Friday, June 25, 2010

Book Review: Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country

The prehistoric saga continues in Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country, the sequel to the award winning Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure. In this story, Zan s troubled twin brother, Dael, having suffered greatly during his earlier captivity, receives a ruinous new shock when his wife suddenly dies. Disturbed and traumatized, all of his manic energies explode into acts of hostility and bloodshed. His obsession is the destruction of the wasp men, his first captors, who dwell in the Beautiful Country. When he, Zan-Gah, and a band of adventurers trek to their bountiful home, they find that all of the wasp people have died in war or of disease. The Beautiful Country is empty for the taking, and Zan s people, the Ba-Coro, decide to migrate and resettle there. But the Noi, Dael s cruelest enemies and former tormentors, make the same migration from their desert home, and the possibility develops of contention and war over this rich and lovely new land.

--From Goodreads

Cover Inspection:
This is exactly what I pictured Dael would look like!

First Thoughts:
Not as quick of an opening as the first book, but I'm still intrigued!


My Review:
Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country picked up exactly where the first book left off, but this time the story focuses more on Zan's brother, Dael. This made me extremely happy, since my what I missed in the last book was getting to know more about the other characters. Again I must say I was impressed at how quickly the story grabs your attention. The death of Dael's wife causes him so much grief, that he retreats deeper into himself and becomes a shadow. All he dreams of now, is vengeance.

The huge divide between Zan and Dael is what really drives this story forward. Although they are working towards the same goal at times, ultimately they come at it with two entirely different points of view. As always, Zan is kind and resourceful. However now he must deal with a torn heart. His brother Dael has become a vengeful person, caring more about his vendetta than his tribe. Now Zan faces the choice between doing what is write for his tribe as a whole, or choosing to side with the brother he still feels a deep love for.

In this particular story, the tribe follows Zan and Dael to a gorgeous new part of the land, where food and water are plenty. I was extremely impressed at the vivid description of this "beautiful country", since it stood out so well against the arid landscape the tribe had called home before. It was also very refreshing that Zan had an understanding of how difficult it would be for all of his people to get to this new land. I noticed in the first book that Zan never had a problem going back and forth, but I wrote it off to the fact that he was young. Seeing his tribe endure real hardship on their move brought me back to the reality of having to trek such a far distance on foot. Again, the perfect way to further immerse you in the story.

As I mentioned above, Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country is not only another beautifully woven story, but it gave me everything that I was missing in the first book. This book once again moves at the perfect pace, always allowing you just enough to keep you completely immersed in this prehistoric landscape. Allan Richard Shickman has created a unique and intriguing world that I enjoyed so very much. I sincerely hope there is a third book very soon! I'd love to see what happens to Dael after he journeys out alone.

Book Details
Title: Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country
Author: Allan Richard Shickman
Publisher: Earthshaker Books
Pages: Paperback; 151
Source: Received from publisher.
FTC Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review.

Final Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart
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