Daughter of Kura by Debra Austin
Have you ever wondered what life was like for our ancestors half a million years ago? In “Daughter of Kura,” Debra Austin tries to imagine the lives of some of those ancestors of our species. She gives us a glimpse into the matriarchal society of Kura, home to a clan of Homo erectus. Snap is only a young teenager, but she is in line to become the Mother of Kura after her grandmother and mother. She has reached physical maturity and will be allowed to find a mate this fall. Her mother will also be choosing a new mate this year, as her former mate died during a hunt. Unfortunately, her mother chooses a male who is new to their group, Bapoto, who has ideas that are dangerous to the traditions and cohesiveness of the Kura.
“Daughters of Kura” was somewhat disconcerting. I found it hard to remember that I wasn’t actually reading about Homo sapiens but about a different species of human. Anthropomorphic animals are one thing, but I’m reading about people that purr or growl at one another regularly, it confuses me. At the beginning it was pulling me out of the story often, it just took me awhile to get used to it. Then again, perhaps this was good, to really keep reminding me that I wasn’t reading about modern humans with modern voice boxes, etc.
Despite my occasional problems with the difference between reading about Homo sapien and Homo erectus, this was a very well written book with an interesting plot. Austin was great at showing the life and abilities of the people in Kura instead of simply telling about it. She also had a great author’s note at the end explaining what facts she started with and what assumptions she made to tell her story.
This isn’t going to be for everyone, because it can definitely be difficult to read about people who are so human-like and yet so different from modern humans, but if you’re up for the challenge it is a good book.
Thank you to Jessica at Simon & Schuster for sending me a copy of this book to review.