Karen Healey is an exciting new author whose debut YA novel, Guardian of the Dead, is a no-holds-barred paranormal thriller. Karen, a New Zealander living in Australia, is writing a dissertation on American superhero comics. She likes World of Warcraft, movies about cheerleading, and tripartite sentences. This is her first novel.
Gr 9 Up-Ellie Spencer wakes to the realization that there are empty beer cans at the foot of her bed and a boy on her floor. Neither is acceptable at her boarding school on the South Island of New Zealand. She remembers her promise to Kevin to assist with fight choreography for a production of Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by beautiful Iris Tsang, who, to Ellie's extreme annoyance, has a crush on Kevin. Ellie literally runs into mysterious and gorgeous Mark Nolan, receiving an odd shock in the process. He later warns her not to go out alone at night but then somehow causes her to forget their conversation while remembering his warning. On her way to practice one evening, Ellie crosses paths with a woman who sends a chill down her spine, only to find that this person, Reka Gordon, has been cast as Titania. Reka seems to have a power over Kevin that arouses Ellie's suspicions. In the background of all this strange interpersonal activity, news reports continue to cover the activities of a serial killer, the Eyeslasher, on the North Island. From this point, the weirdness and excitement increase exponentially. Healey has done a wonderful job of introducing Maori legends into modern life while using the play and Ellie's classics work to provide Shakespearean and Greek stories to bracket what, for most readers, will be a new mythology. This story starts off fast and strong and just builds from there.-Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.