Monday, July 26, 2010

Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country - Allan Richard Shickman

Well past the middle of the night Zan felt a shaking of his shoulder as he slept, and then an impatient foot kicking at him. Instinctively grabbing for his spear, he looked up and saw the orange glow of a torch, and as his eyes adjusted to the invading light he recognized his brother's ghastly face. Dael's dangerous brow was furrowed, and the vein of his forehead bulged under the old scar. His teeth were clenched, and his eyes darted nervously back and forth. His every motion expressed a profound agitation, and Zan knew that what he had been dreading had come.

"It is time, Zan. Let us go!"
"Where? It's dark!"
"I want to find where the river comes from."

The volcanic turbulence that shakes Dael's mind carries him to vicious extremes. It is Zan's task to calm his brother and lead him away from thoughts both destructive and self-destructive. But even the paradise of the Beautiful Country will not erase them.

Title: Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country
Genre: Young Adult, Prehistoric Fiction
Publisher: Earthshaker Books
Publication Date: September 26, 2009
My Rating: 4/5

Zan-Gah has returned with Dael in tow to the land of his people. Dael is not the same person he was prior to his abduction, and Zan-Gah is concerned for his well-being. Together, the clan decides to move to a more prosperous region, however Dael attempts to stir up conflict along the way.
I enjoyed this book more than the first one, more so because it captured my attention right from the start. The conflict between the brothers was portrayed beautifully, and I enjoyed how the characters evolved; though I felt heartbroken for Dael. He has definitely had a hard time adjusting to life outside of captivity, and still dwells on his past, making him an extremely troubled and volatile young man. Zan-Gah tries to understand, and gives him leeway, however Dael takes it to mean that his brother is passive, and that he is the more agressive of the two. He wants to become leader of the clan, and soon the clan is divided into two. I loved the evolution, and resolution given for several of the main characters. I felt that their progression was true to form. The imagery was also stunning and evocative. The description made the land, and vegetation stand out.
All in all, a successful follow up to the previous book in the series. Action abounds in this sequel, and we also get to see more inventions, and more of the inner workings of certain characters in this book.

Many thanks goes to Bonnie from Earthshaker Books for sending me this book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for two excellent reviews. Some reviewers like the first book better, and some the second—about half and half. The second book might appeal to more advanced readers. The characters are older, the vocabulary more extensive, and it's darker than the first. Keep up the good work.

Allan R. Shickman