Thursday, June 24, 2010

BR: Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country

by Allan Richard Shickman

It’s been so long since I reviewed the first book! I’m so sorry for the delay, I just had lots of other books just stealing my attention away. I’m really glad I read the sequel to this prehistoric series though.

Summary (goodreads):
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.

My Expectations: Zan-Gah (#1) was decent, it wasn’t amazing but I didn’t dislike it either. I expected more or less the same from this one.

Delivery: Exceeded my expectations, but nothing really mind-blowing.

Put-down-ability: 8/10, read it in spurts.

My Thoughts

I was surprised by my enjoyment of this novel, I was genuinely interested in what was going on, and following the adventures of the Ba-Coro people into the Beautiful Country led by Zan-Gah. The whole prehistoric setting is a bit less in-your-face this time around, and personally I thought with a couple of twists and tweaks, it could really cross over into the fantasy genre quite well.

The conflict between the two brothers was well depicted in this instalment. My general dislike for Dael carried on throughout the majority of the novel, but it’s one of those things that I understand the reasoning behind it yet I don’t support or like it. The whole ending surrounding Dael was a bit anticlimactic, and really meh (I found it too unbelievable). The characters had a subtle level of depth to them, and I found them easier to pinpoint and remember (instead of getting confused with names all the time).

The plot itself was reminiscent of Zan-Gah in its constant movement, something was always occurring which was enjoyable. However, that being said it sometimes felt as if the story went in circles, with the fighting, conflict-resolving/negotiating, and back to fighting.

The writing was detached like book one, but I really wanted to comment on the expansive vocabulary portrayed within the story. I was impressed by the amount of more advanced words, so while the omniscient narration felt awkward at times, I felt that it could definitely be educational. Plus, the idea behind the novel will be appealing to teen boys. It’s tough to categorize this novel, because on one hand, it reads kind of like a MG novel with the action scenes, yet on the other hand there is quite a bit of violent battle scenes. If forced to pick, I would recommend it to boys grades 7-10.

Parting Thoughts: Extremely unique setting and plot, if you want to step out of your comfort zones, pick this one up!
Rating in HP terms (OWLs): Acceptable

7.1/10 – it was generally enjoyable but I felt that the action scenes were not enough to make up for a lacking in character development and growth. I was fascinated by the setting, however, and I really like how amazingly unique this whole prehistoric shenanigan is. The awesome vocabulary is beneficial to everyone too, overall a fast-paced, quick (150 pgs!) read. C+

source: Earthshaker books
Zan-Gah website


  1. What I love about these two books is that I've honestly never heard of any other book like them. It's fascinating that they take place in prehistoric times. I like that the vocab is more mature, too. It definitely sounds like a series that pre-teen boys would gravitate to. Great review!

  2. I love the honesty in your reviews! That is great!

  3. Your blog is adorable!! I found it over at Sandy Shin's! I love the titles of both of your blogs, very creative, much like your reviews!

    I'm with Kelli, the honesty is brilliant! Thank you for sharing!


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