ZiyZo is a magical action adventure story for young readers based in London. It follows the events after a thief escapes the 16th century with an artifact of immense power, the Magician’s Fire. This stone would allow him to conquer the 21st century.
His plan falls apart however when a miscalculation foils his ritual to unlock the stones power. An ancient god, entombed at the British Museum, offers to help him finish the ritual for his freedom—however he will need a young child sacrifice. Not only that, but the thief’s ex-bride-to-be on his trail.
First off this is definitely a book for children, pre-teens, and teens. This is not an adult story in content or plot. That is more than fine but be prepared that it isn’t for everyone.
That said this isn’t a bad book but it has rough edges. The first big issue is that point-of-view is a shifting 3rd-1st omnipresent. While not the worst thing in the world this makes the plot hard to follow. Chapters are broken into smaller subchapters (ex: 4.0, 4.1, 4.2…) and each subchapter may be only a paragraph or two.
This could be over looked but a large amount of exposition is carried between the inner dialogues of each character. Sometimes this happens in the middle of an action scene. Then the ideas of some characters get left off halfway through a thought leaving you wondering what was happening only to have it glossed over in the next subchapter with that character.
That aside there was other outstanding issues with the plotting itself. The characters, situations, and descripts were great however they felt thrown together at odd angles. For example to lure the child sacrifice to the British Museum he programs a video game, hosts 500 users, and picks one of them to be his special guest at the museum.
That took a lot of time, energy, and planning for a kidnapping. Why create a fictional video game to draw the child in if it serves no other purpose? The expense, upkeep, and time to create a complicated game world that on the surface doesn’t aid the plot or the character seemed strange.
The issue is that this could have gone one of two ways: 1) the children get transported to the ZiyZo video game world (or similar world) and use the game to solve problems) or 2) the game is never there and the thief simply nabs a kid out of a museum tour group at random.
This sort of existing plot issue dragged this book down. No matter how interesting the characters were they were overshadowed by the story elements that just didn’t quite make sense. These elements may have been explained but sorting it out was sometimes more effort than enjoyable.
The bad aside there was a lot good with this novel. The characters were interesting, well described, unique, and fun. This was a character driven story with lots of action, magic, and adventure.
It was refreshing to have a story that dealt with real issues like mental handicaps, divorces, and doing what’s right when everyone tells you to give up. It was a fun piece suggested highly for young readers.
I give ‘ZiyZo’ a 3 out of 5 dancing hamsters for dragons, fun, and adventure.
For your own copy check out the Amazon page at: http://www.amazon.com/ZiyZo-The-Magicians-Fire-ebook/dp/B00A284XP8/ref=pd_sxp_f_r