Guardian of the Dead is a unique YA novel that takes place in New Zealand and involves Māori (indigenous New Zealand) myths. I wanted to love this nov...moreGuardian of the Dead is a unique YA novel that takes place in New Zealand and involves Māori (indigenous New Zealand) myths. I wanted to love this novel so much, and almost did. Unfortunately, it suffered from a severe case of literary ADD. Did it want to be a coming of age novel? Māori folktale? Urban fantasy adventure? Love story? Of course, it can be all of this and more, but when one aspect of this story picked up, the others would suffer.
Guardian of the Dead begins with seventeen year old Ellie in the middle of her first year at a private boarding school on New Zealand’s South Island. Initially, the reader becomes invested in Ellie’s world as she struggles to fit in, crushes on a mysterious loner, and starts discovering clues that something in her world is amiss. The Ellie we first meet is a smart, snarky girl who would be a great protagonist if it weren’t for her ridiculously low self esteem. Yes, this is a YA novel, and teens are infamously insecure, but Ellie takes it up a notch. She frequently describes herself as a girl who is both overweight and extra tall. While at first it is interesting and refreshing to read about an overweight main character, it becomes old very quickly as so much of Ellie’s inner monologue is self-bashing over her size.
Although we first meet Ellie at her exclusive boarding school that is not what this story is about. As with many YA books these days, as the story picks up, Ellie’s teachers, homework, and responsibilities quickly fall to the wayside. In fact, Karen Healey introduces so many ideas and concepts and story lines that Guardian of the Dead doesn’t really flow into a seamless novel. Everything ties together but I couldn’t help thinking that this novel needed a bit more focus. It either needed to have some sections cut, while others were expounded upon; or it needed to be turned into a two or three part series. It’s hard to articulate what I mean without giving away spoilers. Guardian of the Dead introduces to many twists and ideas that all I can say is this ended up so much differently than what I expected when it began. Furthermore, ideas, people and small plot lines are introduced that don't actually matter to the ultimate climax of the story.
Finally, Guardian of the Dead takes place in New Zealand and involves a lot of traditions and culture about the islands. I couldn’t help getting the idea that this was written for a New Zealand or Australian audience because so many words, ideas, and attitudes were alluded to without a full explanation. Not that the novel suffered from it, everything was easily figured out from the context in which it was written. And truthfully, it was refreshing to read a novel about a foreign culture without a ton of info dump; however some background information would have been appreciated. Although I loved this story while reading it, and definitely recommend other fans of YA to check it out, I couldn’t help wonder if the main reason I like it so much is because it is all new to me? I love folklore and creation myths, and Guardian of the Dead has a ton of it. If I were at all familiar with the folklore in this book, would the lack of focus be more irritating? Possibly.
But despite it’s flaws, Guardian of the Dead also has a likeable central character, a mystifying mystery, and a sexy guy. What else does a decent YA need? =) (less)
The writing, imagery and artwork in Lips Touch: Three Times is superb. The beauty of this collection is that each story pulls the reader in a little m...moreThe writing, imagery and artwork in Lips Touch: Three Times is superb. The beauty of this collection is that each story pulls the reader in a little more than the one before it. With each tale of a life that is changed by a kiss, author Laini Taylor reveals more complex characters and creates brilliant mythologies. Taylor’s characters are flawed, her beasts do not sparkle and there isn’t always a happily ever after. But can I mention again how lovely her story telling is?
For some time, this book has been sitting comfortably on my TBR list. Now I am kicking myself for not reading this sooner. Or purchasing it. Or harassing the publisher into releasing a super special, coffee table size edition with even more artwork. This is definitely one that I want to own and read over and over. (less)
Even though I seem to be stuck on an(admittedly lame) teen/vampire/romance kick lately, my first love is horror. Books, movies, whatever ~ the scarier...moreEven though I seem to be stuck on an(admittedly lame) teen/vampire/romance kick lately, my first love is horror. Books, movies, whatever ~ the scarier the better. Unfortunately, after having been exposed to so much of it over the years, the majority of horror books simply aren't frightening enough. The Book of Lost Things, however is wonderfully scary and I regret that this book wasn't available to me as a kid. But even as an adult, it is easy to appreciate the full on creepiness of this novel. Love it! My husband always insists that there is something wrong with me beause I find so much joy in creepy, scary, depressing stories ~ oh well :) Regardless, this is a well written and totally captivating book and I am looking forward to getting to know John Connolly a little better. (less)
The tales of King Arthur told from a woman's perspective. Took me a long time to get into it ~ in fact, I started & stopped quite a few times. But...moreThe tales of King Arthur told from a woman's perspective. Took me a long time to get into it ~ in fact, I started & stopped quite a few times. But once I was finally able to get started properly, it was hard to put down. Well, the hardback is a massive 876 pages. So, truthfully, it was hard to hold up ;)(less)
This truly doesn't belong in the "myths/folklore" bookshelf. However, I don't have any other astrology books & don't plan on buying any more. This...moreThis truly doesn't belong in the "myths/folklore" bookshelf. However, I don't have any other astrology books & don't plan on buying any more. This book was purchased when I was younger, much more open-minded and getting high just about every day. I never took this stuff seriously, but had fun reading it anyhow. Can't remember the last time I turned to it. At any rate, one of those books I should probably get rid of but haven't yet.
Linda Goodman is certainly entertaining. Full of shit, but entertaining ;)(less)
I love the stories... but dislike the edition. I bought it because it is a nice hardback that looks good on the shelf. Unfortunately, Barnes & Nob...moreI love the stories... but dislike the edition. I bought it because it is a nice hardback that looks good on the shelf. Unfortunately, Barnes & Noble doesn't include any forward, afterward or footnotes ~ just presents the stories. Again, I love the stories, but would have also liked a little more information about their origin, etc. But I suppose this is how Barnes & Noble is able to publish such a pretty book for such a low price. (less)