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Monday, April 05, 2010

GUARDIAN OF THE DEAD By Karen Healey. Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 2010

Ellie Spencer’s parents have left her at a boarding school in Christchurch on New Zealand,’s South Island, and gone on a world trip to celebrate Ellie’s mother’s recovery - or at least remission - from cancer. Ellie doesn't know it, but she has magical abilities, triggered by her encounter with gorgeous Mark, who is more than he seems.

Meanwhile, she’s helping her friend Kevin, a university student, with his production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as fight choreographer. Ellie may be big and not-too-attractive to boys, but she does have a black belt in tae kwon do.

But Elizabethan fairies have nothing on New Zealand ones. Especially when “Titania” is after Kevin. And she isn’t even the worst of them. Mythological beings from the distant past of New Zealand, before even the arrival of the Maoris, have plans. They have lost their immortality and they want it back. And they don’t care who else dies so they can get it. Ellie and Mark’s time to save the day is strictly limited - and Mark, let’s face it, is not what he seems to be...

A nice thriller/horror tale with a touch a of humour. Girls, especially, should enjoy this. What they will think of the slight twist at the end, I can’t be sure. The truly nasty curse on Mark really should have required the heroine to make a hard decision, but hey, she’s too busy saving the day to be limited to saving Mark - and she does save him. Sort of. Using a different mythology, as she has learned that you bring your own myths with you. Hopefully, young readers will check out the Greek myths and the European fairy lore thrown into the mix.

Check it out.

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