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Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure by Allan…
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Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure

by Allan Richard Shickman

Series: Zan-Gah (1)

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Zan-Gah by Allan Richard Shickman
A pre-historic adventure

Genre: YA adventure
Pages: 160
Published: 2007


The hero, Zan-Gah seeks his lost twin in a savage prehistoric world, encountering suffering, captivity, conflict, love, and triumph. In three years, Zan-Gah passes from an uncertain boyhood to a tried and proven manhood and a position of leadership among his people. Themes: survival, cultures, gender roles, psychological trauma, nature's wonders and terrors.


I wanted to read this book in order to really read a book and think about those it was meant for. To try to look past me.

This is the story of Zan who in the beginning kills a lion, one the tribes are hunting because it had eaten a child. By this people have new respect for him, and this is the time he sets out to find his twin that was lost 1 year ago. The road there is filled with dangers from animals, nature and hostile strangers.

This is a book that I would recommend for young boys, yes sure girls could like it too but I do think boys would really fall for this one. First there is the danger of the hunt for young Zan, the hunt where he manages to bring down a might lion. Then there is his dangerous trip. He only has himself. He have to find his own food and kill it. He invents a new kind of weapon, the sling and with this he can catch rabbits, and more. He learns how to take care of himself, he gets taken captive by a hostile tribe and he does have one great adventure trying to find his long lost brother.

He is a strong character and even though it is never mentioned how young he is, I knwo he is pretty young. The author also explains things that people back then did grow up more quickly, and had children early. And also that they died earlier. That is a good part of this book, the subtle explanations of things that is good to learn. Without it being to, learn this and by that perhaps making it boring. Now it really a part of the story.

He also deals with some darker issues like a trauma someone gets, how Zan-s uncle got tired of was and killing, and how harsh reality was back then. If they did not find food, the tired got weak and soon the were too tired to even hunt.

For myself this was an interesting little adventure about a young boy coming of age in such a different time. It made me think that there is not much fiction out there about this era, ok I know some but it would be nice with more.

It says ages 11 and up, somewhat younger kids could read it too, and of course adults too,

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: Come on, boys could pick that right.
Reason for Reading: The publisher sent it to me
Final thoughts: I do think young boys would enjoy this one

( )
  blodeuedd | Mar 2, 2016 |
This story is about a teen in pre-historic times, and his quest to find his twin brother who disappeared over a year ago. Zan-gah is brave and proud, and sure that if he starts his adventure, he will be rewarded in finding his goal. He encounters a lot of dangers and obstacles along the way, but never gives up hope.

I wish that I could say that I loved this book as I really enjoy adventure stories, but unfortunately, I had quite a few issues that I could not ignore. Overall, I thought it was OK, but I thought the concept could have been great and I had hoped for more.

First, I felt that the writing seemed to talk down to the reader. I know that this is a children's/young adult book, but readers still want to be immersed in the story and see the events through the characters' eyes. This was a book full of events that were told rather than shown, and after just telling the reader what happened, we were then told, with italics or exclamation points, what the events or actions meant, as if the reader would not understand. Perhaps these little asides were intended to draw in the reader, but to me they felt a bit condescending and repetitive. I think that this was done more to clarify what was happening than to condescend, but I didn't feel that the reiteration was necessary. We should be able to gather from context what a particular action or scene signifies, and examine that scene in relation to our own experiences. If every event is explained, we have no need to look for any other meaning or significance to ourselves, and it's then harder to connect or identify with the character without that bond.

I felt that the characters were interesting and diverse, but I didn't really feel as though I understood any of them. I did root for everything to come out OK in the end, but I couldn't really identify with the characters regarding their lives or choices or actions. I kept being surprised by the decisions that Zan made, because they were different than the ones that I would have made in his place. In a way this is a good thing, because I do generally enjoy unpredictable characters, but I admit that it did make me feel as though I didn't know Zan at all.

The second issue I had was the language used. It felt modern and out of place with the setting. The character names are all seemingly appropriate, and certain words in the presumed language of the pre-historic people, but then we have a teenage main character using modern English words like "proficient" that obviously didn't exist then. It just stuck out and unfortunately didn't work for me. Again, I realize that this was probably done in an effort to make the story more accessible to younger readers, but it was distracting and took me out of the story.

The third issue that I had was that there was just too much I found unbelievable. There were close calls, sure, but every time there was the least amount of trouble, the characters would find an incredibly convenient way out of it with little or no effort at all. Yes, Zan-Gah is described as resourceful, but he didn't really show this quality - and when he did, it was not his resourcefulness that benefitted him, it was luck or someone else coming to his aid.

There is a theme of unity and working together and loyalty that appealed to me, however. Zan-Gah helps to facilitate between his clan and those of his neighbors. Although it was effected very easily, with little more effort than gathering the people and making a short speech, still, he enacted a change for the better, and I did like that. I also liked the fact that he did not give up hope of his brother, and went to try to save him, against all odds, and knowing that he may never return. I was proud of Zan-Gah for his bravery.

I think that this book is one that younger readers may enjoy. ( )
  TheBecks | Apr 1, 2013 |
Would you have the courage to hunt a lion with only a spear? Zan is a teenage boy, much shorter than other young men his age and not very handsome, who lives in prehistoric times with his father Thal, mother Wumna, uncle Chul, aunt Siraka-Finaka, cousins, and other members of his clan. The five clans of the neighborhood sometimes are at war with one another and other times work together. As the book opens, they are united in seeking to destroy a lion who had slaughtered a child. When the hunters close in around the beast near the great rock Gah, it leaps out, and Zan happens to be at the right place and the right time to kill it, thrusting his spear into the lion’s neck. Aniah, the great warrior and leader of the northern clan, names him Zan-Gah.
Zan has a younger twin brother, Dael, who had just disappeared about a year before. Zan is sure that Dael is still alive, so he determines to go in search of his brother. After he starts out, he kills a snake and uses the skin to invent the sling. After passing through the Hru clan, he comes to Aniah, who tells him that his brother was probably captured by the wasp people, the clans’ age-old enemy. After entering the wasp people’s territory, Zan himself is captured by them, mistaken for Dael whom they think had escaped from the Noi people to whom they had sold him, and made a slave for a year, during which time he pretends to be dimwitted and learns many of their secrets. Escaping with help from Rydl, a young boy whom he has befriended, he goes on to the Noi and rejoices to find Dael. However, to get home they must escape the Noi and then pass back through the wasp people. Can they make it? Or will they be recaptured and maybe even killed?
It is interesting to read a novel for young people set in prehistoric times because I have not come across very many such books. Zan-Gah did a good job of holding my attention. The plot moved along nicely, and various aspects of the story tied together well to make a unified whole. There are a lot of excitement and suspense for readers with a sense of adventure. Some people may object to the killing of animals and the savage behavior of people, but the events are set in a time and place where killing and the threat of being killed were a part of everyday life for both humans and animals, and no graphic or gruesome descriptions are found. However, the book might not be appropriate for smaller children or those with especially sensitive natures. Teenagers and adults too will appreciate Zan’s passage from the uncertainties of boyhood to the strength of manhood. I certainly found it a satisfying read. There is a sequel, Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country.
  Homeschoolbookreview | Jul 6, 2011 |
Zan is a young boy in a prehistoric era when man used stones and sticks for their defense in a time where nature and man can be enemies to each other, but he's eager for to embrace manhood. In his first hunt, of a dangerous lion, Zan proves himself and receives his full name ~ Zan-Gah ~ along with scars to be proud of. Now being of the mans status instead of the boy status, Zan decides to embark on a search for his twin brother who wondered off a year before and never returned. Zan knows from his dreams and the shared soul that twins have, that he would know if his brother was dead. Zan leaves for his dangerous journey though unknown lands and unsafe camps, learning more of himself, the land, and even creating a weapon of his own.

This book is not my normal genre of read, but thinking of finding books I could share with my son really struck me with this book. So, I agreed to review the book. This book is a quick and easy read. I would suggest this book to young readers around 10-12 years of age who enjoy reading of prehistoric times.

There are a few secondary characters, but mostly you have your main character Zan. I didn't feel as connected to the character as I normally would in books, but this is a short read for young readers. I remember back to when I was younger and I didn't really want to read. I wanted books that where quick and to the point. This book fits that very well. But, toward the end of the book I started to feel more for Zan-Gah and the connections he was making in the world. But the book mostly focuses on his journey and some feelings he has around the times. ( )
  MelHay | Mar 30, 2011 |
While Zan-Gah is most definitely a different type of read for me, considering it's aimed more toward the younger audience, I can say that I definitely enjoyed it thoroughly. So thoroughly, in fact, that I actually surprised myself with how much I enjoyed the read. The story was full of adventures and moments that might take your breath away. Shickman's storytelling is wonderful. The writing was a little basic, but considering the age group and story, it did it's job to get the story across and still manage to evoke emotion.

Our main character is very courageous and I think one of the things that I find most interesting about this book is the character growth that you can actually see from the main character as the story unfolds. He literally grows before your eyes, doing what he has to in order to survive and find his twin. The other characters were just as fascinating, especially when you started to learn about the different clans.

The setting to this story is set in prehistoric times, which added a bit of uniqueness to this story compared to other books in its genre. The environment described were both beautiful yet scary at the same time, practically a force of its own to be reckoned with. The story moved fluidly, with no snags that made the story pause in any way. The ending felt not only believable, but very natural. It ends well, all things wrapped up nicely, but still leaves you with a feeling of wanting a little more... which is always a good thing.

I enjoyed Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure thoroughly. It's both realistic and enjoyable, full of action and personal growth. I'd recommend this for both middle grade and young adults, as well as some adults that may just want a quick, fun read. ( )
  missyreadsreviews | Feb 14, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0979035708, Paperback)

The hero, Zan-Gah seeks his lost twin in a savage prehistoric world, encountering suffering, captivity, conflict, love, and triumph. In three years, Zan-Gah passes from an uncertain boyhood to a tried and proven manhood and a position of leadership among his people. Themes: survival, cultures, gender roles, psychological trauma, nature's wonders and terrors.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:34 -0400)

When his twin brother Dael disappears, young Zan-Gah sets out alone on a perilous journey to find him.

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