historic

I have a guest post up over at Librarian by Day, about one of my favorite backlist/crossover titles, My Sister The Moon, by Sue Harrison. I got into Sue Harrison’s books after I read Jean Auel’s Clan of the Cave Bear/Earth’s Children series (which is FINALLY coming to an end in 2011, thank jeebus) and have found that Harrison’s work stands the test of time much better than Auel’s. I re-read all of the Earth’s Children books recently, in anticipation of the final volume in the series, and, wow, Auel has created an obnoxious character in Ayla, the preternaturally perfect prehistoric heroine.

For those of you who’ve read the Twilight books, do you remember how Bella, when she became a vampire, was, like the BEST VAMPIRE THAT EVAR VAMPIRED? Well, that’s Ayla–except she’s not a vampire, she’s just the mother of invention. Some of Ayla’s discoveries/inventions include:

1. Fire

2. Taming a wolf

3. How conception works

4. Birth control

5. Taming and riding horses

6. Making casts for broken bones

7. Seeing through time, i.e., tripping balls

8. Taming a cave lion

9. Awesome hangover cure

Also, she’s tall and blond and thin and blue-eyed, which is apparently the beauty ideal in prehistoric times even though the prominent female idol is the chubby Venus of Willendorf. Everything Ayla does is super-sexy, super-mysterious, and super-perfect. Everyone loves her eventually, even if they are initially repulsed by her adopted family (who are insultingly referred to as Flatheads by the Neanderthals).

I actually think Twilight fans would actually really, really love these books. The quality of writing is similar and the main characters are similarly self-deprecating yet strangely irresistible to everyone she comes into contact with. ALSO, WAY before Renesme was hideously coined, Ayla named her baby Jonayla, which is a combo of her name, Ayla, and her mate’s, Jondalar, because she wanted the name to reflect how the baby was a mixture of both of them. In The Mammoth Hunters, there is also a love triangle that is WAY more frustrating than Twilight‘s ever was. I mean, Ayla actually dumps the guy on the day of their wedding to run off with Jondalar. That’s way colder than anything Bella did, I think.

These books are also great for post-Twilight teens because of their wholesome yet astoundingly descriptive sex scenes. Nothing lurid, but there are lots of body parts described in Harlequin romance type vocabulary, and you get a sexy scene approximately every twenty pages, which is a pretty good ratio. From the wikipedia entry: “The author’s treatment of unconventional sexual practices (which are central to her hypothesized nature-centered religions) has earned the series the twentieth place on the American Library Association‘s 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990-2000.” Now THAT’S a stamp of approval when it comes to sexy content, amirite?

If you like books that are so vexing that you actually yell at the book, OUT LOUD, yet you still have to keep reading because you just HAVE TO KNOW what happens, then I highly recommend the Earth’s Children books. Has anyone else read these and know what I’m talking about? Please let me know in the comments, I’d love to get a good discussion going.

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