September 20, 2015
Mother Earth, Father Sky by Sue Harrison
Chagak is living a pretty normal life for her people. As an adult, she will soon be married and is eagerly awaiting the prospect of a family of her own. But one day, returning to her village, she finds it being destroyed by warriors from another tribe. The lone survivor aside from her baby brother, she sets off for a different island with him in tow and manages to find an island inhabited only by a lone Shaman who allows her to stay. But she's not the only one who finds the island and she has to learn to deal with the prospect of becoming a wife to the man who killed her family.
Chagak is a very strong character. So strong sometimes that she doesn't' seem real. But it was a different life and just because I can't fathom a reality like that, doesn't mean it couldn't happen. And she has so many trouble that you really empathize with her and want the best for her. I also liked the Shaman, he was very fatherly and helpful and just made you feel good about humanity. That being said, he had his own troubles and could only do so much for Chagak. Of course the bad guys were bad with few redeeming qualities and I thought that was a little bit of flat writing. I like my antagonists with a little depth to them, but it's not an easy thing to do.
The plot was fairly simple. Girl's village gets destroyed, girl goes out on her own, girl has to overcome overwhelming obstacles in a land where women aren't considered equals. The history of humanity in the region. But it's written cleverly enough that you get enveloped into the story and want to know what happens to Chagak. If she can overcome all the odds and survive. And if that survival will be happy. There are a lot of tough scenes in it too, from rape to murder to other things. Like most prehistoric fiction, it isn't for the squeamish.
An interesting start to the series. It made me want to read the next one, that's for sure!
Mother Earth, Father Sky