“A great book series I wish I’d read when I was younger and less jaded.”

NO MAJOR SPOILERS

My friend has been thrusting a copy of this book at me for 15 years and it hasn’t really interested me, but after it was mentioned in several polls on site over Christmas my interest was piqued so while my children were away for a few days I picked the first one up. A couple of chapters in and I just wasn’t struck, but I really wanted to like it so I carried on.

I have to admit, I had a hard time with the complex language used and some of the ‘facts’ in the book that modern science has proven to be untrue but somewhere along reading I started to forget this and treat it more as fantasy than historical and about there I started to really enjoy it.

For anyone who is completely new to the series the book speculates on interactions between Neanderthal and modern Co-Magnon humans. Ayla, the central figure in the book is a human, one of the ‘others’ as the Neanderthal Clan, or the ‘Flatheads’ to the others call her. Ayla loses her parents in an earthquake early in the book and is found by a group of Neanderthals displaced by the same earthquake. The Clan adopts her and what follows is what might be called a fairly typical Neanderthal upbringing.

However, Ayla isn’t Clan and her brain and cognitive thinking doesn’t work in the same was as the Clan’s, she’s one of the Others after all, and this story imagines what that life would entail for her in this position, restricted by taboos and customs not unlike our own in modern life.

It did take me a while to get into, but I was glad I read it and as I was alone for a few days I ended up reading all six of the series. The Valley of the Horses was probably my favourite out of all the books and while reviewing the remaining books would spoil the end of book 1, I will say that while I am glad I read the story out to the end, the books get a little repetitive. There are long descriptions of fauna and local scenery that get repeated in every book and by book 6, Land of the Painted Caves I was jolly glad I was reading on Kindle so I could skip through the renditions of the Mother’s Song.

Earth’s Children is a great series lacking a good editor.

 

Reviewed by:

Kath Cross

Added 4th March 2015

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Kath Cross

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