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I Belong

Review: Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey

Title: Guardian of the Dead

Author: Karen Healey

GenreYA Paranormal


Publication Date: April 1, 2010

Format: Hardcover, 333 Pages

ISBN-10: 031604430X (LB Kids)

ISBN-13: 978-0316044301 (LB Kids)

Reviewed byBridget


“You’re Ellie Spencer.”

I opened my mouth, just as he added, “And your eyes are opening.”Seventeen-year-old Ellie Spencer is just like any other teenager at her boarding school. She hangs out with her best friend Kevin, she obsesses over Mark, a cute and mysterious bad boy, and her biggest worry is her paper deadline. But then everything changes. The news headlines are all abuzz about a local string of serial killings that all share the same morbid trademark: the victims were discovered with their eyes missing. Then a beautiful yet eerie woman enters Ellie’s circle of friends and develops an unhealthy fascination with Kevin, and a crazed old man grabs Ellie in a public square and shoves a tattered Bible into her hands, exclaiming, “You need it. It will save your soul.” Soon, Ellie finds herself plunged into a haunting world of vengeful fairies, Maori mythology, romance, betrayal, and an epic battle for immortality.

Quick & Dirty: Interesting YA Paranormal that was a fast paced easy read.  The plot was a little predictable and I didn’t love all the characters, but it was still a very good read.

Opening Sentence: I opened my eyes.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review

Ellie Spencer is your normal 17 year old teenage girl.  She is attending boarding school for her last year of high school while her parents live their dream of traveling the world.  She is very tall for a girl and slightly overweight.  Being the new girl is hard when everyone grew up together, but she makes quick friends with Kevin who happens to be gorgeous but not really interested in girls or anyone for that matter.  Ellie also starts crushing on Mark, a super cute, mysterious boy that usually keeps his distance from everyone.  Life is going good and then everything starts to fall apart.

There is a crazy serial killer on the loose who is cutting people’s eyes out, and he seems to be heading to their area.  Then a beautiful, yet unnatural girl starts to pay way too much attention to Kevin and he uncharacteristically seems to be reciprocating.  Than Mark starts to talk to Ellie and the things he says don’t seem to make since.  Ellie knows that something bad is happening but she’s not sure who she can trust.  Will she be able to figure out this mystery before it is too late for her and her friends?

Ellie is our protagonist in the story and I actually really liked her.  She has some self confidence issues at times, but she learns to get past them and becomes a strong, not to be messed with, woman.  She also has her naive moments where she makes some stupid decisions but she owns up to them.  She is very loyal to her friends and really tries to do the right thing.  I loved that she wasn’t perfect, it made her so much easier to connect with and she felt more like a real person.

Mark is the love interest in the book and I had mixed feelings about him.  He is totally gorgeous, mysterious, and interesting, which usually I totally love, but I also felt like he was kind of a pansy.  Ellie is a strong woman and she deserves an equally strong boy by her side and I felt that Mark fell a little short in this regard.  I get that you need to see his vulnerable side, but it made him come across as weak.  He did have some redeeming qualities as well, but I just felt that some of his faults overshadowed them.   So I did like him, but I felt that Ellie deserved a little better.

This was a really fast paced book that was easy to read.  There was good action with an interesting plot.  The plot was fairly predictable, but there were a few twists I wasn’t expecting.  I really enjoyed the characters and the romance was sweet and well developed.  It was also pretty humorous at times which helped to lighten the mood and made it a fun read.  Overall, I would say that this was a good book and I would recommend it to anyone that enjoys YA Paranormal.

Notable Scene:

He picked at the hair for a second, then met my eyes, now looking rueful and adorable.  “Sorry. Spencer.  Either I cut this loose, or we’re stuck together forever.”  I hoped I didn’t look too awestruck.  Was I a giggling idiot, to be struck by lightning at my first physical contact?  But then, he’d felt something too.  And he knew my name.

“Option two is tempting, but…” I yanked at the wayward hair.  It resisted, then snapped raggedly, leaving a blondish strand knotted in the bracelet.  “Yuck. Sorry.”

“No worries.”  He rubbed thoughtfully at the knot and smiled at me, a sudden flash of white, even teeth.  My breath caught in my throat and I felt the blush burn in my cheeks.  “I like your laugh,” he said.

Apparently, that was a goodbye.  He turned and strode through the school gate, head extended and fists clenched in his pockets to make bony wings, a heron stalking along a bank.

I stooped, fiddling with my shoelace until I felt my treacherous complexion was under control.  That peculiar tingling sensation was still there, but it wasn’t as strong as the rising wave of glee.  Mark Nolan had noticed my laugh.

FTC Advisory: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers/Hachette Book Group provided me with a copy of Guardian of the Dead. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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