Home > Senior Fiction, Young Adult > Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey

Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey

Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey. Pub. Allen&Unwin, 2010.

This was the novel that I was reading when the earthquake threw me off the couch and reduced the inside of my house to a broken mess. How prophetic it was!

They say you shouldn’t mess with myth and legend and fortunately it is not true in this instance, but Karen Healey has used Maori myth and legend and asked the question What if myth and legend became reality? What if the legends of Rangi and Papa and of Maui took a different turn of events? and those events impacted on the real world.

Complicated? you bet but very interesting. A long book in two parts and you have to read it with your wits about you.

Set in Christchurch and later in the North Island near Napier it features  a university student Ellie who is more concerned about fulfilling her fantasies with a boy she has a crush on and writing an essay, than what is going on in the real and mythological world that are clashing around her. Ellie gets involved with a production of Midsummer Night’s Dream and meets the deadly Reka. There is a serial killer on the loose. Could it be related to other events?

Patupairehe, or Maori fairy folk feature as do Taniwha and it is darker interpretation of them that features. The action is exciting but pay attention or you will lose track of the story.

Definitely senior secondary in appeal although good readers of fantasy will have no problems. David Hair in his novels The Bone Tiki and Tears of the Taniwha, covers this topic too in a less complicated manner. But this title is definitely worth a read.

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