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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
We first meet Tabatha in "Zyanya", a contemporary fantasy by Greta Benavides Adame. Tabatha is travelling with her mother and step-father to their new home in the jungle, and she is not at all happy about leaving her home and friends back in Texas. Zyanya is a coffee plantation where the beans are shade-grown, along with a dazzling profusion of orchids and fruit. This self-sustaining jungle paradise was the dream, and creation, of Severo Alba, whose son left years ago taking away his wife and Antonio, their son, after Antonio suffered a mysterious accident. One of the first persons Tabatha meets is Yaxkin, who is drawn to her against his will. Yaxkin has been working at Zyanya since he was seven and seems duty-bound to harm her -- something he is resisting with all his might.
Adame creates a splendid backdrop for her story in "Zyanya". The descriptions of the orchids, the waterfalls and the jungle are fabulous and lend an exotic air to this fantasy-thriller. "Zyanya" is a page-turner. There are several plots going on which kept this reader's attention throughout the work. Tabatha, Jairo and Yaxkin are compelling characters and "Zyanya" is rather unique in that it is a coming-of-age story of these three young adults, whose lives are somehow entwined. The mythological aspects of the plot are intriguing, and as Tabatha experiences her new surroundings, the reader is likewise enriched by the experience. There is a lot to like about this book -- fantasy, action & adventure, mythology and a hint of the paranormal. I enjoyed every minute I spent reading it.