Ayla’s Journey Begins . . .
Orphaned by an earthquake at the age of five, Ayla is left without family or people. Until she is adopted by the Clan, a group of Neanderthal.
Ayla inspires first surprise, then wariness and finally acceptance by the clan. She is cared for by its medicine woman Iza and its wise holy man Creb. Only their future leader, Broud, is not willing to accept this strange woman. Consumed with hatred, he does all he can to destroy her. But Ayla bears the marks and the spirit of her totem, the Cave Lion. She is a survivor.
The Clan of the Cave Bear is a non fiction book in disguise as historical fiction. Jean M. Auel gives you a multitude of details about the lives of the clan, everything from how they gathered food, made implements and took mates, to their spiritual beliefs, secret man ceremonies and how the medicine women worked.
Auel spent many years researching the details in her Earth’s Children series to bring the most up to date and informative knowledge about how Neanderthal’s lived and survived. There were a few facts relating to their brain size, and past life memories which I’m skeptical on (Reminds me of Aang being able to talk to past Avatar’s in The Last Airbender – different concept though). But for the sake of storytelling it adds to the mystery and intrigue of this different species who are closely related to humans.
There are three main characters in the novel; Ayla, Iza and Creb. All of which are featured in the blurb. *gasps* I haven’t written my usual blurb bash. Shocking right?! But for once they have hit the nail straight on the head. Possibly because my edition was published thirty years after the original publication date, and they had time to get it right. My mum might have an original or close to original copy of it. She’s got the one with Ayla on the front.
Clicking on the cover will take you to Jean M. Auel’s site where you can read all about the entire Earth’s Children series. Clicking on the cover at the top next to my rating will take you to the Goodreads site where you can read reviews by other members.
I don’t have any issues with the blurb on my edition. I like the way it says Iza and Creb’s titles before their names. Tip for any writers writing a blurb or something like it: if you have to mention lots of characters call them by their titles only. Policeman, Mother, Teacher, Boyfriend, Best friend. Names are great, but it’s hard to keep track of them and remember who they are and why we should remember them. Titles make it simpler until the reader delves into the story.
Back to the review!
The Clan of the Cave Bear follows Ayla’s life as she grows from a little girl into a young women. One of the things I loved about this book was by the end pages you actually feel as if Ayla has grown up. Her thoughts, actions, emotions, and words, have matured from five to…um…I think she’s fourteen maybe?
When I said young women I didn’t mean teenager. By the end of the book Ayla is by no means a teenager anymore. Because Neanderthals only lived to around thirty (according to recent findings. I am definitely not a science wizard) fourteen is almost middle aged. She might even be younger, at the end of the novel she could be anywhere between ten and sixteen. In our species I’d think of Ayla as anywhere between eighteen and late twenties.
Okay that is a weird end sentence. Ayla is our species. How about I say, in our day and age expediency she’d be between eighteen and late twenties. Again that is how I perceive it. Auel doesn’t actually state to you how old Ayla is. Occasionally during the front half of the novel she’d say an age to help you gauge, but by the end of it she just uses significant events in a female’s life to give the readers an idea of Ayla’s maturity.
The book opened by eyes to many things like the age perceptions I wrote above. It also made me think differently about Neanderthals. I always pictured them as these large scary beings. When in actual fact they are shorter than humans. It was quite an eye opener when Ayla is described as taller than all the men. I’d probably fit in right at home with their size ;P
As you can tell by the rating I loved The Clan of the Cave Bear. I’ll definitely be reading The Valley of the Horses. I just read the blurb on Auel’s page and I’m super keen! I love horses 🙂 But unfortunately I don’t know when that will be since my TBR pile is giant.
Auel’s storytelling is engaging. There was rarely a time when I found my eyes slipping from the page. Although it took me longer to read this book than most it wasn’t by choice. I had other commitments. I guess that tells you it wasn’t an I-can’t-put-down-this-insane-amazing-book, but I did love reading it. It reminds me of the feeling I get with Mary Grant Bruce’s Billabong series. I could sink into it and feel peaceful. It was definitely a book that lived up to reading reducing my stress levels by 68%
You guys are all my friends, I recommend this book to you. No book is for everyone of course. Historical fiction fans should like it, and if it’s not your cup of tea it never hurts to read outside your comfort zone. So in other words read it 😛
If I didn’t I wouldn’t have found another four star book!
Talk to you guys on Sunday, if not sooner! I’m off to do some more Tafe and maybe start the second last Skulduggery, Last Stand of Dead Men. The end of one of my favourite series is in sight! I’m sad, but also very interested to see how Derek Landy ties this up.
Which favourite series have you finished this year? Which books lived up to your expectations based on other people’s recommendation? Which didn’t? Tell me in the comments below!
Have an awesome day! 🙂 x
Jo Carter x