Title: Mammoth! (Repeating History #3)
Author: Dakota Chase
Release Date: August 7, 2018
Genre(s): Young Adult, Fantasy
Page Count: 180 Pages
Reviewed by: ColinJ
Heat Level: 0 flames out of 5
Rating: 2 stars out of 5
To replace another of the artifacts they accidentally destroyed, Grant and Ash must travel further back in time than ever before—ten thousand years, to Paleolithic Virginia Beach. They quickly realize that in this time, food doesn’t come from a supermarket, and if they want to survive, they’ll need to learn skills like hunting and fire-making.
Merlin’s magic won’t return them to their time until they locate a mammoth talisman, but this time, they’ll need to do more than find the object. They’ll have to earn it—along with their manhood names—in a dangerous hunt. And before their latest adventure ends, they’ll have to help an injured young man and convince two rival tribes to work together. It might be a different environment, but they soon see that human hatred and fear are universal. Luckily, so are love and compassion.
The pattern of this book is much like previous ones in the series. The author has dropped the need to remind that the central characters are treated to magic, which allows them to understand and be understood by the people they meet in different eras. What is not clear is why people from an ancient past would readily accept modern mannerisms and cultural bias and belief. The central characters are delivered into a situation that allows them to be accepted into the local society. The description of the culture and the landscape are trivialised and stylised and from time to time it reads more like a junior history text than a novel. That said, historical accuracy is only guessed at. There are clear moral messages injected into the story that are proposed by the lead characters and readily adopted by the locals. That these are modern ideals that are only aspired to within our society, it comes across as frustratingly naive in terms of the context of the story. There is limited tension brought about by fact that not all treat the arrival of the lead characters as a good thing. Most concerns are neatly swept aside but there remains one negative character that remains unswayed. This is an archetypal villain and an individual with power but whose authority is swept away by the logic of the central characters. That these characters are children and strangers, who are unknowing of the situation and culture, makes the whole thing untenable.
The relationship between the two lead characters remains naïve with hints of romanticism. They share a kiss and maybe hope for something more in terms of a relationship; however, the two characters have been designed to exhibit an innocence that is out of keeping with their ages.
The pace of the story is satisfactory and there is a general progression from one scene to the next. Time passes at varying rates to fit the context of the plot rather than to provide any realism. Even the most action-packed scenes are trivialised and there is little time for any reflection beyond the needs of the story
As with the other books, the task is completed and the lead characters are returned to the normal lives they have missed. There is an indication early on that this experience would change them and allow them to grow as characters. Sadly this is not obvious from the book’s conclusion.