Welcome! I'm Riv Re, teenager and aspiring author. I post Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Tuesdays are for book reviews; Thursdays are for a weekly meme called "Character Dolls," which showcases character depictions I made online; and on Sundays I just wing it.
This blog is for my writing misadventures, my reviews, ramblings, and rants. My favorite genre is fantasy, so expect a lot of the unusual.

Warning: I've got an awful sense of humor. Don't blame me if you keel up and die from reading the jokes I crack.
Notice: I hold no responsibility for any deaths caused by previously mentioned jokes.

Enjoy and happy reading!

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure Review

Hey Blogger Buds,
Wow. I feel like I haven't written a review in ages. Today I have Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure by Allan Richard Shickman. The book has some pretty impressive awards, and a very original world that I was excited to read. (Uh, hello? Prehistoric?)
{I received Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure, as well as the sequel Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country in exchange for an honest review of Zan-Gah: A prehistoric adventure. All opinions expressed here are my own, and were not influenced in any way.}
Linkage below, as usual.


Blurby (from Goodreads):
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 (ignore that bit) 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.

With an original premise and a simple writing style, Zan-Gah is great for younger kids. Zan's determination really shines through. It's an interesting, quick book, with a bittersweet ending.

Full Review:
Right off the bat, the tagline throws me off. "How could Zan fight...what he couldn't see?" I believe everything is pretty clear and visible.
It's a brilliant premise, with really high potential. It just didn't pull through. The characters could have had long, arduous struggles, but I didn't feel Zan's pain. Anyways I'll start at the beginning...
I'm willing to suspend belief, especially seeing as this is for kids. I can totally see a lioness attacking Zan and him accidentally-on-purpose killing her. I can totally see Zan being named "Rock"  by the head chief of the tribes. What I can't see is Zan's brother, Dael, getting angry and stalking off to go on his own adventure. I can't see Zan getting all chummy with the aforementioned head chief.
(Character time)
But I can see Naz, a warrior from an enemy tribe that captures Zan, treating Zan like garbage. Let's back up a bit; I need to rant about Naz a bit. Am I the only one who, the second his name is written on the page, said, "That's Zan backwards. That's gotta mean something." And it's very on purpose. In the end, Zan-Gah says to himself, "Maybe I'm not so different from Naz." I was like, "WHAT? You're very different from Naz!"
Anywho, that threw me off. But. Zan time.
Zan is a pretty good character. Strong, brave, slightly faulty. He's brave, and goes after his brother, even though he doesn't know where he's going. Zan is also amazingly resourceful. He made his own sling!
Other characters: I have a tendency to like supporting characters more than MCs, and this book was no exception. Rydl, a young boy who accompanies Zan, is so adorable and smart. He's just cute. Chul, Zan's massive uncle is like a simple child. He's nice and selfless, and does anything for his tiny little wife. It's a bit cliche, but cute anyway. And Dael...I'm not going to give anything away, but he was a nice surprise.
(Plot and writing)
The plot had a bunch of little stories scattered throughout it. Each chapter had something happen in it, a nice little story. Zan killing the lioness, Zan leaving, Zan making a sling, etc. Cute, but a bit chunky.
The writing was very simple and clear. A bit too much Tell, not enough Show. (yes, they get capitalized, because I said so.) But this makes it much easier for younger kids.
And the last page was...interesting. (I really don't know if I liked it or not.)

I don't really recommend books for a certain age, usually, but I would recommend this for younger kids, 8-10. I think I would have enjoyed the book more if I was younger.

I may give away my copy, so be prepared for that.

Rating: 3 stars Mediocre book. Not compelling, but interesting.

Linkage: Goodreads Book Site Amazon Book Depository (want more links? let me know, and I'll add them in the future!)

So, have you read Zan-Gah? What did you think of it?


Current Music: Land of Youth (Tir Na Nog) by Máire Brennan (I know, it's random. But I was looking for music for a fairy project I started.)


  1. Hm. This one might be a little young for me but the premise does sound interesting. The tagline throws me off as well, you're not alone in that!

  2. Hi Riv,
    Thanks for reviewing. The tag line refers to Chapter 11, which has to do with Dael. I can't imagine an 8 year old reading Zan-Gah. I think of it as appropriate for 11-15 year olds. The sequel, Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country, is perhaps a year "older." The third Zan-Gah book, DAEL AND THE PAINTED PEOPLE, is coming out August 30, but can be pre-ordered at www.zan-gah.net or www.zan-gah.com Keep on reading and writing.

    Allan R. Shickman

  3. I’m impressed!! Really informative blog post here my friend I just wanted to comment & say keep up the quality work. I’ve bookmarked your blog just now and I’ll be back to read more in the future my friend! Also nice colors on the layout, it’s really easy on the eyes.

    Tours to Morocco


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