Thursday, March 27, 2014

Book Review: Clan of the Cave Bear (Earth's Children #1) by Jean M. Auel




A natural disaster leaves the young girl wandering alone in an unfamiliar and dangerous land until she is found by a woman of the Clan, people very different from her own kind. To them, blond, blue-eyed Ayla looks peculiar and ugly--she is one of the Others, those who have moved into their ancient homeland; but Iza cannot leave the girl to die and takes her with them. Iza and Creb, the old Mog-ur, grow to love her, and as Ayla learns the ways of the Clan and Iza's way of healing, most come to accept her. But the brutal and proud youth who is destined to become their next leader sees her differences as a threat to his authority. He develops a deep and abiding hatred for the strange girl of the Others who lives in their midst, and is determined to get his revenge.

Clan of the Cave Bear is the first book in Jean M. Auel's Earth Children Series.  It was first published in 1980.  I read this book sometime in the 1990s and remember liking it a lot.  I didn't get the same warm fuzzy feelings reading it the second time around.  I'm not sure if it's my 20 year age difference, the style of writing then vs now, or what it might be.

The story is refreshingly unique and drew me in immediately.  My interest waned as Auel spent so much time describing everything.  Not just the environment, but the people as well.  Show me, don't tell me.  Let me see what a character is like by what they say and do instead of so much descriptive text.  It made some of the characters fall flat.

A saving grace in this novel is the relationships.  It was obvious by their actions how much Iza and Creb cared for Ayla and how she loved them.  The difference in their appearances didn't matter.  That's a lesson we all need to remember.

Clan of the Cave Bear is an intriguing story, not one you find everywhere in these days of vampires and zombies.  I think it's worth the read.

 I give this book 3 Bookworms.



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