Kevin is in.  On her way there she see a woman emerge from the mist; a woman whose eyes are completely black.  It ends up that this is the same woman that is starring in the play Ellie is helping with.  Then Ellie literally runs into a handsome guy named Mark Nolan and after that she starts seeing things.  Mark is wrapped up in something mysterious and Ellie is about to be pulled into the melee.  In the end it may be up to Ellie to save the world.

Okay, let's talk about the first 200 pages of the book.  It is easy to read and written okay, but not a lot happens.  There is a little mystery here and there but mostly the first 200 pages are kind of a yawner.  Ellie spends a lot of time complaining about how overweight she is and, when she isn't doing that, she is either complaining about being hungry or snacking on vending machine candy.  I had a hard time having a lot of sympathy for her and mostly thought she was kind of pathetic.  I didn't really love all the characters that much and about the third time Mark broke into tears because he was over emotional about something it was all I could do to keep my eyes from rolling out of my head.

Now the last 150 pages of the book were pretty much completely different.  Ellie is on a quest to save New Zealand.  This part of the book is all about the really unique and interesting mythos of New Zealand.  Ellie becomes someone to be admired, she grows a backbone and does what needs to be done.  This change wasn't really gradual, it isn't something Ellie grows into, it just happens.  This part of the book was awesome and I adored it.

The ending is really interesting, but gets a bit confusing at parts, some of it is a bit abstract which I enjoy that in my books because it makes me think harder about what is going on.  The book ends well and wraps up the story nicely.  Basically I ended up absolutely loving the complexity of the characters and the plot for the last part of the book.  I loved it so much that it almost made me forget how boring the first part of the book was.  So...basically I guess this book just had really poor pacing.

Overall I ended up liking the book.  The beginning was a drag but if you can struggle through the first 200 pages then you are in for a creative, complex, and very interesting treat.  Will I read more books by Healey?  At this point I am not sure, this book was just too inconsistent, so I would probably wait to read reviews before I picked up another book by her.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:

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