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Survival Of The Fittest

A review of The Cave and the Sea by John Heatherly -- now in guy format!

Survival Of The Fittest

BOOK REPORT for The Cave and the Sea by John A. Heatherly

Ed. note: We took our book report and made it manly for this guy's review of a guy book.

Cover Story: Scenic
Drinking Buddy: HECK YES
Testosterone Level: 7
Talky Talk: Bite Size
Bonus Factors: Hatchet, History
Bromance Status: Occasional Hangout

Cover Story: Scenic

This cover is definitely not one you would be embarrassed to be seen with in public. As you can see, the cover is simply a picture of the beach. Simple, has something to do with the story and not embarrassing. More YA books could stand to follow these three rules to book covers.

The Deal:

Coe is a Native American teenager in the 1600s who has become separated from his tribe. While out searching for his missing father, Coe is abducted by members of a strange tribe and badly wounded. One night, he manages to escape from these strangers and hides in a hidden cave. While in the cave, he recuperates with the help of Mycha, a strange priestess from another tribe. Mycha believes Coe must continue on his mission to find his missing father, and in doing so find out why he was kidnapped.

Drinking Buddy: HECK YES

Coe is someone I could easily see myself grabbing a drink with. He is resourceful, intelligent and grounded (although not always quick to pick up on a joke). Even though pretty much every day is a struggle for survival in one way or another, Coe doesn’t let that bring him down. He is generally positive and works hard to improve his situation.

Testosterone Level: 7

Coe is obviously a badass. In the first twenty pages he is attacked not once, but twice and manages to escape and survive. And he does this with only an obsidian knife and the clothes on his back. Plus, he survives in the wild for a couple of months using only his skills as a hunter and his knowledge of edible plants. Mycha is pretty awesome herself -- she carries her share of the weight when it comes to hunting and gathering, and even teaches Coe a few things about knife fighting.

Talky Talk: Bite Size

The Cave and the Sea is broken up into chapters about 3 pages long, on average, which tends to break up the narrative flow a bit. Other than that, Heatherly’s knowledge of wilderness survival does a great job of adding realism to the story without drowning it in technical detail.

Bonus Factor: Hatchet

Coe is an expert at surviving in the wilderness (which is a good thing since it is the 1600s and you can’t just walk to the corner store for a loaf of break and carton of milk). Heatherly makes you feel like you could survive on your own (for at least a little while) after reading this book -- not that I’m going to give it a try any time soon.

Bonus Factor: History

The Cave and the Sea takes place in America in the 1600’s on the west coast. Without giving too much away, Heatherly includes some historical events to add to the story.  

Casting Call:

Casting for Coe is a little difficult since there are very few Native American actors out there. I went with Kiowa Gordon as Coe.

Kiowa Gordon as Coe

Bromance Status: Occasional Hangout

This book, while good, isn’t a full on bromance. Sure, I could see myself going to grab a beer with it or hanging out and playing video games together on a slow evening, but that is really about it. This book is the work buddy you hang out with occasionally if you’re schedules line up, but you don’t work too hard at the friendship.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from the author. I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). The Cave and the Sea is available now.

Want to score a signed copy of the book? Download your free ebook copy from Amazon.com all day Saturday, May 5, study up, then check back for a pop quiz Tuesday, May 15 to win!