Title: Ghost Leopard (Zoe and Zak Series, Book #1)
Authors: Lars Guignard
Publication Date: July 21, 2012
Publisher: Fantastic Press
Recommended Age: 8+
Zoe and Zak are lost in exotic India, where gods and magic still exist. Before they can find their way home, they just have to do one little thing… …Save a mythical creature from an ancient evil that wants to rule the world. When Zoe Guire goes along on her mom’s business trip to India, things get very weird, very quickly. An elephant god speaks to her from the bottom of a swimming pool… She and her classmate Zak get locked in a trunk and shipped off to a strange city near the foothills of the Himalayas… and a crazy snake charmer tells them they’ve been chosen to protect a mythical creature called the Ghost Leopard from an ancient evil that wants to take over the world. As they travel deeper into the majestic mountains known as the Realm of the Gods, things get even weirder. If she and Zak want to make it back to their parents, they’re going to have to tap into powers they never knew existed. Because if they don’t, things will never be the same for any of us ever again.
Ghost Leopard was a fast-paced adventure story that is perfect for the 9-12 set! It follows Zoe and Zak on a mystical adventure through India, where they find that they are expected to protect a mysterious creature called the Ghost Leopard.
- The beginning. I thought that the book started out just a little bit slowly with a little more detailed explanation than a 9-12 year-old might prefer at the beginning of a book. While I loved that the book had lots of details about India's culture (see below), I thought that this level of detail worked a bit better once we were into the meat of the story and in the midst of the kids' adventures. The very beginning felt just a little bit rambly to me. I also thought that the way that Zoe and Zak ended up on their adventure in the first place was a little strange - I kept wondering why they wouldn't have tried a bit harder to get themselves out of their predicament (and the explanations given just weren't enough for me). Still, once the adventure truly started, I was definitely on board!
What I loved:
- India's culture. I loved that this book contained lots of information about India and its culture. Zoe gives a lot of details about what she sees around her and about what she has learned about India (from her research before she made the trip). I love the vivid descriptions of India and its people! I also really enjoyed learning a bit about the culture and the gods. Kids will be so wrapped up in the adventure story that they won't realize they're learning, though!
- Zoe and Zak's friendship. I loved how Zoe and Zak's friendship grew throughout the book. It started out as more of an acquaintance. Zoe knew Zak, but she didn't even particularly like him. She thought that he was a bit too hyperactive and impetuous and didn't really appreciate his constant enthusiasm for life. As the book went on, though, she really started to see that Zak's "flaws" could sometimes be benefits and she gradually came to see Zak as a true friend. I loved seeing this friendship grow!
- Nonstop action. Once Zoe and Zak are off on their adventure, the pace never lets up. There are constant dangers lurking all around them and they are pretty much constantly fighting for their lives. Throw in some really interesting mystical creatures and you have a recipe for a great MG novel!!
***Disclosure: This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given. All opinions are my own***
"Awesome! ~ I am 11 and I liked the book because I love adventures. It was a different kind of adventure from what I usually read and it was funny too. " ~ 5-Star Review from J. Olsen, Amazon
"This was a fun read. This book was like a kid's version of Indiana Jones. It's also very educational as Zoe tells you real facts about what she sees and the history. I enjoyed it immensely. If you have a 10-12 year old child that loves adventure books, this is definitely a must read. " ~ 5-Star review from Simone Lilly-Egerter, Amazon
"I'm sure this book was written for children who are around the age of the two children in the book, 11 or so. But, this 35 year old loved this book! It had action, adventure and imagination galore! It was exactly the kind of adventure that a lot of kids that age dream of." ~ 5-Star review from The Novice Christian, Amazon
About The Author: Lars GuignardPrior to writing novels, Lars Guignard wrote for film and television. As a teenager he attended boarding school in the Indian Himalayas and his experiences there provided the inspiration for the Zoe and Zak series which now include: Zoe & Zak and the Ghost Leopard, Zoe & Zak and the Yogi’s Curse, and Zoe & Zak and the Tiger Temple. He lives in the Pacific Northwest where he dodges bears and cougars while hiking & skiing the magnificent Coast Mountain Range. For news about new releases, please join his email list here: http://www.larsguignard.com/contact/
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