Monday, September 5, 2011

Book Reviews and Giveaway Reminder!

On September 1, the featured author was Allan Richard Shickman, author of the Zan-Gah series. Here, now, are my reviews of the first two Zan-Gah books, ZAN-GAH: A PREHISTORIC ADVENTURE, and ZAN-GAH AND THE BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY. Just a reminder...Mr. Shickman is giving away ALL 3 of the Zan-Gah books to a lucky commenter!!! Comments can be left on this post, or on the interview post found here.



When Bonnie at Earthshaker Books asked if I would read and review the ZAN-GAH books, by Allan Richard Shickman, I was slightly dubious. You see, my genres of choice are epic fantasy and classic literature, but as a home-school mom, I concluded that the books might be good reads for my thirteen-year-old son, and so agreed; I am glad that I did. This is a beautifully written, engaging story, set in prehistoric times, about the coming of age of a boy named Zan. 

In the first book, Zan gains the respect of his tribe by killing the lioness thought to be responsible for the death of a small child. This feat earns him the title Zan-Gah -- or Zan of the Rock, after the place where he began his trial of manhood, and where he stood, immovable, in the face of danger. It also infuses Zan with the courage needed to embark on what is sure to be a difficult and potentially deadly journey.

This is the type of book that I would not be surprised to find on a multitude of junior-high/middle school suggested reading lists. While the book was a little slow, and difficult to get into at first, (perhaps because of my inexperience with the genre), by the third or fourth chapter I was mesmerized. I enjoyed the imagery created through the author's vivid descriptions, the depth of the characters and especially the subtle transition of Zan from uncertain youth to strong, mature leader. I recommend Zan-Gah for both YA and adult readers alike.


In book number two, ZAN-GAH AND THE BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY, the already rich tapestry created in the first book becomes even more complex as Zan's twin, Dael, struggles with some pretty powerful inner-demons, thus creating conflict and turmoil for his brother and all those around him. Zan is challenged with attempting to subdue Dael, while keeping his people united, as their large tribe migrates from their home to a new and unfamiliar land.

I enjoyed this book, although not quite as much as the first. It was still very well written with an appealing plot, but at times, I felt a bit like I was watching a Discovery Channel documentary. (I should reiterate that this is not my usual genre of choice). I did, however, love the female characters Pax, and Siraka-Finaka who were strong, animated and endearing. I also felt that the principles of forgiveness, unconditional love, and power to overcome hardships were all skillfully integrated. I recommend ZAN-GAH AND THE BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY to readers who enjoy a profound, exceptionally-told, book list worthy adventure.

Now get commenting everyone! Good Luck!!

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