I rarely find young adult prehistoric fiction to my liking, but Zan-Gah series by Allan Richard Shickman are both an exception to this rule and exceptional books overall. The books follow the basic trails and trials of a hero’s journey as the reader is immersed in adventures of the main character, Zan. In the first chapter, the young Zan slays a lion that has been attacking the tribes and establishes himself as a heroic, though entirely innocent, character. He sets off alone to find his lost twin, traveling through barbaric lands and even more barbaric warriors. In his search for his brother, Zan also manages to find himself. Although I am neither a young man nor a caveman, even I was easily able to relate to Zan from the get-go.
I don’t think Shickman actually knows the term “stagnant plot”. The books are short, simple, and easy reads; each page seems to turn itself in eagerness to continue with the spellbinding tale Shickman has woven. The adventure continues through the first book, Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure to the equally riveting sequel, Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country. Life never goes as planned, not even when you’ve found what you’ve always sought. Zan, as well as the captivated readers, learn this the hard way. Yet through all his adversities, Zan faces the world with the courage his father taught him.
I would recommend the Zan-Gah books to all readers with a taste for self-discovery in fantasy, but most especially to adolescent boys. That age is critical in formulating a love of learning, but the pool of literature there is small. It is an awkward place of attempting to define his place as a man, to bridge between the fairy tales of childhood and the classic literature of an adult. Zan-Gah, the innocent hero on a hero’s journey, provides both a role model and a depth of story rarely achieved in young adult fiction.
Hannah M. attends Brigham Young University where she studies Ancient History, Dance, and French. A self-proclaimed bibliophiles of the highest degree, she has a passion for all things written, chocolate, and feline.
This book was provided free of any obligation by Earthshaker Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.