Dael and the Painted People is the third book in the prehistoric YA series by Allan Richard Shickman.
This is a follow-up to Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure and Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country. So, if you haven't read these first two books, you should avoid reading this review for risk of inevitable spoilers. You've been warned! :)
Dael's anger and instability have driven to leave his people and the Beautiful Country. He has decided to find the crimson people he's seen before, a people who paint themselves red. He wants to find relief from his guilt - relinquish his anguish and give way to peace.
The mute girl from his people, Sparrow, whose heart had been broken by her unrequited love for Rydl, joined him. It was a dangerous choice, but she had always been an outsider among her people because of her lack of communication anyway - so why not?
The two try to make a fresh start among the painted people - only to find that trouble seems to follow Dael...
Since the first two books were so emotionally charged and full of adrenaline, I was looking forward to this third book. I wasn't disappointed at all. Dael and the Painted People is a great follow-up, telling Dael's story in almost entirely third-person narration, with next to no dialogue. The fact that A. R. Shickman can pull this off without making it boring, just goes to show you his excellent storytelling skills.
Dael and the Painted People is riveting, inspiring, and interesting - a story of redemption, forgiveness, and love. Though it was sometimes a bit slow moving, or difficult to read because of the setbacks that hurt your heart, it is a novel that is easily identifiable to all the human flaws that are still recognizable to this day: jealousy, bitterness, hatred, and greed.
Somehow I felt that there was a bit of a predictability to the final quarter of it, which is surprising to me. But it didn't bother me too much. After all, it's a very good, fascinating story that made me almost want to cry. Here we have a very damaged individual in Dael - watching his attempts at healing was touching, and the final moments of Dael and the Painted People tugged at my heart.
The conclusion was satisfying enough to wonder if this will be the last book. I wasn't astounded by this book, but I was pretty close to it. An admirable choice for any bibliophile looking for something different - something prehistoric, a bit savage, and yet very much human.
Here we are in the last week of August (good-bye, summer! hello autumn!) and I just want to give all of you awesome readers a head's up: the Bibliophile Support Group will be back to only Monday, Wednesday, and Friday reviews starting on September 6th. This will continue for the foreseeable future. Still a ton of books to read and talk about - but let's give ourselves a bit more time to talk about each one! I encourage you all to comment and read as often as you can - this blog is here for us all to support each other in what is, in the end, quite an addictive lifestyle after all! ;)