Title: Clan of the Cave Bear [Earth’s Children 1]
Author: Jean M. Auel
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 5 Star (4.5)
Series Review: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
This novel of awesome beauty and power is a moving saga about people, relationships, and the boundaries of love. Through Jean M. Auel’s magnificent storytelling we are taken back to the dawn of modern humans, and with a girl named Ayla we are swept up in the harsh and beautiful Ice Age world they shared with the ones who called themselves the Clan of the Cave Bear.
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.
Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
This book had been on my TBR since about the time I started reading really. This is one my mum read when she was younger and she was always raving about it and telling me to read it. This however was always followed by “It took me about nine years to finish it because the start is really boring, but the end was worth it.” So as you can imagine I was curious, but also a little hesitant.
But I needed a new long audio book to listen to on my long driving trips I do every day, so I thought why not and picked it up. I am so glad I did.
My mum was right. The start of the book did have one seriously sloe part where the properties of plants was talked about for quite awhile. If I had not had the warning beforehand, and had been reading a physical copy of the book rather than an audiobook, it might have taken me an extra moment to get through it as well if at all. Maybe not nine years, but probably awhile. I think the audio aspect really helped me here, as while I was driving I could start to zone out on the road for the sections that were boring. The voice acting was also very good and easy to listen to.
The rest of the book up until the last chapter was evenly paced and was interesting the whole way. I loved the sort of old magic that came with the Clan and the way Ayla’s new worldness affected them, and her way of thinking about things conflicting with what they have taught her her whole life. Then it rushes at you at the end.
All the characters are well written, at least all the ones you deal with on a regular basis. I love Ayla, Iza, Uba, and Creb. Their family dynamic was so beautiful at times. Ayla’s relationship with the rest of the clan was strained at times but there were shining moments of glory when they accepted her. Brun was a good leading and considering their way of thinking he was very reasonable to her and his act of kindness to her at the end was lovely. Their way of thinking about women though really irritated me and it was hard for my ‘strong independent woman’ brain to swallow the more degrading parts of the book. Broud is everything I hate in someone.
The overall sort of sad tone to the book and the rush of things left me wanting to pick up the next book. I made the mistake to read goodreads reviews though and none of them are too positive and my mum never once told me to read the next one, so now I am oohing and aahing about it. One day perhaps.
If you like historical fiction, don’t mind a bit of plant talk, and are open to history with a bit of magic, I think you will really enjoy this book. The second half is beautiful, and the first half is too between the boring bits.
Till Next Time. . .