Harrowing Hijinks in the Himalayas: Book Review of "Zoe and Zak: The Yogi's Curse" by Lars Guignard
Melinda T. Falgoust
"Meet me in the Moon Surrie Bazaar, Mud Devils..."
The mysterious message greets twelve-year old Zoe Guire in the steamy fog of her bathroom mirror at the far-flung and eccentric Moonstock Himalayan Academy for Boys and Girls. Peculiar though the message might sound, strange and bizarre events are nothing new to junior yogi Zoe and her carefree (and sometimes careless) Zak Merrill. The two tweens, fresh from the breathtaking adventures of Lars Guignard's "Zoe and Zak & the Ghost Leopard", once again find themselves in exotic locales faced with daunting and dangerous foes like fire-winged birds, snot-nosed elephants, and room-ruffling bullies.
In this sequel, which drops just enough Hansel and Gretel-like backstory breadcrumbs to read well as a stand-alone, the two find themselves embroiled once again on a world-saving quest at the behest of Muktha, a sort of mystic Charles Townsend to Zoe and Zac's angels...er, devils.
This time around, the mysterious yogi sets them on the path to release the Yogi's Curse. Dispelling an ancient curse should be nothing to the intrepid duo, armed with a magical cobra-headed whip named Stryker and a snazzy magic carpet, alias "Doormat". All they have to do is get past the snarling monkey guards patrolling the school grounds, sneak past the eagle-eyed squawking parrot hall monitors...oh, and survive the danger posing as dining hall dinner.
New schools mean new faces, and besides Amanda S. Mean" Meengin, the resident bully, Zoe and Zak easily make friends with the widely assorted palette of children that populate Moonstock Academy. But, when Zoe's new roommate Anita goes missing and not a single soul claims to know who she is, Zoe's impending sense of adventure (with a side order of doom) starts to tingle.
This Zoe and Zak adventure once again succeeds in painting a beautifully detailed canvas that captures the varied and intense colors of the Indian culture and landscape. There are moments of intense peril that may prove overpowering for a younger middle-grade reader, but most lovers of grand adventure should appreciate the "King Solomon's Mines"-scope this action-adventure story takes. It is a novel better-suited for children rather than adults, as Zoe's narratives echo a distinctive adolescent tone and timbre. Reader's aged 9-12 will willingly follow Zak and Zoe along on their adventure.
Follow the adventure trail with Zoe and Zak on the blog tour link at Mother Daughter Book Reviews ( see tour button in sidebar) or visit the author's Goodreads page and website. Want to read where it all began? Check out the purchase link at Amazon.