Review of Zona: The Forbidden Land

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Latest Review: Zona: The Forbidden Land by Fred G. Baker

Review of Zona: The Forbidden Land

Post by Rayasaurus »

[Following is a volunteer review of "Zona: The Forbidden Land" by Fred G. Baker.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Zona: The Forbidden Land is a science fiction novel by Fred G. Baker. It is set in frigid Russia. Dr. Grant Taylor, an ex-military adjunct professor of paleogeography from the United States, travels to Saint Petersburg to execute his uncle’s estate. However, when he arrives, he realizes that the situation surrounding his uncle’s last expedition is even more complicated than he had anticipated. Uncle Randall, a man who lived life moving from one adventure to the next, has been presumed dead after he didn’t return from his last expedition. The main character can scarcely believe that his uncle is dead, and his confusion deepens when the details surrounding this expedition are vague and shrouded in danger. A man dies trying to get information to Grant Taylor, and he is not sure who to trust even among his uncle’s friends. Seeking answers, he joins a second expedition at the last moment to search for his uncle and make new discoveries. The rest of the novel details this harrowing and incredible journey into Siberia and the illusive Zona, a land filled with flora and fauna beyond Grant’s wildest dreams.

The best aspect of Zona: The Forbidden Land is the worldbuilding. The fauna and flora in Zona are detailed incredibly well, with reasonable behaviors and functions in the ecosystem. The way in which the explorers cautiously yet curiously interact with the animals was my favorite part of the novel. Each species really seems to have its own personality. In addition, the discussions of plants are reasonably scientific but easy to understand. The way the entire world is written makes even the more outlandish aspects of the novel seem reasonable. The book is also exceptionally well edited.

My least favorite aspect of Zona: The Forbidden Land is the general lack of character flaws in the main character, Grant Taylor. He is not only smart, but well-versed in combat. He rarely becomes as emotional as many of the other characters, and nearly everyone finds him charming. Even when he makes a mistake, others around him are quick to smooth it over. A genuine character flaw would have better connected this character to the readers.

Despite the main character being a little bland, the worldbuilding and writing style in Zona: The Forbidden Land make the novel enjoyable to read. The style makes it seem a little classic, in fact. Because the book was enjoyable, I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars.

Zona: The Forbidden Land is a book suited for people who enjoy science fiction books with a strong focus on the interpersonal relationships between characters. The book contains profanity, sexual content including polyamory, and violence bordering on gore. There are some references to questionable sexual behaviors as well, so readers who are sensitive to that sort of topic should read carefully.

Zona: The Forbidden Land
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Charlize Venter
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Post by Charlize Venter »

It was indeed a good read, the storyline, although set in a more relaxed pace, was strong. The little hints at mystery was also something that caught my attention, and the spatiotemporal anomalies were so well planned and placed to build suspense.
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