07 September 2009

Zadayi Red by Caleb Fox Review

Zadayi Red is Caleb Fox’s debut book. The book was inspired by Fox’s Cherokee heritage. Though the book and the Galayi people are fictional, you may recognize familiar stories and customs.

The book is about a people called Galayi, which is divided into five tribes. It is like a state divided into counties. Each has their own rulers and customs, but they also have collective customs and rulers. The tale focuses on one boy, Dahzi that is raise by a medicine woman. He is the prophesied savior of the people. This is a large responsibility with which to grow up. Also, Dahzi’s own grandfather wants him killed at birth and declares war on the tribe that protects him. The tale is about Dahzi learning about love, rebelling against his destiny, and coming full circle to embrace the prophesy.

The book had a lot of strengths in the creation of a believable tribe and culture, but it also has some weaknesses. It attempts to tackle two very large themes: coming of age and the circle of life. It is too much for one book. I think the story would have more depth if it focused on just one of these themes. There are also some very awkward exclamations; things that do not sound right. For example, “damn” and “Hell” was used, but the Galayi people believe in the Darkening Land not Heaven and Hell. These types of statement were enough to temporarily break the moment of disbelief. Fortunately, Fox does have an excellent story and has an incredible talent for telling it. Putting these weaknesses aside, the book is worth reading and I think that future books by Fox will only get better.