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The Land of Painted Caves (Earth's Children #6)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

8 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

Everyone has a different opinion

I read Clan of the cavebear for the first time when I was about 10 years old. In my honest opinion, it is one of the best series I have ever read in my entire life. I understand and see where other readers are coming from when they say that shelters of stone and maybe e...
I read Clan of the cavebear for the first time when I was about 10 years old. In my honest opinion, it is one of the best series I have ever read in my entire life. I understand and see where other readers are coming from when they say that shelters of stone and maybe even some of the others were kind of repetitious. I do not argue the fact that there was a lot of the same stuff from the first few books, but I sincerely enjoyed all of them, and the repetitious stuff wasnt always used in the same context or situation as the last book. For those of you who caught it, you should be proud, not everyone is sharp enough to see that they've already read it. Personally, i enjoy reading about how she did stuff becuz it makes it more real to me. I enjoy finding out what Ayla is up to, who she meets, what challenges she faces and most of all, I want to find out what happens to her in the future. I realize that many people have different opinions, different tastes and their reaction to this series will be different than everyone elses but I think this book should be given a chance. I cant wait for it to come out.

posted by 6261418 on January 24, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

93 out of 95 people found this review helpful.

Good but Lacks Focus

I was fortunate enough to luck into an uncorrected proof, and I eagerly started reading. At the time, I didn't realize I could've virtually skimmed the first 300 pages and been none the worse to understand the story. The tale starts with our dear Ayla and Jondalar shari...
I was fortunate enough to luck into an uncorrected proof, and I eagerly started reading. At the time, I didn't realize I could've virtually skimmed the first 300 pages and been none the worse to understand the story. The tale starts with our dear Ayla and Jondalar sharing the lives of the other Zelandonii with their daughter, Jonayla. Since Ayla is in training, the First plans a tour for her. They visit a local painted cave, Ayla and the others admire the artwork. They wonder what the animals, dots and handprints mean. Lather, rinse, repeat. I lost count of the number of caves Ayla and Co. visit during her tour. At many junctures, she asks what the art means. Nobody gives her a coherent answer, not even the artist Jonokol, who stops in one cave to create his own vision on the walls. By this time, I began to skim. The story doesn't really take off again until Part III, by which time Jonayla is six years old. No spoilers -- but had the first 2/3 of the book undergone better editing (maybe a cave or two, but so many? and what was the POINT?), the tale would basically have begun here. Many threads from the prior books would come together, though some did not. I have no issue with this -- it's like life. But the book would have done better at 400 pages than 755. My opinion, and I've loved the previous books. This one would've been really terrific, had it not lost focus on story.

posted by DebKinnard on January 30, 2011

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  • Posted March 22, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Long and Repetitive

    This book should only be read by Ayla fans. Hallelujah this is billed as the last book of the series.

    The author takes a long and tedious road to tell us about Ayla finally becoming the woman she was meant to be. The story could have been told in 200 pages rather than 700. There is a lot of repetition from the previous books. But there is more than a fair share of repetition of scenes in the latest book. After all, once I've read about the "absorbsent pads" Ayla uses on her new baby, I don't need to read it ten more times.

    Savvy readers will have figured out Ayla's destiny by the time they finally labor their way to the middle of the book. There are the usual love triangles that are just as obvious. In this reader's opinion, this is middle school writing. I'm glad it's the last of the series as I don't think I could bring myself to read another.

    If you have read the other 5 books and have a need to complete the story, then go ahead. Oh...and don't let the thicknness of the book fool you. Most of you will read it quickly because, like me, you will find yourself skimming through page after page of fauna/flora descriptions and mind-numbing repetition of the countless introductions of the "woman who rules horses and the four-legged hunter called Wolf".

    59 out of 60 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 13, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    sadly disappointing.

    I was really looking forward to this book I had read the series over again as soon as I found out number 6 was being released. This series has been 30 years in the making and I loved them so much. Maybe that was reason enough not to get too excited about this one, maybe there was no way it could live up to my expectations. This wasn't a bad book and since this was an advance copy maybe the editors will fix some of the things that weren't really right with it and make it more enjoyable. The main thing is that nothing really ever happens. The advance copy was a 757 pages long trade paper and NOTHING all that exciting happened in all those pages. It was too many repeats of things already covered in the other books. The titles repeated again and again, the tea preparations, the Mothers song, another bunch of renegade men for Ayla to deal with. At least Jondalar does something unexpected but it wasn't a good thing and it made me not like him any more and it ruined that for me. The beginning starts out with Ayla still an acolyte, training to be a Zelandoni (a shaman or medicine woman) they go on a tour of sacred cave sites to see the paintings put there by the ancients. They go from cave to cave, page after page and talk about the different paintings and what they think they all mean. This takes up a good half of the book. Very little happens through the whole thing, in places it was like she thought about writing something and you thought ok something is going to happen now but then she would just stop where she was going and start in about tea or introductions, or how "pleasures" really do make babies. I would liked to have seen less repetition and less about her having to make water and using the night basket, her moon cycles, Wolf taking a dump in the caves, and about her holding her daughter up to make water, it was all WAY unnecessary. I would loved to have read more about them trying to start trade meetings with the clan with Ayla using their sign language, finding and raising more horses and showing other people how to train them. I also thought there should have been more about their daughter Jonayla, she's there, but her character just isn't explored enough for you to really get to know her. All in all, if you've read the whole series so far you'll want to read this one just to finish the story but don't be expecting anything much to happen, or for this to be a big wonderful finish. Now I wish she had just finished it with Plains of Passage or Shelter of Stones. If I ever read them again that's where I'm stopping.

    36 out of 37 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 1, 2011

    Disappointing and dull

    After waiting 9 years or so for this final (?) installment in the series, I was sadly disappointed. There were warning signs...some of Auel's previous books were bogged down in needless and repetitive retellings of events that her readers were already totally familiar with (and I'm looking at you, "Plains of Passage"); but Land of Painted Caves takes it down to a whole new level.
    By page 450 or so I actually found myself skimming the pages, skipping past endless descriptions of one cave after another, one plant's medicinal and culinary properties after another, one rendition of The Mother's Song after another and God only knows how many of Ayla's flashbacks to her experience with the Clan Mogurs and their scary ceremony (we get it, she was scared. move on).
    Readers of Auel's books have come to love her strong characters-this book weakens and flattens them into voices for anthropological theories with no real motivations or feelings of their own. The have become Ayn Rand characters, simple vehicles for theories and statements. Ayla's continuing development into modern human's intelligent Eve is the driving plot line and rather than interesting and enlightening it becomes tedious and worn out.
    I have nothing but admiration for Auel's exhaustive research and even her theories, but I was looking forward to a good story about great characters and a strong resolution. Instead, I'm filing this in the "done and over" section and moving on.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 30, 2011

    very disappointed

    over the years ive read and reread this series, always loved it and wished for another book to either continue or wrap it up so i was so excited about this. But sadly i was disappointed too, I found myself skipping entire paragraphs and pages of recapping events from previous books, description after description of cave paintings etc etc...and Ayla and Jon having ANOTHER dramatic fight?? come on, that was done in the Mammoth Hunters and it was as melodramatic then as it is reading about it AGAIN. it felt like the author had run out of ideas or was cashing in on the franchise almost. I enjoyed reading about Aylas promotion and Jonayla, i also enjoyed reading about various events such as the murderer that threatened Ayla and how he was dealt with, the rest just seemed to be borrowed from previous books and was quite frankly - boring :(
    I had hoped to find the author delving into things she had hinted at in previous books, such as the Others trying to trade with the Clan and the complications arising from this, and maybe even Ayla finding her son through this
    It was so very very bland, I do hope there will be another installment that ties up the obvious loose ends and indulges the fans a bit more

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 22, 2011

    Slightly disappointed..

    I had read all of Jean Auel's books about 2 years back. So when I saw the 6th book come out I was soo excited! I just recently bought myself a Nook, downloaded all 6 books and started from the beginning. I just finished 'The Land of Painted Caves' last night and felt cheated. The book it self was ok, slow in some parts, very repetitive and that ending left me feeling empty/blank?.. I was honestly disappointed in it. :(

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 2, 2011

    Forced this one out,

    Sadly this is mostly a rehash of the books that preceded it. It felt like taking a strenuous dump. You get it done, there is something to look at but the entire thing was forced and a little painful. For Clan of the Cave Bear Fans you'll enjoy parts but it pretty much killed me wanting to read another one. Time to flush.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 11, 2011

    Tedious, repetitive

    Not Auel's best work. I struggled through the first half of the book with the repetitions of the lengthy recitations of each characters ties, seemingly back to the dawn of time. These are repeated numerous times for each character until my eyes rolled back in my head. Then we get to the "Mother's Song", a droning and lengthy recitation that, amazingly enough, satisfied the meter and rhyme requirements of the English language. There are, of course, the porn sections where coitus in all its wonderful permutations are carefully described. In the Navy, this book would have been passed around with the significant pages well dog-eared. Then there is the over worn "She/he hates me, we'll never love again" that is dragged on and on while your mind is screaming at them to knock it off, already. Auel tries to describe her tour of some caves in France and manages to drag that out interminably without actually creating a mind's eye picture of what she is trying to describe. A half dozen pictures would have covered as many chapters of description, and left the reader with a better idea of what is in these caves. If you are an Auel sycophant or a member of her fan group, (ecfans-com) this will please you, but for the average reader, it leaves you with a feeling that you wasted your money.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    So disappointed... I wish I had not read this final book.

    Jean M. Auel books:

    Clan of the Cave Bear - Fascinating from an anthropological standpoint. Fantastic.

    Valley of Horses - My personal favorite book, showed independence, development of new ideas, culture, struggles, independence, sexuality, everything. Awesome.

    Mammoth Hunters - Frustrating. It took me until about the third read through it to finally appreciate it, the first two I just wanted to scream at the characters to figure out what was going on.

    Plains of Passage - Active in culture and geography, development of relationships, generally good.

    Shelters of Stone - An in-depth look into one particular, dominant culture, and a greater view into the spiritual world of the people. Okay.

    .....

    Cute: The Land of Painted Caves.

    So disappointing. I was perhaps less frustrated than most by the constant journeying and description of cave art. I was also perhaps more frustrated than most by the lack of sexuality, but possibly just because that's what I'd come to expect from Jean M. Auel. In perhaps the most memorable reference to sexuality, Ayla is not involved. I'll let you get to that part on your own, but I was crushed. It was past midnight and my husband came down to come to bed, and I slammed the book shut. He thought I was mad at him - he knows how much I loved the previous books, I was obsessed with them - and I had to explain, in tears, what terrible things had happened. He's never read the previous books, so all he got was some incoherent wailing and a collection of names he'd never heard before. I was angry, frustrated, and hopeless. I had identified with these characters, in a way, built myself after them, and they had suddenly turned on me.

    After finishing the book and discovering the feeble attempt to right the wrongs Auel had written in, I was left feeling generally disappointed. The last dozen pages or so of the book could have been heavily elaborated, definitely at the expense of the hum-drum first several hundred.

    These were always the books I turned to. I would finish the series and start back again at the first. I have the first-edition hardcovers of all of them (although somehow, although I preordered months ago, I was not sent a copy of Painted Caves with an augmented reality code, which was also disappointing), and paperbacks whose spines and covers are torn to shreds from use.

    I will likely read this book again, and perhaps I will come to appreciate it as I appreciated the Mammoth Hunters after time, but I had hoped for something that I did not have to force myself to accept. What happened to the spirit of this series?

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2011

    Total Disappointment

    I started this series when Clan of the Cave Bear was released. I loved the books and continued to read each book as they were published. I was so excited when the sixth book was released...I could not get through the book. It is so boring, repetitive. One or two caves would be enough. I am so sorry to say this is one of the worst books I have read..

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 6, 2011

    Highly Anticipated Final Book!

    After years of waiting, it turns out this book is simply 780 pages of disappointment! I'm sure her years of research were very thorough, uhfortunately it didn't translate to an interesting read. If you must buy it, you'll find yourself skimming through all the repetitions of backstory and descriptions of flora & fauna.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2011

    Sooooo dissapointed!

    I have been an Ayla fan since I read the first book as a young teen. I eagerly awaited each books release then read them as quickly as I could. The long waits in between new book releases gave me many opportunities to reread the series. I am sad to say this is one book I doubt I will ever read again. After waiting years for the release I am extremely disappointed that Auel took a long time to go nowhere with the story. She could have gone in so many directions with the build up to the book and instead she gave us a bland story that spent more time recounting what happened in other books and giving us descriptions of cave paintings than furthering story lines approached in the prior novels. I found it to be very one dimensional and completely lacking the rich story telling of the prior books. If your an Ayla fan you might want to read it just to say you finished the series but I wouldn't expect much.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 9, 2011

    One long trek from cave to cave...

    I have read all of Jean Auel's Earth's Children series beginning with the very first from the 1980s at least a dozen times over. My original Clan of the Cave Bear is tattered and yellow from age but I have loved every book (some more than others) and waited years in between for the next chapters to be published. I was greatly anticipating the continuation of the storylines and new developments in the lives of the characters I have come to love for so many years. Unfortunately the Land of the Painted Caves left me very unsatisfied. It appeared to be one long trek from cave to cave with an occasional reference to prior storylines, little or no conclusions and little or no new information on the Earth's Children way of life that was so richly written in the earlier books. If this is the culmination of the series, I am heartbroken it had to end this way.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 6, 2011

    Was this written by the same author???

    All I can say is, good thing this was not the first book of an otherwise excellent series. The never ending repetition made it seem like Ms. Auel was required to complete a specified number of pages and could think of nothing else to do but constantly repeat the material over and over. I understand refreshing the reader's memory is necessary at the beginning when it has been such a long time between books in the series but I don't think the amount of repetition included in this book was necessary. After waiting so long for this book I could not have been more disappointed in not only the writing but the editing, which was absolutely horrible! It almost seemed like this book was written by a completely different author.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2011

    Somewhere in the middle.......

    Like so many others I was hoping for a great read like the first books of the series. I read reviews and didn't have high hopes. However, I didn't think it was as bad as some did, and I didn't think it was as good as some of the higher reviews. It didn't need to be nearly as long as it was (and I admit I skimmed through many parts), and like many others I didn't feel that this book was a conclusion of things. Other people complained about the repetition from other books - I myself liked the recounting of things in earlier books because it's been so long that I'd forgotten a lot of things. The style of writing seemed to be different in the last part of the book, and the characters didn't seem to grow as we would have liked. I did think this book was much better than the 5th book. Overall not horrible, and I am glad I read it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 4, 2011

    Weak story line

    Sorry, very disappointed with this book. Dialog was too modern and the story was totally predictable.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2011

    Not her best work

    I just finished reading this book, which is broken into three sections. While the last part of the book did get more interesting, and there was closure for most of the issues from previous books, in my opinion, this was not one of Jean Auel's best works. It seems to me like she was just looking for filler with the entire second part of the book to make it longer.

    Shelters of Stone was a better book than Painted Caves, and I didn't like Shelters of Stone as much as the other books in the series.

    On the upside, there were not as many repetitive romance scenes like in some of the other books (like Valley of Horses and Plains of Passage), but perhaps they would have been more interesting than the constant repitition of cave painting descriptions.

    I'm glad I read it, if only for the closure, but unlike the other books in this series, I don't think I'll read this one again.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2011

    Total waste of my time-Very disappointed....

    I am very dissapointed with Caves. Although Ms Auel has shown again much research into the subject. The flora and fauna in the other books was okay, though a little too much in some spots...After the first cave I really only read the "he said, she said" If there had been one that was very special ok but they seemed all the same. Alya got the same answer to her question, it was her interpatation of what it meant. The ending was very anticlimatic. What happens with Brukeval and Madroman? Does the First give up her title and does Ayla take it? Are there any more children? And the revelation in the Mothers Song does it really change the relationship and lives of the men and women?(no it did not need to be repeated 6 times) At least she did not repeat Ayla's past a dozen times like in SOS. One history lesson per book is all you need we the readers are not stupid and if it was your first book once is enough. I guess with only 6 books in the series we will just have to be dissapointed.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 28, 2011

    Disappointing

    I am so heartbroken. I love Ayla so I had to read the last book. I could have stood being in the caves for 700 pages if: Ayla found her birth family or at least her people, Jondalar didnt cheat on her, she found Durc, etc... It didnt feel like the same people and Ayla didnt have the relatonship with her daughter that I would have expected. I hope JA will reconsider one more to make her loyal followers happy!!!!! Left so much unknown!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 27, 2011

    No significant plot - for Ayla fans only

    I picked this book up despite reviews because I have read all of this series and was hoping for a return to the greatness of Valley of Horses and the Mammoth Hunters. I'm sad to say I was disappointed. Much of this book feels like it wasn't even written by the same author, the dialogue is stilted and there are far to many personal details and far too little plot development. That said, I did read it and will probably read the next because I want to know what happens with the characters. This is really only a book for those that are fans of the series. I declined to purchase and checked it out from the library instead and am very glad I did.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2011

    An excruciatingly long description of painted caves...

    ...with occasional mentions of a character who was a shadow of the character we once loved. What happened to brilliant Ayla? She became insufferable weak-willed and ordinary Ayla. Quite sad. I am disappointed beyond measure.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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