I will admit, going into the novel, my entire knowledge of the canon of Zorro was based on the movie with Antonio Banderas, which I watched one million times as a confused pre-teen, alternating my lust between Banderas and Catherine Zeta Jones. I finally landed on Banderas, but it was a close one.
Allende wrote Zorro as an origin story for the hero, and it is really a lot of fun. Since I’ve never read any other Zorro books or seen the other movies, I honestly have no idea how much as based on other stories and how much she made up. But as she traced his journey from birth to Spain to returning to Alta California, I had a lot of fun watching this wicked little boy grow into the justice-seeking hero we all know.
The female characters in the book are well-developed too (as Allende’s often are) and made it that much more of a fun read.