Friday, 9 November 2012

Zal and Zara and the Great Race of Azamed

Zal and Zara and the Great Race of Azamed Zal and Zara and the Great Race of Azamed by Kit Downes (Walker Books)
PB RRP $15.95
ISBN 978-1-4063-4085-3
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

In the city of Azamed, the greatest attraction is the annual Great Magic Carpet Race. Travellers arrive from everywhere to watch and bet on who the winner will be. The 1000th race has been announced by the Caliph and the two favourites are the Thesa family, and the Shadow Society, represented by Haragon and his partners.

Zal Thesa is a talented weaver but resents being pushed to follow in the footsteps of seventeen generations of carpet weavers. He dreams of becoming part of the Caliph’s Citadel Guard. Toward this goal he has been training diligently for years. At twelve years old, he is betrothed to Zara Aura. But they are both totally against this arrangement. Although they work together, they constantly fight and disagree.

 Zara was born with the gift of seven colours of magic. She is the one that enchants the magic carpets for the Thesas, seven times winners of the Magic Carpet Race.

Haragon of the Shadow Society is determined to win this year. He will stop at nothing for the first prize. He destroys Zal’s carpet and all his father’s supplies. The prize money from the race was intended to save them from ruin.

The weave in the magic carpets have been in six colours, but legend has it that there was once a Rainbow Carpet with seven colours, a carpet faster and more magical than any other. Finding the secret of the Rainbow Carpet weave is their only saving grace.

Zal and Zara set out on a frantic quest, which turns into an exciting adventure. Pitting themselves against Haragon, and with death only one breath away, they face water dragons, the temptation of a magical diamond ring, ancient ghosts in a hidden city below the city, and much more. The two put aside their differences in a life-and-death pilgrimage to past things in order to trace the origins of the Rainbow Carpet in time for the race.

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