Zan-Gah (Zan-Gah series - Book 1) by Allan Richard Shickman
(For review from Earthshaker Books)
Zan, a young prehistoric boy gets respect from his clan when he kills a lion that attacks him. But, his spirit is troubled because of the disappearance of his twin brother, Dael. The two boys could not have been more different. Zan, the serious, quiet brother, while Dael was boisterous and happy all the time. Zan embarks on a quest to find his missing brother, who he somehow knows is still alive. Zan encounters other clans of his own people who they are constantly fighting and learns information that may help him.
Zan travels great distances and must face many obstacles in his search for Dael. He learns to make weapons of his own and becomes a man. When he finds Dael, is it not what he expects. Dael, is much changed due to his captivity. His spirit seems to have been almost destroyed and Zan is unsure how to help him. A young healer, Lissa-Na helps them to escape back to their home and it is obvious that she may be the only help to restore Dael's peace. After their return home, Zan must try to unite his homeland clans against a common enemy and become one clan and one nation instead of fighting amongst themselves. Will Dael find peace? Will the clans unite? Will Zan's love for Lissa-Na remain a secret?
Zan-Gah is a prehistoric adventure for pre-teens and teens. It is a short book that is easy to read and has a great story line. I think this is the type of book that would appeal to not only the YA audience but also to adults. When we first meet Zan he is a young boy, but as the story unfolds we see him grow and mature into a man. He has a great spirit about him, strong and intelligent, as he learns to fashion weapons for himself and find shelter and food, during his search for his brother.
Zan seems to understand that the tribes and clans of his own people would survive better together against common enemies than fighting amongst themselves. He gains a lot of respect from the lion hunt and from his rescue of Dael and is able to lead his people into becoming a new and united people under a new name and with a new purpose.
This book deals with several themes, one of them being the bonds between twins, which we see in Zan and Dael's relationship. Another theme would be putting aside your differences for the common good, seen in how the clans must come together to fight the wasp people.
I believe this book could easily be used by reading groups in schools or as an advanced reading book for middle and high schoolers. But, I think the best benefit would just be pleasure and getting kids interested in reading through adventure. Zan-Gah is definitely a book my daughters (ages 10 and 12) would enjoy. The author, Allan Richard Shickman has done a great job of creating a story that will appeal to all ages.
Look for my review of Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country later in the week. Both books in the series are available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I give this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!