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.
Although it’s not the type of thing I would normally pick up on my own, I enjoyed Zan-Gah when I read it in 2011, so I was curious to hear where our characters Zan and Dael would go next. It turns out that the twins’ next adventures not only give us more information about what’s happened to them, but also shows the reader how Shickman has improved as a writer. Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country was a fast-paced read filled with great characterization and juicy historical information.
When I first reviewed Zan-Gah, the author of the books left a comment about how Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country is geared at a slightly older audience. Considering everything that Zan and Dael endure both between the two books and in Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country, I definitely agree with this statement. I also thought that their characters were both much more well-developed and even more engaging for the reader.
Shickman particularly gives Dael a bit more focus and delves further into what has happened to him. Not only was this interesting to me, but I found it necessary to better understand his story. The one thing that became problematic at times was that Shickman became more experimental with his writing and while it was fine for the most part, there were a few times when I’d be reading and say, “That’s not quite working.”
Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country provided everything one could ask for from a sequel. I’m curious to see where Shickman takes his characters and readers next, so I’ll be reading Dael and the Painted People soon.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publicist in exchange for a fair and honest review. Thank you!