Guardian of the Dead, by Karen Healey

Never did get around to saying anything about this book, even though I enjoyed it lots and lots–got a little bit bogged down in the first half, but didn’t much care about that once I got to the second.

Part of what I enjoyed was that this book … did things I usually hate, and made me not only not care, but actually embrace them:

– As in, somehow this book managed to do an “all stories are true” plot that didn’t offend me by diluting the native (in this case Maori) magic by letting the non-native (western) magic and ideas take over and appropriate it. Instead, all stories really are true–and this means that you can choose your story, but the land and those around you are also choosing theirs, and so you’re not fully in control, and magic and story both remain wild and untamed.

– Also as in, somehow this book managed to have a “I’m protecting you from knowledge of all the danger and supernaturalness out there in the world for your own good” plot that didn’t offend me by making the protagonist seem, well, stupid and wrong. Instead, the fact that the (cute, dangerous, magical, love-interest) boy keeps secrets from our protagonist is a problem, and the lies involved in same echo on out to the final mythic confrontation. And when the protagonist keeps secrets from the (cute, magical, non-love-interest) other boy in turn, she does it intelligently: she has a reason that actually makes sense, and even so, she’s as honest as she can be. As in, she doesn’t say “Secrets? What secrets?” but instead says, “Yes, I’m keeping secrets from you. No, you’re not crazy. Give me one week, and then I’ll tell you everything.”

And the resolution of the relationship with cute/dangerous/magical love interest made me very happy, both when it looked like thing one had happened (and I was stunned and admiring of the story for letting it happen), when it looked like our protagonist was going to make thing two happen instead, and, finally, when thing three was what actually happened.

The fact that thing three made me happy (she says, carefully avoiding spoilers) says things about me, no doubt, but there it is. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *