Friday 17 May 2024

The Cave

The Cave by Victor Kelleher (Eagle Books) ISBN: 9790645378863 PB RRP $19.99

Reviewed by Melissa Wray

After a disastrous encounter with the Beast, Irian and Ulana find themselves fighting for survival in a prehistoric world. Along the way they meet an unusual woman, Trug. The three form an unlikely team as they fight to survive every day against the elements, and ferocious prey that hunt them.

As the three characters continue their journey, we meet new characters who are just as important to the storyline. Pivotal in fact, so that Irian, Ulana and even Trug can find their way in the harsh world in which they live. The journey each makes takes them on a path to a new world, a new existence, and new future.

Kelleher creates a prehistoric world in a way that is both familiar and unfathomable. He leads the characters on a journey where the descriptive writing is detailed enough that the reader can easily imagine being on the journey with them. The characters he has created are so unique, so individual and so enjoyable that they will each stay with the reader long after the final page has been read. Trug is like the grumpy grandma that everyone loves, even with her spiky comments. A perfect addition of wise and witty to young and serious personalities.

There are some topical, as well as hard-hitting themes within this novel that could be unpacked with the right target audience. Trauma and grief is one such heavy theme that could easily be discussed through Kelleher’s sensitive approach to writing Irian. Another discussion could be around kin verse community: what really makes a family? This could be discussed at length with many examples offered throughout the novel.

This book has a great blend of action, adventure, tension, and humour. The Cave is suitable for a 12+ year readership.

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