Published: August 2011 by Earthshaker Books
Rating: 4 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I really liked it
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 the third book in the Zan-gah series, and I enjoyed it just as much as I did the first two.
The first two books are told from Zan’s point of view but this third book is all about Dael, Zan’s brother. In the beginning of the series Dael is a troubled and often times very violent character, but he slowly changes and kind of calms near the end of book two. In this story, Dael has left the Beautiful Country and his tribe the Ba-Coro along with Sparrow, a mute girl from his tribe. As they venture farther away from home, they eventually come to the land of a peaceful tribe who paints themselves all in red as a symbol of their connection with the earth. Dael and Sparrow make a home with this tribe, and with each other.
Sparrow, the tribe and Dael’s visions slowly help in changing Dael’s personality towards calm and peace. I enjoyed the way that this change was brought about – it doesn’t come all at once, but slowly over the course of the story. It’s easy to see the factors and people that help Dael to look inside and discover who he is, and who he wants to be. Allan Richard Shickman’s writing style is as beautiful as I remember from the first two books, and his writing sucks you into the story (it’s very lyrical).
The story, like the first two, is still just a collection of glimpses into Dael’s life with the Children of the Earth over numerous years. While the format works, I sometimes would have liked a bit more information or to see what was happening in between the chapters. The adventure and conflict drives the story along at a good pace and I was so happy to see enough reference back to the previous books that I did not feel the need to re-read them. The bits of information that are placed throughout the book allowed me to easily remember what events and people they were referring to, without feeling like I was getting an info dump along the lines of “previously, in Dael’s life…” All in all, Dael and the Painted People is a wonderful addition to the Zan-gah family.
ARC provided by Earthshaker Books in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!