Thursday 18 March 2010

Review: Zan-Gah and the beautiful country - Allan Richard Shickman

Zan-Gah and the beautiful country by Allan Richard Shickman

Genre: Historic adventure YA
Pages: 2009
Published: 151

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.

This is the second book about Zan-Gah and his adventures in a prehistoric environment. In the last book he saved his brother and invented the sling. In this book he is married and his brother has lost his wife and is only getting stranger and more violent. The torment he suffered while a slave has put deep wounds in his soul. Dael is a tortured soul. Zan-Gah only wants to help. He finds a bit of hope when the tribes move away to a new land.

Dael is really really far along in this book, Zan-Gah has my sympathizes and he dearly loves his brother and tries to protect them. But his brother is leading them to ruin because he is violent and hateful.

Zan is the same nice person who wants peace and to give the tribes a better future. He is also rather blind at times, when it comes to his wife and when it comes to his brother.

This book is darker and more violent than the previous. I think it said 11 and up and there I do agree because there is death and war and bloody murder in this one. Still he writes it in regard for the age group so nothing violent and such written. But it is there, and yes it was another time but still the age should be held here because since it was a different time they might wonder how everyone got married early and had kids and such.

This book is about the journey towards a new land, settling there, the rift between two brothers and how wrong things can be. it also has a strong woman in it, Zan's wife Pax, and it deals with a lot of emotion. Serious things among the rest. An interesting YA book about an era we do not get to read much about.

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: That is Dael, the scary looking one
Reason for reading: From the publisher
Final thoughts: I do think teenage boys could like it, the action, the adventure


  1. Is this the final book in the series?

  2. I don't think I've read any books set in the prehistoric time period. This one sounds pretty dark and very serious, and one my son probably enjoy.

  3. Hey Blodeuedd! Just wanted to drop by and say HI!!!!! Hope all is well honey!

    Great review.. although I am not a big YA fan! You do it justice though!
    Have a great day!

  4. Thank you for your really thoughtful review. You are right that kids under eleven probably should not be reading Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country, or the first Zan-Gah book either without adult guidance. In the second book the characters have grown up, and that points to a somewhat older audience (above 13?). Moreover, as you say, the tone is darker and even more intense than the first book. Finally, the vocabulary is more extensive and challenging. I like to challenge young readers, because the little devils are smarter than we think.

    A. R. Shickman

  5. This sounds very intriguing! I think I might like this one and I do enjoy a good YA book every now and then. Great review :)

  6. Agreed, I love all your reviews!

  7. Chris,
    I don't know, I guess so. The books can be read on their own too. But of course here you learn what happened before.

    It does make me wish for more, I mean not an era we see that often.
    Yup I am sure he could enjoy it

    Thanks Cecile!
    We can't all like YA, I mean I didn't, that I thought I didn't, how wrong I was

  8. Hi Allan
    Above 13 seems like a good age to read these books. I did read that amazon had it for 9-12 but no not for this one
    I did like that the tone was darker and more intense. Because it felt fitting the time, and especially after what Dael had gone trough.
    They are sure smart so good to give them to think about now and again.
    And last, I did what you did in the first book where you said that they shouldn't try the things he mentioned.

  9. Krista,
    It is sure fun to read different kinds of YA and this time I really tried to think like a teen

    I am glad to hear that :D

  10. I simply can't get Amazon to correct their (or our) mistake, namely, that the Zan-Gah books are OK for nine-year-olds. They aren't intended for them. Somehow, they have it set in stone. I recommend the stories for kids 11 or older, up to and including adults. I think Zan-Gah would be good for high school age as well as middle school, because the books are not "dumbed down." To make the books acceptable for youngsters, I left out explicit sex and bad language. Didn't want them. Didn't need them.

    A. R. Shickman

  11. I think I was offered this book to review, but now I can't quite remember...

    I think that cover is scary! It sounds like a fun series to read to discover prehistoric times but that period doesn't really appeal to me for some reason.

  12. I really do need to read these soon.

  13. Allan,
    Yes I think it was on the site I got from the email I read 11, and that sounded great, but then I saw 9 on Amazon. Bit too young yes. But for older kids as you say they are very good, and as for the things you left out. Not really anything that these books would or should need.

    Well not the first time I have seen something like that on Amazon

  14. Aarti,
    Lol, a friend said that too. She looked at the guy in the book said it. And he does look scary but then he is scary in the book.
    I read some adult books from that era when I was 11 or something. I was such a weird kid. But they were cool.

    I hope you like them. My first ever review, trying to look at it from a kids POV. And not my POV

  15. It does sound like a series that kids will enjoy..I'll have to look into getting them for my school library!

  16. Staci
    Seems like a good idea :)

  17. great review :)
    I will be reading both of these soon.

  18. Naida,
    I hope you'll like them then :)

  19. I bet The Girl would enjoy this series.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  20. Anna
    She might just do that :)

  21. WOW! All of a sudden the Zan-Gah orders have started pouring in. I don't know what happened. It must be all of those blog reviews I have been getting lately. Not a single order for a while, and suddenly I am selling Zan-Gah by the case! I may even have to go to press again (3rd printing!). My thanks to you, to my many reviewers, and to all of my new readers. People are paying attention.



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