|Ghosts of Parihaka is the fifth book
in David Hairs Aotearoa series, or more correctly book two of the second cycle of
that series, and amply shows Mr Hairs growing skill and confidence as an author.
second cycle (another trilogy) is darker and meatier than the first; and not surprisingly
is aimed at an older audience than the first. In this cycle Matiu Douglas, the hero of the
cycles, has to deal with the reality of the death and loss of people known to him. He also
has to become a more active participant in the machinations of the adepts, tohunga and
demigods some friends some foes, all dangerous arrayed around him. And
during the course of these adventures stay grounded in his home life.
Ghosts of Parihaka sees Mat searching the mythic realm of
Aotearoa at Parihaka as one of his friends has been abducted there and is bound for forced
labour in Dunedin. Along with the villainy to be confounded and the friendship bonds being
strengthened is a new item in the mix: a jealous demigoddess has her amorous eye on Mat,
with terrifying effect. This last is something Mat has the greatest difficulty
acknowledging and, once acknowledged, knowing how to deal with after all at the age
of seventeen he is not one of lifes Lotharios.
I found Ghosts of Parihaka to be a excellent sequel to Justice
and Utu, book four in the series, and actually rate it higher as a
read-worthy book. Unusual for the middle book in a trilogy plot significant development
happened. I am looking forward to book six (title unknown) to find out how all the hanging
circles will be squared.