Publication Date/Version: August 2009/Paperback
Publisher: Beaver's Pond Press
Age Group: Middle Grade/Young Adult appeal
Received From: Reader Views Kids
Zillah is an orphan in ancient Persia living in a caravan serai--a safe haven for desert travelers. Other children taunt her because of a birth-mark on her face and strangers think it is the sign of a curse. Her future is grim until a royal caravan comes to the serai, following a wondrous star. Zillah has seen that star, though it is invisible to those around her.
Through a series of amazing events, Zillah embarks on an adventure, full of danger, trying to protect her most precious secret.
Zillah is a simple girl living in a caravan serai in the Persian desert. She works under her oppressive aunt and uncle, hoping to one day gain her freedom. A birthmark across her face scares many, leading to taunts and jokes. Zillah, however, is strong and knows that she will do something greater with her life. When a royal caravan comes through and notices her curiosity, Zillah is taken on their journey following a glorious star that only some can see.
I went into Zillah's Gift expecting simple storytelling and, overall, an average book. This is once again a case of don't judge a book by its cover! I was plunged into a rich setting, interesting time period, and wonderful story.
Zillah is a headstrong, independent young girl who is full of respectable morals and wishes. She was the kind of character that you root for from the beginning. Ms. Duffy had a fairly simple way of telling the story, but it was captivating nonetheless. The details were plentiful and I could easily see the picturesque setting.
I am a big fan of historical fiction, and I was pleased to find that Zillah's Gift took place in a time period that I have never read about. It was pleasantly surprising, and I'm eager to seek out more stories in this time period.
Zillah's Gift is a gem of a surprise, with a touching story packed inside of a great setting. I recommend this to everyone, especially those who enjoy historical fiction.
Overall: A surprisingly wonderful read. Interesting setting. Great storytelling.
My Advice: Buy it. I'm happy to put it on my shelf.
The Cover: It fits the story well, with the girl and camel, the star, and the letters that look as though they've been worn down by desert sand. I love the colors of the sunset as well.
*This was read as a part of the 100+ Reading Challenge