Friday, February 4, 2011

Zan-Gah And The Beautiful Country by Allan R Shickman

Reading Level: Young Adult

Paperback: 160 Pages

Publisher: Earthshaker Books

ISBN-13: 978-097903571-5

My Rating: 4/5
Well past the middle of the night Zan felt a shaking of his shoulder as he slept, and then an impatient foot kicking at him. Instinctively grabbing for his spear, he looked up and saw the orange glow of a torch, and as his eyes adjusted to the invading light he recognized his brother's ghastly face. Dael's dangerous brow was furrowed, and the vein of his forehead bulged under the old scar. His teeth were clenched, and his eyes darted nervously back and forth. His every motion expressed a profound agitation, and Zan knew that what he had been dreading had come.
"It is time, Zan. Let us go!"
"Where? It's dark!"
"I want to find where the river comes from." 
The volcanic turbulence that shakes Dael's mind carries him to vicious extremes. It is Zan's task to calm his brother and lead him away from thoughts both destructive and self-destructive. But even the paradise of the Beautiful Country will not erase them.

Let me start off by saying that 'Zan-Gah And The Beautiful Country' was infinitely better than I had predicted. I always seem to have the same thought process about books. That the first one is always going to be amazing and then the series will just get worse as it goes but that was not the case with 'Zan-Gah And The Beautiful Country.' This book takes you on an emotional roller coaster. One second you're happy and everyone's celebrating a pregnancy, a new beginning, an impossible victory. The next minute, everyone's crying because Dael lost control again, there was a death-or two-or there is going to be a war. There is just SO much going on in this book but it's never overwhelming.

Within the first 10 pages of 'Zan-Gah And The Beautiful Country' I was tearing up. There is a heartbreaking stream of events that happen with poor Dael and the results of those woes puts everyone in the Ba-Coro clan in imminent danger. Dael is uncontrollable! His story really pulled me into this never know what he is going to do next. I have been thoroughly impressed with Shickman's writing in both 'Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure' and in 'Zan-Gah And The Beautiful Country.' His literary skills are immaculate!

In the second installment of the Zan-Gah series, we get to meet Pax. She is Zan-Gah's wife. She is a hunter and her grandfather (the Great Elder) allowed her to hunt with him even though it was frowned upon because Pax is a woman. Zan, being the lovable, good natured, equal rights person he is, encourages his wife to hunt because she loves it and he doesn't care what people think. Dael in particular gives Pax a hard time about hunting. Claiming that she is a man and always using any opportunity to laugh at her expense. In all fairness, Dael seems to hate everyone.

I keep talking about Dael because he intrigued me the most in this book. At one point in the first book, Zan-Gah spotted a rock that he called to thinking it was his brother. It looked exactly like him-or Zan himself because they are twins. In this book, the rock is mentioned again by Zan:
Yet how much Dael resembled (not only physically!) that unfeeling column-rigid and unyielding, hard-and how different it was from what Dael formerly had been!
I can't express how completely out of control Dael was in this book. He has completely lost it! He's mean to everyone-especially Rydl. And I have to agree with Zan-Gah when he makes a brilliant observation about Dael, claiming that Dael is not in his right mind. I really want to use a quote here but it would give a lot away from the first and second book so I decided not to. I don't like to spoil books for people!

I love the way all the characters have developed from the first to the second book. For example, Rydl was raised by the wasp men. Yet, he's an incredible person in book 2. He turns out to be quite the little inventor creating all sorts of miraculous things and teaching people.

'Zan-Gah And The Beautiful Country' is a perfect sequel to 'Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure.' I highly suggest that everyone check it out. I was a little unsure of the series at first but now I'm glad to have had the opportunity to read it. I love finding hidden gems!


  1. What a nice review! Thank you for your enthusiasm. I try to write with feeling, but the reader also has to read with feeling. You did.

    Allan R. Shickman

  2. I'm bloghopping today, seeing what people are currently reading, befriending new blogs. I'm reading a children's book from New Zealand called Under the Mountain that is on the 1001 Children's Books You Must Read list. Excellent.

    And I am your newest follower! Hope you will stop by my blog and say hello!

  3. Good answer! The answer on my book blog is a little embarassing; it’s a book that’s been sitting on my TBR pile for a year.

    To my shame, I only opened the book because I remember it contained an Amazon gift card.

    All the sordid details on my book blog –

    Hop on over!

    Howard Sherman