Friday, August 5, 2011

Dael and the Painted People by Allan Richard Shickman

Summary (courtesy of GoodReads):   A prehistoric adventure, this is the third of the Zan-Gah young adult books. When Dael, guilty and tormented, came to live with the tribe of the painted people, he longed for peace and restoration; but without knowing it, he made a powerful enemy. Luckily, Dael had friends-including a troop of crows-and his own mystical powers. The disturbed and violent hero learns from the Children of the Earth, and from his submissive wife, a new way of life that is peaceful and generous. Dael and the Painted People is a story of conflict, healing, hate, and love by the winner of the Eric Hoffer Award, a finalist for the ForeWord magazine Book of the Year Award, and the Mom's Choice Gold Seal for Excellence in a family-friendly book series.

And here's what I thought:  This is the third in the Zan-Gah series, and it smoothly continues where the last story leaves off.   What I like about these books is that it is obvious that the author works in authentic details of what prehistoric life was (most likely) like.  He doesn't shy away from some gritty details just because the books are aimed at younger readers, and I think that's good.    The stories tend to have even pacing, interesting characters, and detailed descriptions.  

In this story, we follow Dael and his female companion, Sparrow as they set out looking for the Red People,  and then find them.   Dael isn't a perfectly likeable character, but he's interesting, and the more you read about him, the more you begin to understand him.   Sparrow is a good counterpoint to Dael - her personality is completely different, and how she relates to people is a good contrast to Dael, as well.   

This book, like the two before it, was a quick read, and an engaging story. 
First sentences: To dream of a head dripping with blood and look into its glazed and lifeless eyes might, even in sleep, leave the dreamer changed and chastened.

Thoughts on the cover:  I like how vibrant this cover is, with the red hand feeding the raven.  It reflects part of the story, and is eye-catching.


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