Summary from Karen’s website:
In less than a day I had been harassed, enchanted, shouted at, cried on, and clawed. I’d been cold, scared, dirty, exhausted, hungry, and miserable. And up until now, I’d been mildly impressed with my ability to cope.
At her boarding school in New Zealand, Ellie Spencer is like any ordinary teen: she hangs out with her best friend, Kevin; obsesses over her crush on a mysterious boy; and her biggest worry is her paper deadline. Then everything changes: In the foggy woods near the school, something ancient and deadly is waiting.
Debut author Karen Healey introduces a savvy and spirited heroine with a strong, fresh voice. Full of deliciously creepy details, this unique, incredible adventure is a deftly crafted story of Māori mythology, romance, betrayal, and war.
As I’ve said before, Karen and I are friends. I am overwhelmingly proud of her, and wanted to do something to celebrate her release day, because I can’t be there for her official release party. (And, in fact, won’t see her in person until Wiscon 34 at the end of May. While there will be celebrating there for a variety of reasons [Karen's book, Cabell's wedding, my graduation, etc.], I’m impatient.)
So first, five reasons Guardian is awesome (some sillier than others):
1. Ellie Spencer is awesome. She can break boards with her feet, she’s tall and broad and strong, and she’s not beautiful. Yet she still has an incredible adventure and does fantastic, fantastic things.
2. There is a Carla in the story. She’s pretty great too, if a background character. I like finding Carlas in media. There’s not that many, to be honest.
3. Guardian made me want to hop onto a plane and visit New Zealand right now.
4. Kevin, Ellie’s best friend, is asexual. His issues with coming out to his friends touched me deeply.
5. I am in love with La Gribaldi, Ellie’s Classics teacher. I can’t tell you why, exactly, because SPOILERS, but seriously, in love.
Five reasons Karen is awesome.
1. She loves Meat Loaf like I do. We have sang and danced to Meat Loaf together. We have gone into essays of joy about our love for his fantastic, cheesy, amazing music. I love sharing this love with her.
2. She lies hilariously in her blog. She also tells the truth hilariously. She is very good at picking out the grain of truth that has to stay in a story and then twisting the truth around it until even barfing on her own shoes in an airport is funny and entertaining.
3. She has Adventures. Then she blogs about them so we can live vicariously. I love when my awesome friends take on the world.
4. She writes amazing critiques of the way media, from comic books to commercials and more, treats minority characters.
5. If you are lucky enough to be a part of her critique group, as I am, not only do you get to read her work early and see the amazing ways it develops, you also receive her critiques on your writing. Even when she is tearing something down to its bare bones, she is hilarious and supportive. I appreciate this a lot.
Five Times Meat Loaf Endorsed Karen(2)
1. Can’t ya hear the planet groanin’ like a broken down machine / Rusted with the guilty tears of fallen kings and queens / But you and I stand innocent, baby it’s a brand new world. “Modern Girl”
Karen’s working to change the world, though it is broken and rusted and bleeding. Her efforts are much appreciated, obviously.
2. I’d lie for you and that’s the truth / Do anything you ask me to / I’d even sell my soul for you / I’d do it all for you / If you’d just believe in me. “I’d Lie for You (And That’s the Truth)”
Oh, those entertaining liars, always with their lying and entertaining.
Also, Karen believing in you is an amazing boost.
3. There’s always something magic, there’s always something new / And when you really really need it the most / That’s when rock and roll dreams come through. “Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through”
I think it’s obvious that the publication of her first book is a pretty great rock and roll dream, especially one filled with magic and brilliant characters and social commentary.
4. I’m still alive / Must have been a miracle / It’s been a hell of ride / Destination still unknown, it’s a fact of life. “Alive”
This song always makes me think of Karen because she’s supported me through some truly horrific moments in life, when I felt incredibly lucky to be alive after, but also because there’s so much life left to live and she’s blazing this great trail.
5. And wherever you are and wherever you go / There’s always gonna be some light. “Bat Out of Hell”
Karen and I agree this is the perfect soundtrack to our apocalypse plans, in which we will sacrifice our lives so that others may live and breed and save the human race. Also, as I’ve said earlier, Karen is a light in the darkness for her friends and that’s pretty awesome too.
So there you go, three by five ways in which Guardian of the Dead and Karen (and Meat Loaf) are awesome.
Happy release day, Karen! Guardian of the Dead is an incredible book and I look forward to many more release days for you.
(1) Review to come.
(2) Not officially endorsed by Meat Loaf. Yet.