*Note, while I will try to avoid major spoilers, I sometimes won't be able to help it.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

"Zia" by Scott O'Dell

How did I not know that there was a sequel to Island of the Blue Dolphins? Thank you to the child that requested it a the library for getting me up to date!

I have read and re-read Island of the Blue Dolphins many times and each time I always wondered what happened to Karana. I have done research into the true story that inspired the book, but wondered if O'Dell would take this route or if he had other things in mind. And now I know.  Zia is told from the point of view of Karana's niece, Zia. Zia is determined to get to the island where Karana was left behind so that she can bring her aunt home. She and her brother Mando keep trying, but find themselves unsuccessful. Eventually Karana does make it their mission home, but overall is there for little of the novel. Aside from her determination to find her aunt, the book focuses heavily on Zia's life in Spanish mission and how she is torn between her family's traditions and how the world is progressing. Overall this an interesting book, but as a sequel I felt it was very lacking.

Island of the Blue Dolphins has so many elements that I love. I love reading how Karana builds her shelter, finds and prepares her food, how she trains her animals. Zia didn't really have much of that. It felt like a completely different book and I think it would have fared better had it not been a sequel, but instead been a book just about Zia with all references to Karana removed. In addition, it really bothered me how badly Zia wanted to find her aunt and not her uncle Ramo. As the reader, we know that Ramo is killed early in the first book, but Zia would have no way of knowing this. I'm not sure if O'Dell just didn't take this into account of if her choose to ignore it, but that little fact really bugged me. I wish that Ramo existence had been addressed and that eventually finding out that he had died was a bigger part of the plot as well. I realize that this is a fairly minor complaint, but for me it was very distracting. I'm probably not going to add this book to my re-read list. While it is a good book, it just didn't quite meet my standards.

Happy Reading!

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