Sunday, January 30, 2011

Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure by Allan R. Shickman

Genre: Young Adult

Paperback: 160 Pages

Publisher: Earthshaker Books

ISBN-13: 978-0-9790357-0-8

My Rating 4/5

She began to move warily in a circle as the men tightened the trap, and as they got closer the lioness began to stride and prowl in a circle so small that she almost seemed to be chasing her tail. But she was watching, watching while she turned and snarled, for a weakness in the ever-tightening ring of her pursuers. Then, at the moment the attack finally was sounded-when the men, putting down their drums and torches, charged on the run with their spears-the lioness saw what she was looking for. One of her enemies was smaller, weaker than the rest. There was a point of the strengthening line that could be broken! Thought merged with furious action and the beast, with a mighty bound of astonishing swiftness, darted toward Zan. Five hundred pounds of snarling fury sprang directly at him with claws bared and fanged mouth open!
 Zan-Gah: A prehistoric adventure has only begun. Pressed by love for his brother and a bad conscience, the hero undertakes a quest which leads to captivity, conflict, love, and triumph. In three years, Zan-Gah passes from an uncertain boyhood to a tried and proven manhood and a rold of leadership among his people. This dramatic and impassioned story will thrill and deeply move young adults and older readers. They will dream of Zan-Gah at night, and remember it all of their lives!

Allan R. Shickman wrote a beautiful tale about a young boy named Zan-later to be known as Zan-Gah. It really is a marvelous story and I really enjoyed it. I recommend it to everyone, if you like YA, which I'm assuming you do and that's why your my blog follower. 'Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure' is told as a story about Zan-Gah who lived a long, long, long time ago. Mr. Shickman does an incredible job of describing what life was like back then and how wild not only the animals, but the people really were. It gives you an in-depth look into life as it was back then, in prehistoric times.
Zan and his kindred lived in that dim period when there was no safety but that supplied by strength and cunning, when there were no laws but those imposed by nature and by humankind's own fierce desire to survive. People faced a constant danger, and not many lived to be old.
Shickman really gets the point across about how dangerous life was back then and just the intense realism of it all. The story starts out with Zan, and the rest of his tribe, prepping to hunt a lion that has been tormenting them. Zan is very young and would not have normally been allowed to go on a hunt but his father agreed against his mothers wishes. The whole lion hunt scenario has an underlying meaning, at least to me. All of these opposing clans/tribes worked together and pulled all their strength to try and defeat a common enemy. That being the lioness that is killing their people. Despite the fact that they are enemies, they work together. So the message being exactly that, if you put your differences aside and work together, you can achieve anything.

Shickman wrote with so much description and passion that it was easy to envision everything as you read along. You can literally see what Zan sees and sometimes, it can be very gruesome. Which leads me into how amazing Zan-Gah is as a character. He is so brave! It's astounding. During the lion hunt scene, my heart was racing and I was anticipating the worst. But Zan-Gah never let his fear show and never even thought about defending himself. It was like second nature to him and he just knew what he had to do to survive, even though it was his first hunt. Oh, I should mention that in the beginning of the book Zan-Gah starts out as just Zan but through his bravery and amazing conquest he earns the name Zan-Gah. It explains it all in the book, read it and you'll find out!

I really liked reading about everything with the tribes/clans. It was interesting to see their perspectives on different things in their day to day lives. And I'm sure, that even though this is a fictional story, it's accurate. Like one thing that stuck out to me was to hear how scars were like sacred markings. They even go as far to use a special healing substance that has ink in it (almost like a tattoo right?) that preserves the scars and makes them stand out.
They rubbed Zan's wounds with an inky substance which would aid in the healing, but leave dark marks when the wounds closed.
I liked when Zan-Gah was talking to the great elder, Aniah, from a different clan. As the reader, I learned a lot of valuable information about the world they live in, about the different clans and why all these clans are at war with each other. After Zan-Gah visits with Aniah he continues on his journey. I love the fact that the gift Aniah gave him was completely precious. It was such a crucial part of life for them:
It was a kit for making fire, consisting of a straight, pointed stick, a strap, and two small blocks of wood, plus some very dry grass.
What a treasure!
I found myself becoming more and more intrigued with Zan-Gah the more I read. I loved reading about Zan-Gah's different encounters with not only the clansmen, but the dangerous animals as well. He was always very brave and is so grown up for how young he is. Even in the face of imminent danger or a threatening situation, he remains calm and thinks logically. He outsmarts his attackers by quick thoughts and actions even though he could be killed in an instant.

Besides Zan-Gah, my second favorite character in the book (at least to read about) was Chul, the giant, and his tiny wife, Siraka-Finaka.
Standing on her toes, her nose just reached to his navel! But if she was small in size, she was mighty in spirit.

Each chapter in 'Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure'  is like it's own mini adventure. Zan going from place to place and confronting animals or people. There is always something going on in every chapter. There is not one dull chapter in the whole book! There's so much more I want to tell everyone about this book but, then I would spoil the book for you.

1 comment:

  1. I could tell you enjoyed Zan-Gah, and I'm so glad! Thanks for a fine review.

    Allan R. Shickman