28 June, 2011

Land of Painted Caves

Author: Jean M Auel
Genre: Fiction 
Series: Earth's Children
Audience: Adult 
Format: Kindle

Synopsis: In this, the sixth and final book of Jean Auel’s Earth’s Children series, Ayla, Jondalar, Jonayla, Zelandoni and other characters, embark on a tour of various sacred cave sites as part of Ayla’s Zelandoni training. As she travels, Ayla must decide if being a Zelandoni is what she really wants or if she would prefer a simpler life.

What I thought:  I’ve long held the belief that the first two books (Clan of the Cave Bear and The Valley of Horses) were fantastic and well worth reading. Books three and four (The Mammoth Hunters and The Plains of Passage) were ok, but could have benefited from a good editor. Book five (The Shelters of Stone) is where it really started slipping and I can remember thinking I would not read another one. And then Land of Painted Caves came out and we’ve been told it’s the last one so how could I not read it. Oh how I wish I had not! Slow, painful, repetitive and all together too long, I found everything happened in the last two hundred pages. By then, I was past caring and the events that unfolded were predictable and anti climatic. Auel seemed to feel a need to fulfill a word quota and decided to do this by constantly repeating Ayla’s long formal introduction whenever the met someone. This extensive list grew tedious after the second airing and only made you wonder if everyone who was traveling with her were as sick of hearing as you were. Anyone who had read the book would recognise the importance of the connections and titles listed without needing to be constantly reminded of them. I also found the many repetitions of the Mother’s Song tedious and pointless. Again, the many inclusions of the song added nothing to the book but word count.  Each cave visited by Ayla and the other characters was also described in great detail. While this could have been incredibly interesting, after the third or fourth cave, you realised each description was pretty much like the last and added very little, if anything to the story. I most probably only read half of the book, skimming the endless descriptions and rehashed information. Auel is now 75 and I really hope that this is the last book. I know for one that if she feels the need to write another, I won’t make the same mistake twice!

Recommended for: it's not. Seriously, don't waste your time.