Book: The Land Of Painted Caves

Jean M Auel
Historical Fiction
Crown / 2011
Hard Back / 757
Series Earth’s Children #6

The highly anticipated sixth and final book of the Earth’s Children ® series, The Land of Painted Caves will be an international publishing event. Auel’s series is one of the most celebrated in publishing history. The first five books in the series show total sales of over 45 million copies worldwide, and include The Clan of the Cave Bear (1980), The Valley of Horses (1982), The Mammoth Hunters (1985), The Plains of Passage (1990), and The Shelters of Stone (2002). With The Land of Painted Caves, Auel gives fans the finale they’ve been looking for. She does not disappoint as she continues the story of Ayla, Jondalar, and their little daughter Jonayla.

In this page-turning continuation of the beloved saga, Ayla is training to become a Zelandoni, one of the community’s spiritual leaders and healers. Ayla becomes the acolyte to the Zelandoni for the Ninth Cave and begins the series of intensive journeys that are part of the sacred training. But as she struggles to find a balance between her calling and her duties as a new mother, her pursuits begin to take a toll on her relationship with Jondalar.

Once again Jean Auel combines her brilliant narrative skills and appealing characters with a remarkable re-creation of the way life was lived thousands of years ago. The terrain, dwelling places, longings, beliefs, creativity, and daily lives of the Zelandoni are as real to the reader as today’s news. The Land of Painted Caves is a brilliant achievement by one of the world’s most beloved authors.

I picked this book up because Series Finale

What I liked the Most? The research that goes into a book like this

What I liked the Least? Everything else – repetitively redundantly

Review: Okay I get it – Mrs Auel was paid by the repetition – right?

I was totally and completely disappointed in this book – I wanted to like it, hell I wanted to love it – sadly I was doomed to disappointment. Ayla has been one of my favorite characters ever and by the end of this book, I was completely and totally like “oh thank god she’s extinct now”. And that saddens me.

I have to say the one thing that saddens me the most – instead of Ayla being this bright beacon of light ushering the people into a new direction it seems she was the reason behind the slide into patriarchal system. Yeah, the one that vilifies women. Yep that one. Wow.

Direct repetitions that killed this book for me:
  • The Mother’s Song – Every other chapter
  • Jonayla’s urination process - pulled out of carry basket, got cold, peed, got put back into the carry basket
  • The marks were made by human hands
  • The back history of absolutely every character – not once, not twice, but a endless number of times
  • Everyone’s freaking linage every time they meet someone new – really

My big question, though – where the hell is the plot?
  • Ayla striving to become a spiritual leader good idea – failed
  • The conflict of the whole series (Neanderthal vs. Homo Sapiens) – failed it is not at all present.
  • Creating a sense of historical relevence - failed
What a missed opportunity

Recommended to: I wouldn’t

Best Quote: I couldn’t find one

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