I am not a great believer in reviews of any kind, but I love my books and reading in general and this series has been so long, I can’t let it slip away unnoticed.
I am about halfway in the last installment of the Earths Children series by Jean M Auel. The 6th and final book is titled, The Land of Painted Caves and I have to say its slow going and not that spellbinding either, which is very disappointing.
Jean does her usual descriptive narrative on the surroundings, describing in detail [some would say too much detail] and building a picture of what she wants our imaginations to see. Followers of Earths Children already know and understand the region in question and a lot of its history as well and already have pictures in our minds of what the periglacial period must have been like to the Cro-Magnon inhabitants of what we now know as France. Going into pages of diatribe about the settings involved is only necessary to new readers. If new readers are reading book 6 before the rest of the series, then they are missing out. For us loyal followers, I think that maybe Jean concentrates too much on particular landscapes and outlooks.
I am waiting for something to happen in this book and so far, not much has happened at all. The nearest we get to danger is a raft ride over some white water. There have been glimpses of the characters who show a dislike of our fair heroine, Ayla, but as yet, none have made a move to harm or discredit her in any way. I hope this changes.
So far, the focus has been on Ayla, Jondalar and their daughter Jonayla and Ayla’s becoming an Acolyte of the Zelandoni who is first among those who serve the Mother. Followers know what I am talking about. Suffice to say, Ayla is training to become a spiritual leader of the Ninth Cave and maybe all of Zelandonii. The story takes a huge leap forward of about 4 years with no real explanation of anything that happened in between. Thats a little odd. I am now at a point where Jonayla is about 4-5 years old and Ayla is on her Donii tour of the sacred sites, mainly painted caves. It is fascinating to read about some of these places and try to picture what they are like. But reading for the sixth time how some animal was drawn on the walls of a cave is becoming tiresome.
So far, there have been few incidents to comment on and no real undertones of how dangerous life was then. It’s slowly developed into the daily diary of incidents that are not that exciting to read about.
I only hope that this book improves and when I finish it I can say with satisfaction that I enjoyed the ending of this saga that stretches back to 1980 when the first book, Clan of the Cave Bear was written. I just have a feeling that this series is just fading out slowly instead of going out with a bang. The next 300 pages will see if I am right or wrong on that. I seriously hope I am wrong.