Lisa Vegan's Reviews > The Land of Painted Caves

The Land of Painted Caves by Jean M. Auel
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Jun 12, 11

it was ok
bookshelves: fiction, novel, historical-fiction, reviewed
Recommended for: for those who just have to finish the 6 book story so they know how it ends
Read from May 26 to June 11, 2011

I heard horrible things about this book, unfortunately, because I was so looking forward to it, and even though my expectations had a damper put on them, I was eager to complete the story. (I actually won a copy of this book from Goodreads’ First Reads program but did not shelve this on my first-reads shelf because I won an unreadable pre-publication edition that arrived a few weeks after the book had been published; I waited and read a hardcover edition borrowed from my public library.)

Very disappointing and anticlimactic!! I also found it discombobulating to continually get taken between the historical fiction story and being educated about the little ice age, which is when this story takes place.

Yes, despite its flaws, this was a 3 star book for me, until the end/toward the end, which left me so unsatisfied. It’s not that it deserved 3 stars, and maybe it doesn’t deserve even 2 stars, but I’m rating on my enjoyment while reading, not on the book’s merits.

It’s been nearly a decade since the last book; I would have happily waited years more for a better conclusion to this epic story. It’s been 25 years since I read the first book, the best of the 6, and book 2 was unique and fascinating, and I do love being with these people in these setting, and enjoy the conjectures about what life was like in this era.

Because so much time has elapsed since I’ve read the previous 5 books, I was grateful for reminders of what had happened in those books, but this book is so ridiculously repetitive. This book needed major editing. The author should not have thanked her editor in the acknowledgements; I can’t imagine what her editor did to help with this chaotic book.

I do love Wolf. What a great character. I also love the horses. As with the previous books, I enjoyed reading about how people might have lived in that time: what materials they used, how they might have domesticated animals, practiced medicine, etc. etc.

I also am assuming the author has made use of new discoveries about this period; I know she does do quite a bit of research. For this book she got to visit many of the caves with cave paintings.

BUT, major spoilers: (view spoiler)

Inadequate is the word that best describes the entire book and especially its conclusion.
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Reading Progress

03/28/2011 "Well, this is a first. I'm the incredibly lucky recipient of this book from the First Reads giveaway program AND I already bought a copy. I didn't think the latter would be shipped yet, but it's on its way. They're both on their way. I've never bought a book and still entered to win, though I've bought books after I haven't won. At the moment I own 2 copies. I own the other books in the series so I wanted this book!" 8 comments
05/26/2011 page 30
4.0% "I wanna e-reader! This is way too heavy & big to carry around with me. Glad the author reminds me of what's happened in previous books; it's been so long. Love the horses & Wolf & was kind of rooting for the cave lions as much as I was Ayla & Jondular & Co."
05/29/2011 page 78
10.0% "A bit discombobulating to constantly be taken between the story & being educated on the little ice age, but good catching up with everybody & love the domesticated animals & appreciate the author for reminding the reader of events/people in previous books. So many characters to try to remember! So far, I'm engaged enough, despite bad ratings I've seen."
06/04/2011 page 241
32.0% "I'm enjoying this more than I'd anticipated (given others' opinions) and I still have much of the book to go. Reading very little these days. Have an anxiety provoking number of books home from the library, and a book club book to read asap & a won first-reads book that I'm expecting any day now."
06/05/2011 page 309
41.0% "Well, I probably should be embarrassed but I'm enjoying this. Thank goodness the author is reminding me of so much that went on in the earlier books in the series."
06/06/2011 page 325
43.0% "Enjoying this but reading it so slowly."
06/07/2011 page 412
54.0% "Some editing would help with these books, including this one, but I'm enjoying its epic quality. Hoping for a few things..."
06/08/2011 page 468
62.0% "This is due on Monday. I can't believe I'm taking days to read it, but now I'm motivated to finish it in the next few days. I'm enjoying it well enough, but waiting & seeing how it ends before I can see how I'll rate it."
06/09/2011 page 511
68.0% "She shouldn't have thanked her editor. This needed more than a wee bit more editing. Yet, I'm enjoying it."
06/10/2011 page 552
73.0% "I'm hoping for a satisfying end to the series. And, I'm hoping to finish the book this weekend because I have to read my real world book club book next, and asap."
06/10/2011 page 575
76.0% "Nooooooooooooooooo!!!! I doubt I'll forgive Auel for this."
06/11/2011 page 701
93.0% "First page 575 then page 660. Boo!!! Gee, and only 56 pages to go to hopefully get some resolution to the whole long epic."

Comments (showing 1-32 of 32) (32 new)

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message 1: by Chrissie (last edited Mar 29, 2011 09:25AM) (new)

Chrissie Lisa, you know me. Do you think I would like the first book? I saw you gave it 5 stars. I have read your review. I know you really liked it, but will I? What is your guess?

Unbelievably cool that you won it!


Lisa Vegan Chrissie wrote: "Lisa, you know me. Do you think I would like the first book? I saw you gave it 5 stars. I have read your review. I know you really liked it, but will I? What is your guess?"

Chrissie, I'm not sure, but I don't think so. The first book was definitely the best, although the second book has great atmosphere and a must read for people who love horses and riding horses. And, I'm addicted to the series. The first one was very good, but I'm just not sure. Hmm...I'll think about it, but I wouldn't have thought to recommend it to you.


Lisa Vegan But, Chrissie, even though some of the research she did, and she did a lot!, has been shown to be untrue, given all they've learned since The Clan of the Cave Bear was written, I really cared about the characters, found the medicinal herbs aspect fascinating, etc. The characters are good, the story is good. I'm just not sure. It's not YOUR usual type of book though. And then the later books really aren't as good, even though I love them anyway.


message 4: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie That is what I thought. I wish I liked what everybody else liked.......


Lisa Vegan Chrissie wrote: "That is what I thought. I wish I liked what everybody else liked......."

Chrissie, Many people look down on this series and many don't like it. You know the quote, I think by Mark Twain, that says if you find yourself on the side of the majority it's time to pause and reflect. Everybody else's taste isn't necessarily good. You have very fine taste in books. And, even though we often have different taste, we have plenty of similarities also. And on this site you've found members and groups that share your taste in books.


message 6: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie OK, maybe.


message 7: by Shomeret (new)

Shomeret Let me say that I agree with Lisa. I don't think Chrissie would like this series at all and it definitely went downhill. I still have The Shelters of Stoneon a shelf unread because I know it's overlong due to lack of editing.


message 8: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Oh I love you guys!!! You help me so much! (((HUGS)))
I am moving it to my "not to read shelf". Then in my private notes I write why. Sometimes people really fuss when I put books on this shelf, and they try and convince me otherwise........ Having such a shelf does get people to open up and voice their opinions. That is always good, but in the final analysis even very good books do not fit all readers.


Lisa Vegan Chrissie, I think it's a great idea for a shelf. It helps you remember what you don't want to read, and reminds you which books to not seek out. We're on book overload here at Goodreads; it would be really easy to keep asking about the same books over & over again if you simply don't shelve them. I never noticed your shelf before and now I want to check it out. Sounds very interesting.


message 10: by Chrissie (last edited Mar 29, 2011 11:53PM) (new)

Chrissie That is exactly why I have it. Without the shelf I forget those books that careful analysis has convinced me that a given book will not be to my liking. I also have a "just maybe read" shelf..... I always write in the private notes box the basis for my decision. If I just eliminate the book, I will end up having to repeat the whole analysis procedure again.

People may take offense b/c they forget that my shelves are only for my usage. They say nothing about what is correct for another reader.


message 11: by Lisa (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lisa Vegan Some people here take offense for the weirdest reasons. They are your shelves, and besides, what one member in five million does simply does not strongly effect the shelves. I personally enjoy looking at that and all members' shelves. It's fun!


message 12: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie And who cares what I think?! I think it is funny that people can think their own views are so darn important. Some people do not want to write negative reviews. I think that is silly too - for the exact same reason. What one person thinks isn't that important. I want to hear all views, not just the positive ones! Having the shelf is good b/c the discussion that can arise makes one sure one has placed the book correctly.


message 13: by Lisa (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lisa Vegan Chrissie, You and I definitely agree re all this stuff. People are funny-peculiar sometimes, but I'm surprised anyone has said anything negative to you about any of your shelves. Anyway, I enjoy them and think your system makes a lot of sense.


message 14: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Well, it is good to share ideas.


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

Oh, bummer, what a mess. I was looking forward to your review.


message 17: by Lisa (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lisa Vegan Ceridwen wrote: "Oh, bummer, what a mess. I was looking forward to your review."

Ceridwen, I will still read and review it. (I'm apparently a glutton for punishment. ;-) ) But, I"m waiting for a library copy of the "real" book. It's hard to tell from the length of the queue but I think I might be able to read it within the next month and certainly within the next two months.


message 18: by Wendy (new) - rated it 1 star

Wendy I'm so looking forward to your review and to talking about this! Somehow I'm not surprised that early enthusiasm turned into two stars, but I'm interested to find out why.


message 19: by Lisa (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lisa Vegan Wendy, Well, it was 3 stars until toward the end. I'll be writing a review today, at least that's the plan. It was definitely a disappointment.


message 20: by Wendy (new) - rated it 1 star

Wendy What Ayla decides to do in response to what Jondalar's been doing near the end of the book (vague in case people didn't read the spoiler) was just ridiculous. That's the part I was referencing about feeling like Auel betrayed her own character. I just do not think that Ayla would choose to do that, with that character. Nothing in a single one of the books has made that see like a probable or even possible action. Disgusting.

And yeah, I think that Auel really was building up, throughout the whole series, to some kind of revisit with either Ayla's original clan or with the Clan in general. (Mammoth Hunters definitely gave the impression that the second was going to happen and we shouldn't hold our breaths for the first, though I think a Journey for Durc might have been possible.) My guess is she couldn't figure out how to bring it all back together after all. There have been media mentions that this might not be the last book after all.


message 21: by Lisa (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lisa Vegan Wendy, I agree!!! Not Ayla. So much didn't work. I could have said so much more about why I didn't like this book, but to tell the truth, I wanted to be through with it as soon as possible after finishing it.


message 22: by Lisa (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lisa Vegan Wendy wrote: "There have been media mentions that this might not be the last book after all."

Well, this certainly didn't feel like a last book, but unless Jean M. Auel vastly improves any future books, I hope she just stops.


message 23: by Lisa (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lisa Vegan I'd be interested what your sister thought! You know, it is still nice to have a signed copy of this, whether or not she liked it. The book was a mess, but I still enjoyed the characters, setting, events, and especially Wolf!


message 24: by Wendy (new) - rated it 1 star

Wendy I agree--even though I hated this book, I would still have been delighted to get a signed copy, especially from an in-person connection like that.


message 25: by Lisa (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lisa Vegan Abigail, There are delays these days. I did just get an email about your message, and now I'm seeing Wendy's message too.

I am curious about what your sister thought of this book. Even us avid fans mostly don't seem to be favorably impressed. Really, the first book was by far the best.


message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

Weird, I missed this even though I was on the thread.

So, the ARC was riddled with typos? Looks like they didn't clean it up either. UGGGGHHHHHH.


message 27: by Lisa (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lisa Vegan The ARC was IMPOSSIBLE to read. I'm not THAT picky, and I couldn't read it. I was also incredibly irked because I received it when the hardcover was already out. They should have given me/us the finished hardcover edition. It wouldn't have helped change my mind about my review though, not at all.


message 28: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm not that picky either, and the finished copy was full of errors.

And no, the badness here had nothing to do with the copyediting. OH AYLA WHHHHYYYYYY????


message 29: by Lisa (last edited Apr 26, 2013 02:49PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lisa Vegan I know. Very disappointing.

I'm noticing that about more books, including good books that have established authors. I noticed typos in Anna Quindlen's (latest?) novel. I'm wondering if publishers no longer want to pay for competent copy editors.


message 30: by [deleted user] (new)

Maybe they're not hitting their deadlines and everything gets rushed? Seems odd, because this book was what, 8 years in the writing?


message 31: by Lisa (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lisa Vegan Ceridwen wrote: "Maybe they're not hitting their deadlines and everything gets rushed? Seems odd, because this book was what, 8 years in the writing?"

It was. Pathetic. I truly would have rather she'd just stopped. It would have been frustrating not knowing what happened, but better than seeing what happened/didn't happen. As far as this book goes, I assume both the author and publisher figured it was as good as it was going to get, but was still garbage, and not worth putting a lot of effort into its publication. Sad. The first book was so promising.


message 32: by Lisa (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lisa Vegan Abigail wrote: "Maybe they're not investing in editing anymore...?"

It doesn't seem that way. It's scary the way book publishing is going, and has been for a long time, but it's seems much worse lately. Or, maybe they're relying too much on spell check?


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