Friday, January 3, 2014

Review - Zoe & Zak and the Yogi's Curse by Lars Guignard

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About the Book

Title: Zoe & Zak and the Yogi's Curse (Zoe & Zak Series, Book #2)
Author: Lars Guignard
Publishers: Fantastic Press
Publication Date: September 9, 2013
Pages: 340
Recommended Age: 8+

Summary

Zoe and Zak are back in India. Again. And this time they're attending Moonstock Himalayan Boarding School, which might seem fun except for the fact that the school itself is a little strange. Students ride elephants instead of school buses, snarling monkeys work as security guards, and angry parrots monitor the halls. And even when they manage to get used to the wildlife, the food is absolutely terrible. But living with a bunch of other kids their age can be a lot of fun, too, or at least it seems that way until Zoe's roommate goes missing. Following the directions written on a steamy bathroom mirror, Zoe and Zak fly through the clouds on their magic carpet to learn that the two of them have been chosen yet again. This time they've been asked to lift the Yogi's Curse. It's not going to be easy. Zoe and Zak don't even know what the Yogi's Curse is let alone how to lift it, but like it or not, they soon discover that a whole lot of people are depending on them. Now, if they're going to save the day, Zoe and Zak are going to have to fool the monkey guards, avoid the nasty parrots, and maybe even develop a supernatural ability or two. Because lurking beneath Moonstock is a powerful new enemy. And if Zoe and Zak can't stop him, nobody can.  

MY TAKE

I thought that Yogi's Curse was an excellent second book in the Zoe & Zak series.  It had all of the adventure and Indian culture that Ghost Leopard had, but I found the boarding school setting to be even more fun and interesting than the hotel setting at the beginning of the first book.

This book could certainly be read on its own, but kids would benefit from reading Ghost Leopard first so that they could see how Zoe discovered her powers and how Zak got his magical items!!

The negatives:

  • No adults.  The adults in this book seemed like very minor characters (in fact, Zak's dad and Zoe's mom aren't seen at all).  Considering that the book took place in a school, I wish we would have seen more interaction with the teachers and staff.  I'm hoping that we will get to know them more in future books!

What I LOVED:

  • India's culture.  Once again, this book contained lots of information about India and its culture (though I think it was sprinkled in a little less obviously than it was in the first book).  Kids who enjoy the Greek mythology roots of the Percy Jackson series will get some interesting enlightenment on the Hindi Gods and mythology in the Zoe & Zak series!
  • Moonstock.  The Himalayan boarding school that Zoe and Zak were sent off to was practically a character itself.  It was such a fun and unique environment, even with its musty rooms, lumpy mattresses and horrible food!  It was interesting to see how Zoe and Zak coped with suddenly being apart from everything they knew - it was great to see them forge some new friendships!  We also got to see a little bit of the "mean girl" at school, but that storyline didn't overwhelm the more interesting mystery in the story.
  • The mystery.  Speaking of the mystery, I thought that Guignard did an excellent job of building up suspense and giving us little clues that something wasn't right at Moonstock (without making things too terribly obvious).  There were a couple of fun twists that kept the story exciting too!
  • Zoe's powers and Zak's contributions.  We learned a bit more about Zoe's powers in this book, and there were some awesome action scenes.  I loved that Zak learned that he wasn't a sidekick and that his role in everything was important too (he saved the day more than once with his snake whip!).  We also got some more hints about exactly who (or what?) Zoe is - no actual answers yet, though.  We'll have to read the next book to find that out!!

Yogi's Curse is a thoroughly engaging MG adventure novel!  I highly recommend it! 4.5/5 stars.


***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***


Yogi's Curse by Lars Guignard
Purchase

Amazon (Print) | Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (Audiobook) | iTunes (Audiobook)

 

The Buzz

"I have a 10 year old son who is an avid reader!! He loves books, (but he's picky too) he loved Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. He was so excited to read the 2nd book in this series! When I presented him the first book he was not sure he would like it but changed his mind quickly, then when I heard about the 2nd book being released he almost jumped out of his chair! (no exaggeration) He is anxiously awaiting the 3rd book! I would say that any child who enjoys fantasy/adventure books should read this series! It is a well written page turner! It's a fun story that adults can even enjoy the storyline without getting bored! According to my son, 'every kid should read this series'. " ~ 5-Star review from SavyGreenSaver, Amazon

"I loved this book, even as an adult reading it. I was completely sucked into the plot and was constantly finding myself staying up "just a little longer" to read one more chapter. Different twists and turns in the book have you constantly guessing who is behind what and who Zak and Zoe can trust. I could definitely see myself being involved in this series as a middle schooler considering how much I enjoyed it even now. Another thing I liked about it is if you missed the first book, you could still follow along with this one and not be lost." ~ 5-Star review from Staci, Amazon

"Lars Guignard has done a fabulous job with this series. I loved the `Ghost Leopard' & love this one even more. For late-elementary to middle school age readers, you can't beat this series. It's fun and fast-paced. Even my picky fifth grader enjoyed every page. There are bits of magic thrown in keep the action exciting. Mr. Guignard has a brilliant imagination & readers are blessed that he's chosen to use it for YA fiction. If you've yet to read the first installment in this series, do yourself a favor and read these books back to back. Don't limit it just to kids! Adults will have a blast reading these too!" ~ 5-Star review from Liz Terek, Amazon
 

About The Author: Lars Guignard

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: Zoe&ZakAdventures@gmail.com

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The Yogi's Curse Blog Tour Schedule (2013/2014)

December 15
December 16
December 17
December 18
December 19
December 20
December 22
December 24
December 26
December 29
December 30
December 31
January 2
January 3
January 5
January 6
January 7
January 8
January 9
January 10
January 11
January 13
January 14

** Be sure to look for the upcoming Blog Tour for Book 3 in the Zoe and Zak Series, "Tiger Temple" coming January 15, 2014. **

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4 comments:

  1. Thanks for your great review of Yogi's Curse Nicole! I totally agree that the author did a great job building the mystery. I was so intrigued by the plot that I ripped through the book in only a couple of days! Thanks so much for joining us on the blog tour.

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    1. Yep, I read this one really quickly too. It was great fun!

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  2. Thanks for you thoughtful review of the Yogi’s Curse, Nicole. I love the fact that you called Zoe and Zak’s new school, Moonstock, practically a character in itself. I agree, it’s a pretty magical place. Anyway there’s a lot more to see of it in the third book, Zoe & Zak and the Tiger Temple. I’m dying to hear what you think. Oh, and there are more adults too:) Happy New Year!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! I'm definitely looking forward to reading Tiger Temple - this series has been great fun!

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