Monday, May 9, 2011

Review of Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure by Allan Richard Shickman

Zan-Gah:  A Prehistoric Adventure (Zan-Gah, #1)
Zan-Gah, seeking his lost twin brother in a savage prehistoric world, encounters adventure, suffering, conflict, captivity, and final victory. In three years hero passes from an uncertain boyhood to a tried and proven manhood and a position of leadership among his people. Themes include survival, brotherhood, cultures, gender roles, psychological trauma, and nature's wonders and terrors. This is the electronic version of Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure, which has been awarded Mom's Choice Gold Medal for Series, the Eric Hoffer Notable Book Award, and was a finalist for ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year.
If you’ve been searching for the perfect novel for a young boy you know, who falls somewhere in the age range from third to eighth grade, look no further. I have to admit, with it’s particular setting and stories of hunting, I wasn’t sure what I would think of Zan-Gah. With it’s themes of survival in the wild and coming of age, Zan-Gah is a quick read and perfect for middle-grade male readers.

Perhaps the most unusual aspect of Zan-Gah is the prehistoric setting, which adds an enjoyable element of adventure to this book. Zan’s hunting skills and fight for his survival are necessary, instead of just being there for the reader’s entertainment. This novel also dealt with some heavier themes including cultural disagreements, trauma and family.

Even though Zan-Gah appealed to my adventurous side, I admit that I would have liked more depth in both the characters and the writing. Zan is alone for the majority of this book, so there isn’t a whole lot of dialogue, and all of the description without many breaks occasionally slowed the book down. As for Zan’s character, I usually enjoyed seeing his development, but at times he struck me as a bit too virtuous and perfect.

The setting and plot of Zan-Gah made it very different from anything else I’ve read, and I appreciated the diversion. While this one didn’t compel me enough to earn a place on my favorites shelf, I’ll be interested to see how the heavier themes develop in Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country. I’m looking forward to sharing this new to me series with younger readers.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. Thank you!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Liz, thanks for reviewing. I was a little surprised that you considered Zan-Gah suitable for third-graders. I think of it as an age 11 to 15 book. I guess it all depends on the reader.

    I hope you enjoy the sequel, Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country. It is slightly "older" than the first book. The third of the series, Dael and the Painted People, will be out this summer. I hope you will review it too.

    A. R. Shickman

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