The Land of Painted Caves
By Jean M. Auel
Well here it is! The last in the Earth's Children series. It was published back in, I think, March of this year and I finally got around to reading it (after making my way back through the series again). I think this may be the thickest of the books. With 757 pages, it was certainly daunting.
Okay, first let me point out what annoyed me about this book. After writing five other books in this series, for some reason, the author still feels like she has to write the book as if it's a stand-alone book. Meaning, that in each of these books, she feels she has to re-cap all the important events of all the previous books in the series. A great number of those 757 pages were reminders of what I just got done reading in the previous six books, which was unbelievably tedious!
I was ready for some new material! Some new characters, some new subject matter. Instead, the recaps just went on for page after page after page. I'm guessing that 99% of the people who will read this book are addicts of the series (as I am), and already know the history of the characters. The recaps were totally overdone.
The other thing I didn't like was the basic plot of the book. The main character, Ayla, has become something of a spiritual leader of the group. Because of that, she is taken on a tour of the sacred sites of the people. Much of the book is the travel from one sacred site to another, from one painted cave to another. Not much variety in the storyline.
Whew! Okay, now that I've gotten that out of the way, let me just say I still love this series. I still really enjoyed the characters and the situations they found themselves in. I enjoyed being able to picture the landscapes and the surroundings. I enjoyed the descriptions of the different medicines and rituals observed by the people. I imagine I would have made a great cavegirl!
Normally when I read a book and have more negative things to say than positive, it's going to get a low rating. But hard for me to give anything by this author a low ranking when I really enjoy these books so much. Even with the 757 pages, I made it through the whole book in less than a week. Snatching a paragraph here or a paragraph there between other things going on in my life.
My frustrations really have more to do with it not quite fulfilling my expectations and not with any lack on the quality of the writing. Do read this one!