Zoe & Zak and the Yogi’s Curse by Lars Guignard

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I wrote last year about a book Ghost Leopard: A Kids’ Magical Fantasy by Lars Guignard  and this year I’m participating in a blog tour about the second book in the series: Zoe & Zak and the Yogi’s Curse. For anyone who doesn’t know, a blog tour involves someone (in this case Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews) coordinates a number of other bloggers to write about the book on a schedule. I was given a free e-copy of the book to review but, as always, I get to write whatever I want.

Zoe & Zak and the Yogi's Curse is a wonderful children's fantasy set in India.In The Yogi’s Curse, Zoe and Zak have returned to India, this time to attend boarding school on the edge of the Himalayas. Despite the abundance of magic around, this definitely isn’t Hogwarts, and that isn’t just because elephants instead of horseless carriages deliver the students to the school. The school is rather darker, with less helpful school authorities and a definite lack of edible food. Their classmates seem generally normal with Zoe and Zak alone living this dual life of school kids and magical adventurers.

The book is written in first person from Zoe’s point of view, so the narrative is a little wandering, and that wandering helps to allow the introduction of all sorts of interesting details. The book has great suspense filled magical mystery, but the real joy is in the very humorous, human details that fill in the spaces between big plot turns. Zak’s trying to record a Vblog this year. Zoe’s learning to be away from home and deal with getting to know new people. The kids go sunbathing on the roof. The clothing is washed in a creek and one of the ‘chores’ everyone does is filling out the lists of what clothing they’re sending for cleaning. Finding edible food is an ongoing concern.

There’s a lot of talk in the book about luck. Good luck or bad luck, and can good luck be bad luck in disguise?

Another theme I noticed is a question of trust. Who do you trust? There’s a scene where Zoe starts confronting someone who was a mentor to her in the previous book and I sat at the edge of my seat wondering if she was right to make the decision she seemed to be making. And in a setting where magic is rampant, can you really trust people are who they seem?

It is a fun easily readable book. The Indian mysticism is a nice treat and the characters are fun. Besides, it gives me a great excuse to buy a sample of Himalayan rock salt at the natural foods store next time I go, just to show the kids what they were talking about in the book. Maybe they’ll want to carry some with them in case they’re ever attacked by big flaming birds. You never know, right?

You can read other reviews by skipping over to the blog tour page, as new reviews will become available.


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