So lately I’ve been struggling so much with my reading. I have hardly any time to read, except in bed, and when I do that, I read about 5 pages, takeSo lately I’ve been struggling so much with my reading. I have hardly any time to read, except in bed, and when I do that, I read about 5 pages, take a nap and then read 5 pages more, nap, give up. This has gotten so bad that I’m starting to feel stressed about it. Books and reading are such a big part of my life that it has a negative influence on me when I don’t have time to spend on it. My new job is taking up a lot of time and energy and that’s fine. I love my new work place, my colleagues and the challenges I face every day. Each day is different and I enjoy that. At the same time though, I really need to have my reading and my escape into books and the inspiration they give, to be the best employee, mother and person. So the only possible solution I could think of, was changing my reading material. I was reading literary fiction as well as philosophical non-fiction and this simply wasn’t keeping me awake – despite my interest in it. So I have changed my strategy – even though it might mean that I will be unable to complete my reading goals for the year. But so be it – there’s nothing else I can change right now. So because of that, I dived into a new genre to me, urban fantasy, as well as a new series, The Dresden Files. I’ve had these recommended by a friend who shared quotes on Facebook and then we got to talk about them and she got me to reconsider my previous position of having absolutely no interest in this series. Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden is a P.I. in Chicago. But he is also a wizard. Dresden is struggling to make ends meet for himself and his cat, Mister. So when he gets hired by a woman to find her husband as well as called in by the police to assist in a double murder with a seemingly magical origin, he feels that his luck has changed. However the murders are somewhat more grizzly than Dresden and the police are used to and soon, there’s a lot more at stake. Not least because the White Council, a sort of board ruling the wizards, is after him, claiming that he has broken the wizard laws and used black magic – and because the local mob boss and the vampire queen are both involved in the affair and neither seem particularly happy about Dresden’s involvement. Oh, and then there’s the demon. And the scorpion. And women who wants to go out with him. It’s a mess! So what I liked about this book, is the world. I like the idea of supernatural beings living alongside humans and humans not knowing about it. I know there’s nothing new about it and it has been done in lots of other series and shows, but for me, this was what I needed now. Even though I don’t think the writing is all that good, I was intrigued by the story – and more importantly, kept awake for the most part. I like Harry Dresden and I especially like that wizards aren’t all powerful but get burned out if they do a lot of magic as well as need wands, amulets and more to better control their magic – as well as talking craniums. So as pure brain candy but with the potential to evolve into something both darker and more sinister as well, this is a good thing. Harry Dresden is a character who isn’t yet all that fleshed out but who can become something really interesting. I’m hoping his huge fan base isn’t wrong and that the already 13 further novels published in the series will continue to keep my interest. Wizardry is all about thinking ahead, about being prepared. Wizards aren’t really superhuman. We just have a leg up on seeing things more clearly than other people, and being able to use the extra information we have for our benefit. Hell, the word wizard comes from the same root as wise. We know things. We aren’t any stronger or faster than anyone else. We don’t even have all that much more going in the mental department. But we’re god-awful sneaky, and if we get the chance to get set for something, we can do some impressive things. (location 1261-65)....more
In a novel split into three separate but intertwined story lines, we meet a young man and a young woman having trOh what a ride this was. What a ride!
In a novel split into three separate but intertwined story lines, we meet a young man and a young woman having troubled love life in ways, that are not so easily remedied. Like for instance Andrew Harrington who is madly in love with Marie Kelly – who is then murdered by Jack the Ripper. Andrew is thrown into huge depths of despair which after 8 long years causes him to want to kill himself. However, his cousin intervenes, claiming that it will be possible for Andrew to travel back in time and save Marie by killing Jack the Ripper.
Because time travel is possible. A man has opened a business in the middle of London where he offers the possibility to travel to the year 2000 and see the final battle between the humans and the automatons. So the cousins visit this man, Gilliam Murray, to make him help them go back in time.
But time traveling is not all that easy so Murray encourages them to enlist the help of the one man responsible for putting the idea of time traveling and dreams of the future in to the minds of everyone, the author of The Time Machine, H.G. Wells. Because guess what he has stashed away in the attic?
Meanwhile, Claire Haggerty is quickly making herself impossible, refusing to bow down to her parents’ expectations about how it is proper for a young lady to behave. When she and her cousin goes on one of Murray’s time travels to the year 2000, she falls in love with the handsome captain leading the human charge, Derek Shackleton. Another impossible love, separated by more than 100 years and with unforeseeable consequences should one of them attempt to stay with the other.
Not much is exactly as it seems in this novel. People are not telling the truth, real historical figures rub elbows with imagined ones, and with the possibility of time travel nothing is sacred. Everything is subject to change. Or so it seems.
And just when things really get weird or when people start getting intimate, the author calmingly inserts himself to explain a few things, point something out that the characters may not know (yet) or even to give them a bit of privacy. He does this all the way through this book and I loved that!
I’m fascinated by the paradoxes time traveling causes. In this book, the characters are faced with the typical ones; the ones, we know from Return to the Future, Doctor Who and more. What happens if you kill your own grandparents? If you change something in the past, how will it effect the future? And is time traveling even possible?
I really haven’t read much science fiction, I haven’t read anything by H.G. Wells, and I don’t know much about the theories behind parallel universes but I absolutely loved this novel. Parts of it were better than others, but still, the ideas in this novel are so fantastic and amazing that I just loved it. I am no judge as to whether these are actually new and amazing ideas or I’m just new to the genre, so keep that in mind but this one comes with my warmest recommendations. This is the way I like my speculative fiction!
With surprise guests like Bram Stoker, Henry James and The Elephant Man, this novel is a roller coaster of unexpected twists and turns. Reality is not what you thought it was – or maybe it is – or maybe it isn’t. Who knows? You’ll have to read this thing to find out what’s real and what’s not because I’m not telling. And guess what? There’s a sort of sequel so it doesn’t end here! Or maybe it does…
‘Aren’t there lies that make life more beautiful?’ (p. 418)...more
The first story is written by Eoin Colfer of Artemis Fowl fame. It’s a short, fun romp and even though I have to admit that I have never watched the fThe first story is written by Eoin Colfer of Artemis Fowl fame. It’s a short, fun romp and even though I have to admit that I have never watched the first Doctor, I got a clear impression of how different a doctor he was, than the 9th, 10th and 11th doctors who are my doctors.
Eoin Colfer lets the Doctor and his granddaughter Susan go up against the Soul Pirates, some nasty fellows who kidnap children and then chop them up for parts. The Doctor has already been up against them before – and that caused him a hand. Thus, we meet him in this novel shopping for a new hand. And of course, while he does so, Susan gets into trouble and so, it’s the Doctor to the rescue. But a rescue made somewhat trickier by the fact that the Soul Pirates beam their victims up in a way so the victims loose any idea of where they are and what’s going on but instead think they are in a kind of paradise.
I can’t judge whether Colfer nails the Doctor – I have no clue about that – but I liked that he felt different and distinctive compared to the Doctors I know. And I liked Colfer’s many nods to the Doctor’s time traveling ability and to culture, Hogwarts, Mr. Scrooge and others.
And I thoroughly loved the epilogue’s nod to Peter Pan! It’s kind of obvious and the story had incorporated Peter Pan elements earlier too and it was very nicely done, I thought.
Overall, I enjoyed myself. It was half an hour or so well spend. Nothing that blew my mind or anything but a nice way to spend some time while we wait for the new Doctor Who episodes in March....more
The Drawing of the Three kicks off just seven hours after The Gunslinger ended. The Gunslinger Roland Deschain is lying on the beach after his encountThe Drawing of the Three kicks off just seven hours after The Gunslinger ended. The Gunslinger Roland Deschain is lying on the beach after his encounter with the man in black. And true to Stephen King, the action starts right away. Some weird-looking sort of lobster is carefully approaching him and Roland seriously underestimates it. Which means that on page 10, Roland has lost not only two of his fingers on his right hand but also one of his big toes… Being on an unfriendly beach with hardly any water or food and a bleeding hand and foot, would dampen everyone’s spirits but Roland is a determined chap and of course, he soldiers right on, following his instinct down the beach.
And finds a door. Just standing there. Right on the beach. No wall around it. Just a door. And only visible from one side.
It turns out that through doors like this, Roland can get in touch with the people who are to become parts of his quartet. He encounters three doors, each one leading to New York, each one leading to a new person. And through these doors, he meets up with the people, the man in dark foretold he would meet: The prisoner (Eddie), The Lady of Shadows (Odetta/Detta) and The Pusher (Jack).
I loved The Drawing of the Three. It just sucked me right in and took me along for the ride and it has some terrific scenes. When Roland meets Eddie and has to help him avoid being busted leaving a plane with a lot of drugs, priceless! It’s so funny reading about these two trying to orchestrate an escape plan for Eddie with Roland not really knowing our world or the English language quite enough to completely know what’s going on – but being shrewd enough to be aware that things are not going the way they should if he is to have his way and get Eddie to join and help him.
Despite the issues Roland has with getting Eddie back through the door, it’s nothing compared to the issues he faces with Odetta and Jack. And the battle he has to fight with his own poisoned body. But the gunslinger is nothing if not able to just keep on and on, put mind over matter and do what has to be done. He is tougher than Clint Eastwood ever looked and I do believe that if he dies before reaching the tower, his dead body will just get up and walk on. This being a King novel, that’s not altogether unlikely!
As usual, King knows exactly how he not only gets the action going but also keep turning up the pace so you just have to keep on reading and reading to find out what happens with these four characters and how Roland handles them all. King also has some nice comments on how our culture and society has evolved. At one point, Roland gets some medicine. He pays for it with an expensive Rolex watch – and the shop owner is flabbergasted that he pays for this cheap medicine with that kind of watch. But the thing is, in Roland’s world, that medicine is the difference between life and death so of course Roland is going to think it’s expensive. I don’t think medicine should be expensive – everyone should be able to afford getting what they need to be well – but I do think that this scene shows how the way we value things are sometimes a bit skewed.
I still really like how our world and Roland’s world exist parallel in some ways but still different from each other. How some things have overlapped – like Hey Jude, mentioned in both The Gunslinger and this book. But I’m curious about how King pulls it all off because I still have so many questions. How come there was three doors leading into three people, the three people who Roland needed to start forming his Ka-tet? In the first book, Jake died in our world and then appeared in Roland’s world. And now Roland can walk through a door and appear in our world? How are they connected? I guess I’ll just have to read on and see how King solves it all.
The Drawing of the Three definitely kicks The Dark Tower series up a notch. I liked The Gunslinger but not only was this a better book, it also made me even more interested in reading this series, even more interested in finding out what the dark tower is and what happens if and when Roland finally catches up to The Man in Black....more
The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.
What a strange book. Or well, maybe it wouldn’t be all that strange if it wasn’tThe man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.
What a strange book. Or well, maybe it wouldn’t be all that strange if it wasn’t because this book is written by Stephen King – and it really doesn’t feel like a Stephen King novel.
But let’s start with the beginning. In his introduction, King writes that a lot of people who have read lots and lots of his books, still have never read The Dark Tower series – and that’s true for me too. I’ve read It, The Stand, Gerald’s Game, The Green Mile, Carrie, Under the Dome, Christine, Rose Madder, Bag of Bones and more, but even though I’ve been a King fan for maybe 20 years, I have never read this – or even attempted to. As a young teenager, I looked at the first volumes at my local library. I think I thought that the rest of the series was always rented out – or that the library hadn’t bought them or something. Years later, I realized that King actually hadn’t finished them. And then the car accident, and then he started writing them again. Still I didn’t read them. My boyfriend and I talked about buying the series for several years and finally he got them. And he started reading them – even though he’s not really a King fan. But then this read-along came and I thought, here’s my chance. And now I’m reading them!
This post is my review and my responds to the read-along questions, all cozily mixed up. I’m trying not to spoil anything but with this being in part a read-along post, there might be some spoilerish comments.
In The Gunslinger, we follow Roland, the last gunslinger, who’s traveling in pursuit of the man in black. Initially, we don’t know much about either of them. However, since I have read The Stand, my immediate reaction is that the man in black is Roland Flagg and therefore, evil incarnated. However, as we read the book, Roland is the one doing all the bad things and for me, this gave the book a very interesting twist. We follow Roland and sympathize with him – but he commits some really horrendous deeds and even though these are blamed on the man in black, it’s still Roland’s doing. This actually gives us two villains in a way – even though it’s hard to feel any negativity towards Roland. If anything, the man in black comes across as the tempter or trickster who somehow creates these scenarios for Roland which forces his hand. However, we mostly have Roland’s words for this so throughout the book, we’re left wondering.
As the novel progresses, however, we get more glimpses into Roland’s life, especially his childhood. We learn of his growing up and being trained as a gunslinger, how his father became a cuckold. It seems that Roland grew up in some sort of chivalry system where he was trained – and where at one point, every boy has to stand up to his teacher. Roland does this at a very young age – forever separating from his friends by doing so and in the way he does it, he shows he might have more cunning than raw physical power.
One of the most interesting things for me in this book, is a boy, Roland meets along the way. The boy, Jake, actually saves Roland – but he seems lost and he keeps having memories of New York, although they are slipping away. He clearly comes from another world and Roland is fascinated by this. Jake, however, seems to be a pawn in the power play between Roland and the man in dark – and again, it seems unclear who the real villain is. And I guess that’s kind of the point – the world isn’t black and white, there are more to it and sometimes, if you want to overcome great evil, you have to do great evil yourself.
The world this takes place in, seems like an Old West kind of world with small towns with saloons with piano players in them and a gunslinger academy. At the same time, there’s another world, the world Jake comes from, which is more like our world. It seems strange that this more technologically advanced world feels like it’s the past, that the world of the gunslinger has moved on from this. I guess that will become more clear in the volumes that follow.
As I mentioned earlier, King’s writing style in this is very different from normal. He usually starts his books of with a bang – something happens and you just have to read one to figure out exactly what happened, who did it or why it happened. This one kind of feels like it never really gets started. We follow Roland traveling across a landscape, a desert, and then across mountains. There are a few high-paced action scenes but it’s a slow moving novel, compared to King’s other novels. This weird alternate cowboy fantasy universe also feels very different from King’s other works that for the most part takes place in our world, the present day world at the time the novels were published. This is so different – but so far, I’m intrigued. Especially by the strong hints about what’s to come – some kind of crossover between our world and Roland’s world. I can’t wait to see how Roland will act if he arrives in our world!
I seem to remember that King sees the Dark Tower series as one huge novel and this novel definitely feels like a slow start to a huge novel with an incredibly rich storyline. I’m really looking forward to seeing where King will take me in the next books!...more
So I’ve had this fantasy trilogy on my to-read list for a while now. It’s written by Lisa Shearin and looked like a great series with lots of action,So I’ve had this fantasy trilogy on my to-read list for a while now. It’s written by Lisa Shearin and looked like a great series with lots of action, fighting and fun. A nice easy fantasy read. I decided it was perfect to try for my first audio books in several years. I started listening and after listening a bit to the first one, I checked out the author’s homepage – only to find out, this isn’t a trilogy. I don’t know why I think that fantasy books always come in trilogies (or, I do – I blame it on the way Lord of the Rings was published). Anyway, I just assume this. I did it with Adrian Tchaikovsky’s brilliant Shadows of the Apt series. I bought three volumes, excited about this fantasy bug trilogy – only to discover that it’s supposed to be in 10 volumes…! And now this Raine Benares series – not a trilogy, no, so far there’s published 5 books with the sixth installment being published later this month…
Anyways. Enough of me ranting. As I've written earlier, I decided to listen to this book because I needed something fun and interesting to distract me while gardening. And it certainly did live up to my expectations. So much that I didn’t only listen to it while gardening – I also listened to it while cleaning the oven. And … I actually want to be in my garden pulling up weeds, something that has never happened to me before. But I want to listen to the book and so, I pull up weeds.
This is the story of Raine Benares, a Sorceress and Seeker. When Quentin, one of her friends, takes on a job to rob a necromancer’s house, Raine decides to watch over him to make sure he gets through it alive – without him knowing. Raine’s cousin Phaelan tacks along and suddenly the three of them find themselves fighting goblin shamans appearing out of nowhere. The trio makes it out alive but when Quentin goes to deliver the retrieved object, he finds himself in trouble again. With more goblins.
For Quentin’s protection, Raine has taken over the object he stole. It turns out to be a very old silver medallion – with a mind of it’s own. It doesn’t want Raine to take it of, it enhances her powers – and it makes everyone look for her. And not everyone nice. See, this medallion isn’t just an ordinary medallion – but what it is, exactly, is hard to find out for Raine. And when she does find out, it’s from highly unlikely sources. How to get rid of it again, is even harder to figure out. In her attempt to rid herself of it, her loved ones are endangered more than once as she is herself. But her possession of the medallion also introduces her to new – and rather pleasant – acquaintances.
There is a bit of a love triangle that doesn’t improve much on the overall storyline, in this novel at least – maybe it will in the sequels. It doesn’t get in the way of the story though so it’s not a real irritation (it just seems that love triangles are all over the place, see Twilight and Hunger Games).
This is a great fantasy ride. It’s got lots of action, not a lot of slow parts. It keeps a fast pace and really moves the story along. It does this in a great way and it makes it a perfect light fantasy read. What I really appreciate about this book, is the amount of humor in it. There is, though, a bit of repetitiveness in the way it’s written – she clutches things in her white-knuckled hands several times in a few pages. It feels like the author wanted to write a certain something and wasn’t quite sure where to write it – and then missed deleting these repetitive sentences while editing. Overall, the writing flows easily and gets the story told in a good way.
So with this being an audio book, I of course have to comment on Eileen Stevens, the narrator. For the most part, I enjoyed her. I liked her reading voice and the sound of her voice is the sound of Raine Benares to me. However, I didn’t feel she did the male voices very well – they all sounded a bit alike. That being said, I didn’t need her to do more than she did for me to enjoy this listen and to be able to distinguish between who was talking.
Overall, I highly recommend this book as a light, easy and very entertaining fantasy novel that works perfect for the audio way of ‘reading’. I had a really good time listening to it and I’m looking forward to listening to the next in the series, Armed & Magical...more
I have reached the end of this series! And there was much rejoicing! Now, don’t get me wrong. It has been an allright experience but it hasn’t been moI have reached the end of this series! And there was much rejoicing! Now, don’t get me wrong. It has been an allright experience but it hasn’t been more than that and the books feel very similar. Except for specific plot details, I feel like I should just quote my review of the fifth book in the series, Con & Conjure, because I’m not sure how much new I have to say about the series as a whole or the narration of the audio books.
So things have never looked more grim for Raine Benares, the spunky seeker. After having been bonded to the Saghred, a soul-stealing stone, since early in the first book in this series, things have been cumulatively going from bad to worse but now, things are really bad. Sarad Nukpana, psychopath par excellence, has finally succeeded in getting the Saghred and after a goblin attack on Mid, Raine, her boyfriend Mychael, her former umi’atso-bound friend Tam and others decides to head to the Goblin capital of Regor to get the Saghred back from Nukpana and put the renegade prince Chigaru Mal’Salin back on the throne as well as reunite him with his girlfriend who Nukpana intends to marry. But to get there, they have to rely on Raine’s arch enemy Sylvanus Carnades since he’s a mirror mage and the only one who can get them to Regor and back safely.
Only issue – or not really only – but one of the big issues is that Raine has lost her magic. The Saghred has shut her down. She tries to hide this and it is actually rather helpful for sneaking around in Regor, but of course she can’t hide it for long and that of course creates a whole new host of problems.
The trip to Regor gives Shearin the chance to let us meet more of Tam’s family as well as Nukpana’s mother, Tam’s former teacher Kesyn Badru and more. Several of these are quite interesting although not quite as interesting as cousin Mago or Nachtmagus Vidor Kalta, who’s probably my favorite character in the series – him or Imala Kalis, the head of goblin security.
I missed Vegard a bit in this book. The big guardian is left behind on Mid to be stand-in for Mychael and make sure that the student population is not killed by the goblins – together with Raine’s pirate family. It makes sense to the story line, but I still missed Vegard’s attempt at keeping Raine safe – including sitting on her – and her flamboyant cousin Phaelan.
So the Saghred is of course hugely important in this whole series. And I have some issues with that. This rock seems to have a consciousness – at least it bears a serious grudge against Raine. I’m not sure that the idea of consciousness in objects really works in this world and parts of the plot hinges on that. I know it’s minor issue if you’re just able to suspend disbelief, however, it did mean that the final showdown didn’t quite work for me, even though it was otherwise very well executed.
This novel marks the end of the story arch that has been developed through all six books in the series. This doesn’t mean that this series is necessarily over. Lisa Shearin does leave room to take the characters up again and write some new adventures for Raine and Mychael on Mid so for people really enjoying this series, there’s hope. I’m not sure I will read another Raine Benares novel but I might read another Lisa Shearin novel. I think there’s a lot of potential in her writing....more
It’s actually really hard to write reviews of this series since they all just seem to blur together. Yes, I know I start listening to the next one asIt’s actually really hard to write reviews of this series since they all just seem to blur together. Yes, I know I start listening to the next one as soon as I finish one but they are all so similar that it’s difficult to separate them.
This of course is the Raine Benares series. It consists of six books, taking place over a rather short amount of time. In the first book, Raine helps a friend steal a necklace with a stone. She puts it on – and is instantly bonded with the rock which turns out to be the Saghred, a soul stealing nasty thing that can destroy whole kingdoms and normally, turns it’s wearer, it’s bond-servant, insane. However, Raine is able to wear the rock without getting insane and the rest of the series is spend with Raine trying to get rid of the stone and find a way to destroy it as well as trying to avoid the psychopath Sarad Nukpana who wants both her and the rock. Luckily, Raine has help from not only her friends but also from new friends like Paladin Mychael Ellisor and archmagus Justinius Justinius Valerian.
As per usual, this one starts off with a bang. The conflict between the goblins and elves is slowly escalating and when the Goblin prince Chigaru Mal’Salin arrives to Mid, things gets moving. The prince is wanted dead by almost everyone so before he even sets food on Mid, several assassins try to kill him. Luckily, Raine is there to save him – even though not all the goblins see it that way.
While the elves – or at least some of them, led by Sylvanus Carnades – is trying to get their hands on Raine, having a specially prepared cell ready for her with magic-reducing manacles in the cellars of the elven embassy, the Goblin king and Sarad Nukpana is preparing to attack the elves – and just being nasty as usual.
It seems to me that the new characters being introduced in these last books in the series, are rather more interesting than some of the ones who have been in all the books. In this one, we’re introduced to Raine’s cousin Mago, a banker, who’s of course still in the family business of sneaking, stealing and other sorts of criminal activity. He’s the prince’s banker and is of course in an excellent position to help Raine. Also, we have Raine’s ex-boyfriend and former fiancé who is a most skilled assassin who’s of course after the prince. And maybe others? Someone at least is taking shots at Mychael.
So when you listen to a whole series, it’s hard to come up with something new to say about the narrator for each book. However, when you have listened to a whole series and the narrator suddenly starts saying something in a different way, it does distract from the listening experience. For some reason, in this book Eileen Stevens has started saying ‘the Saghred’ in a different way.The Saghred is mentioned a lot and every time, she says the word in this new way, I start wondering why she has changed it and it takes me out of the listening experience and ruins the flow of the story for me.
Other than that, this is just like the other books in the series. Plenty of action, very fast pace, some things are repeated over and over etc. If you’ve come this far in the series, you know exactly what you get. It’s decent light fantasy. It’s quite entertaining when you read it/listen to it but nothing more. I do admit that at a few points in this one, I really didn’t want to put it down but just to keep on listening but normally, I don’t think about it when not listening to it. I’m actually looking forward to finishing this series so I can try out other audiobooks and see if my lack of enthusiasm is because of the book or the medium I experience them through....more
So there’s no chance of me spoiling this for anyone since really, nothing much happens. Folket i Klippehulerne aka The Shelters of Stone is of courseSo there’s no chance of me spoiling this for anyone since really, nothing much happens. Folket i Klippehulerne aka The Shelters of Stone is of course the fifth book in the Earth’s Children series by Jean M. Auel. Since The Clan of the Cave Bear we’ve been following Ayla on her journey from part of a Neanderthal clan to finding people of her own kind, the Cro-Magnons. We’ve followed her living on her own, befriending various animals as well as meeting and healing Jondalar, the first Cro-Magnon man she’s ever seen. She and Jondalar then set off on their journey, first living and experiencing serious relationship trouble in the camp of the Mammoth Hunters. And then, they set off for Jondalar’s home.
After the boring journey across the plains in book 4, I was kind of apprehensive about the fifth book. I was hoping that the 12 years break was used by Jean M. Auel to get back to the quality of the first books in the series. Unfortunately, this was not the case.
This novel takes off when Ayla and Jondalar has arrived at the Ninth Cave of the Zelandonii, Jondalar’s home. Arriving on horseback, together with a wolf, they of course cause quite a stir. After Ayla is introduced to the family and the rest of the people in the cave, she starts trying to fit in. Most people are very impressed with this beautiful and amazingly talented woman, Jondalar brought back. However, not all are quite so happy. One of these is the girl, Jondalar was supposed to marry who is not exactly happy that he brought Ayla back and therefore, she decides to humiliate her. The plan doesn’t go quite as expected, instead it rather backfires and makes Ayla more popular with most of the people of the cave – although even more unpopular with a few.
Besides Ayla’s attempts to fit in, this novel focuses on Ayla’s pregnancy and her and Jondalar’s mage ceremony. Throw in a couple of hunts, some sex scenes, explanations about how things worked, everyone presented having extremely (ridiculously) long titles and Ayla being amazing at whatever she does – and you have yourself a book.
Unfortunately, not a very good one. It seems that Auel has more focus on the research she has done for the book than on the actual story the research should be the background to and this makes the book rather slow-moving and unbalanced. On top of this, Auel repeats herself over and over and over – I’m convinced that in at least one place, she simply copy-pasted from the first of the books – and even presents the same things as new information several times as well as recap all major events from the first 4 novels, and you can see some of the issues with the book.
But unfortunately that’s not all that bothered me about the book. So far, Auel has seemed rather progressive when it comes to sex and relationships between the sexes but in this novel, not so much. For this tribe, if a young woman has sex before her first ritual, it’s a great shame and people look down on her – but not on the man who did it with her, even if he’s an older man who persuaded her. Also, it’s the woman’s responsibility to keep the man happy by having sex with him – if not, he’ll probably leave her… This is some of the things Ayla are told before the mate ceremony – and it doesn’t seem that Jondalar is told anything similar to this. And I don’t like that.
Auel also has a tendency sometimes to step back and talk about how some invention or new thought, will evolve through the coming centuries and what it will come to mean and why Jondalar and Ayla thought of it. This way of stepping back breaks the rhythm of the story and ruins the pace.
I read a translation of this novel so I don’t know if the clunkiness of the writing and the sometimes very old-fashioned language is the author’s or the translator’s fault. I do know that the spelling and translation mistakes are the Danish editor’s and the translator’s fault!
The greatest issue with this book however, is how accomplished and amazing Ayla is. She is simply the best at everything. She’s the perfect woman, she’s beautiful and is able to create amazing clothes. She can tame animals. She is a fantastic healer – who on top of that, always is on hand when someone gets injured. No one gets injured in this book without Ayla being right there, ready to treat. She can solve social issues in minutes: issues, that have bothered everyone else for years. No wonder she annoys some of the people in the cave! I know she has had opportunities no one else has had and all that, but it just feels too much now. She is simply too accomplished for it to feel real in any way.
I went back and forth between giving this 2 or 3 stars. I actually think this doesn’t deserve more than 2 stars and if I had read the series closer together, I would probably have been so annoyed with the constant repetition of both the earlier books in the series and even of this very book, that it would have been difficult even to give it two stars. But since it has been 15 years or so since I read the first 4 in the series and so the repetition bothers me but not as much as it could have – maybe should have.
I really, really liked this series when I was younger. The first three books were really good – or at least, that’s how I remember them. But after the disappointment with both the fourth and fifth book in this series, I’m not sure if these books were any good or if it’s because I read them maybe 20 years ago when I was in my teens - and wasn’t as sophisticated a reader as now. It’s sad to start to question books you used to love, because the later in the series simply don’t live up to your expectations. So far, I’m convinced that book 4 and 5 should have been one book – and I’m not having very high hopes about book 6…...more
So yes. Here we are. I’ve finally finished the entire Earth’s Children series. And – really, I’m not sure how to put this but – this was bad. This wasSo yes. Here we are. I’ve finally finished the entire Earth’s Children series. And – really, I’m not sure how to put this but – this was bad. This was really, really bad. The Land of Painted Caves takes what started as an excellent and fascinating series about a young Cro-Magnon girl who is adopted by Neanderthals, later forced out, finding her own way in the world, falling in love and being accepted by other Cro-Magnon people – it takes all this promising material and brings it to an extremely bad finish that throws such a bad light back upon the rest of the series that I’m not sure I will ever read any of these books again, even though I really liked the first three (The Clan of the Cave Bear, The Valley of the Horses and The Mammoth Hunters).
This final book in the series details Ayla’s training to become a Zelandonia, her Donier tour and relationship issues with Jondalar as well as Ayla being Called to become a Zelandonia. There’s an earth quake and as always, Ayla does amazing things. The plot is divided into three separate parts with jumps in time between each. I really don’t know what more to say about it as nothing much really happens.
So what makes this book so bad? First of, it’s extremely boring. Ayla visits one painted cave after the other and in every single one of them, we get details of the layout of the cave as well as details of all the paintings in the cave. She goes on and on and on and on about painted mammoths, horses, cave bears and red dots. And hand prints. The first one was interesting but when they just travel from cave to cave without much otherwise happening, it really gets annoying to get these descriptions. Yeah, I get that Auel visited these caves – but we don’t need or want to read her travel diary! If she at least had given some plausible explanation to why these artists painted these caves, it might have been worth it, but nope. That was too much to hope for. All we get is, that they felt like it…!
As if this isn’t bad enough, Auel lets one of her characters do something that is so out of character that I almost lost all interest in finishing this book when I read it. It just felt like Auel had realized that she needed some drama to engage her readers (and wake us up!) and so, she just wrote the first thing that got into her head – never mind that it was so out of character that it was unbelievable. I lost all interest in her characters after that and really, just finished the book because that’s what I do. I finish the books I start. I don’t think I can find words to describe how disappointed I was with this plot twist. And to add insult to injury, the actions this provokes, is equally unbelievable. You can’t write 5.5 books about characters and then expect us to buy something that is completely out of the question. He would never do that – she would never do that. I could write so much more about this and I really should so because it wouldn’t be spoilers, it would be a favor if it kept people from reading this book and wasting their time.
I don’t know if anything can make this worse but the one thing that could, is that Auel hints at many interesting plot points she could have explored. Ayla is working hard to become a Zelandonia, a spiritual leader, and the conflicts with doing this and raising a family could have been explored more and been much more interesting. As it is now, this little girl that Ayla really wanted, is just sent off all the time with other people so mom has the time to do more interesting stuff. Again, this is something that doesn’t make any sense since we’ve been told over and over that all Ayla ever wanted was to have a mate and a child – now she has it, and doesn’t seem to care all that much about her little girl…
Add to this, that we get the Mother’s Song repeated over and over and over again and it’s even part of one of the (few) major plot points because Ayla in a trance gets to hear another verse that explains how babies are made … Which of course is an interesting thing since it changes the whole world view from being a society revering the mother to also start understanding that men play a part too when children are conceived – of course Auel doesn’t use it for anything interesting…
It feels like Auel is repeating some of the plot points from her earlier books. Like Ayla again taking the drug from The Clan of the Cave Bear or Ayla and Jondalar again not talking like in The Mammoth Hunters. It’s like it isn’t enough for her to repeat things over and over – again in this book, we get the Mother’s Song repeated again and again, we hear about Ayla’s accent so so so many times, people introduce themselves with long names and she retells everything from the five former novels – but we also have to live through her rehashing scenes from the other books and pretending it’s something new.
I still think that the last three books of this series should have been edited down to one book. I think that would have helped but I’m not sure that the original content in these three (very long) books is enough to actually make one decent novel out of it. I can’t recommend the second half of this series. It’s really sad to see such a great series come to such a lousy and underwhelming end!...more