The Clan of the Cave Bear (Earth’s Children #1)
by Jean M. Auel
Summary: 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.
Wow, just wow. This book was absolutely amazing. I don’t know how I’ve gone so long without ever hearing about this series. It blew me away and I enjoyed it so much.
I recently visited my stepmom and she loves to read, too. We got to chatting about books and she mentioned this particular book. She said she read it and had no idea it was part of a series. As she was describing the book, I was immediately interested. The concept seemed so incredible to me and she let me borrow her copy.
A young girl, Ayla, finds herself alone after an earthquake. A group of people, an entirely different race of humans, finds the girl and takes her in as part of their Clan. She grows to love and care for them and becomes part of their Clan and adopts their ways. To them, she’s strange and ugly. As she grows, her differences begin to show and create various conflicts.
Everything about this book was incredible. There were moments while I was reading that I wondered how on earth the story could be so long and still be interesting, what on earth could happen next, how would this story unfold? I know I’m reading a superb book when I am bombarding myself with those questions and must keep reading to find out. There were moments when I thought I knew what was about to happen and I was proven wrong time and time again. I am reluctant to share even the most minor of details about the story because it’s so incredible to experience everything.
I loved how the author wrote. The book was descriptive, yet informative when it needed to be; logical, yet also imaginative and emotional and captivating. The entire premise was not only epic, it was executed flawlessly. I could tell there must have been loads of painstaking research into various fields in order to weave such an incredible story with early humans. It appealed to my love of learning about different time periods and speculating about how early ancestors of ours may have lived, especially because this time period is not often found in fiction, while also appealing to my love of a great story with amazing characters.
I learned so much about the Clan’s way of life and the way they viewed the world and how their brains worked. I watched Ayla grow with them and fit in, but also stand out due mainly to biological differences. The truth in this story captivated me just as much as the fiction. I was intrigued by the Clan and the differences between their kind and Ayla’s and the way they lived, but I was also invested in each individual character and their personalities and the relationships they formed. The Clan of the Cave Bear is one of those stories that encompasses so many different things and it does it so well. It makes you wonder what it means to be human and tackles issues like acceptance and family and duty and love and differences.
I cannot praise this book enough. If I could give it more than 5 stars, I would. I absolutely loved it and would recommend it to anyone looking for an interesting, intelligent, moving story. It is a character driven book and not action packed, though. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone that prefers a lot of action or dislikes long descriptions and thorough world building because they may find it boring. I also wouldn’t recommend this book to anthropologists, as I imagine the author’s ideas may not be accurate.