Guardian of the Dead was an incredibly unique story that takes readers into a land that many may not have explored before... New Zealand. To be perfectly honest, before reading this novel I knew close to nothing about New Zealand, its people, or its customs. The idea that I would be able to explore a land that I was unfamiliar with really made me excited about being able to sit down with this book. Healey creates a wonderful setting for her unique novel. New Zealand is described in a beautiful and lush way that makes the reader feel like they are really there with the characters. Her writing style and overall plot were well developed. However, her characters... not so much. I felt like the characters that I met in the beginning of the novel were not much changed from those at the end.In addition, I had a had a really hard time with the references to the Māori. For about 2/3 of the novel, Healey gives descriptions of the Māori and its customs, but little in the way of context information. Now, I know that most of this issue is my own fault. To be honest, (and please don't laugh too hard) I did not realize that there was a glossary at the back of the book until I finished the novel and was reading the acknowledgements. For some reason, it never occurred to me that that handy, little glossary would be at the back of the novel. So for most of the novel, I had to put it down and go look up information. Personally, I would have preferred if Healey had given the contextual information in the beginning of the novel like she did towards the end. I believe that this would have made the novel flow a little easier and kept readers glued to the pages.While I would not say that I loved this book, I definitely enjoyed parts of it. I loved the idea that "we" bring the stories to life. And how our thoughts about such stories really have an impact on shaping them. This was a very intriguing idea for me. Guardian of the Dead was not a complete hit for me, but it was neither a miss. There are definitely parts of this book that work and some that could probably use a little working on. The overall idea is there and the characters, for the most part, were interesting, but I just wish that parts of the novel did not feel so discombobulated.Readers should be aware: This novel contains a moderate amount of curse words. There is also a few references to drinking and underage drinking. However, readers should be aware that the drinking age in New Zealand is 18, not 21. The novel also contains a few kissing scenes and sexual references, but nothing too graphic.