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

What do you think about the newest book in the Earth's Children Series?

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message 1: by Susan (last edited Oct 27, 2011 09:15AM) (new)

Susan Bright I devoured all of the books in Auel's Earth's Children Series. I remember reading about Ayla, watching her grow up and eventually meet her mate. I was so looking forward to The Land Of The Painted Caves, but have heard very little about it and what I have heard has not been good. Have you read it?

Marilize I have read it, and it was good - I was just expecting more after reading the others. Reading it for its own sake, it's still a good book.

Much of the other books gets repeated in this last one, and although a lot of time passes, it feels like nothing much is happening. Not a lot of plot. If she left out all the repetitions of the Mother's Song, it would have been a lot shorter. She could have done what Elizabeth Haydon did, and include the Mother's song as an addendum to her books - if you want to read it again, you can flip to it, and if you don't want to read it, she's not wasting time and paper telling you about it again. What I did, was skip past the Mother song every time I found it.

But I do think it's important to read it if you've been following the other books - it does resolve most of the threads from the first books. I can't wait for one of my friends who is still waiting for her mother to buy the book so that she can borrow it, because then we can chat about this book together.

I also got the idea that she left some of the ending wide open for another sequel. Some of the characters that bear them ill will leave, and you get the idea they can come back in a future book and cause mischief. In previous books she also dreams about her first son and you get the idea that it's prophetic, but nothing comes of it, which leaves you with a feeling that something's missing.

But do read it.

message 3: by Susan (new)

Susan Bright I read the other books so long ago that I am afraid that I am going to be lost.

Katie I completely agree with Marilize; It is good as a book generally, but it certainly didn't compete with some of the other books in the series. Also, I appreciate how well written and imaginative the Mothers Song is, but it gets very repetitive and it's kind of like, Okay Jean, we understand you're very proud of it. I still love Ayla though, despite the slightly disappointing end to the series.
I read it just to put it to an end, because otherwise it would almost be for nothing that you read her whole journey and just left it on a cliff-hanger.

Cindy Mahlau I agree that I was disappointed but it was a good book to read and I LOVED the others. I'm truly SICK of reading the Mothers Song.

Rachel Yes, the Mother Song was just drove in the ground and broke off. It was pretty the first time you read it. But got old quick cause it's so long. So id skip it. The ending did leave you hanging. Im wondering if there will be another to tie those ends up. I hate when they don't.

Carina I was disapointed by this book. I was introduced to the early ones and read them in about a month total - then had a wait of 6 months before this came out so I was really excited.

This book was so repetitive (and that wasn't including the Mother Song) - it just felt really weak. I'm not sure if it was partly becuase there wasn't much serious journeying going on compared to the others or what. If it weren't for the really irritating ending of The Shelters of Stone I would sell my copy and just finish the story there.

message 8: by Dan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan Chance It FINALLY turned out alright but I get soooo vexed at both Ayla and Jondalar for not telling the other that they want each other and not someone else. I can do without the conflict.

message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

I was very dissapointed. I have all the books to her series and enjoyed them but this one...

Lorrie Ditto to everyone. You all say it so well. What about the red and black dots? Did you get the feeling they were made by the Clan people? She made reference to the fact that the "flatheads" couldn't draw. Could the dots have been their addition to the paintings? She also said something about dots and the clan late in the book. What did you think?

message 11: by Gabrielle (last edited May 27, 2012 07:06AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Gabrielle I agree with everyone. It gets very repetitive. It definitely took long to read then the others because it didn't keep me a interested as the other. But I finished it because I love Ayla and wanted to read her whole story.

Lorrie THE RED & BLACK DOTS!!!! Maybe the clan people expressing themselves since they couldn't draw--didn't have the ability to be artistic? What do you think?

message 13: by Julz (new) - rated it 1 star

Julz I read this series for the first time straight through in December 2011 so I was able to get a good read for how this last book totally veered off the whole premise being built up in the previous four books.


All the way through, you could see how the main characters were making history by realizing the truth about procreation and how special it was. Although Ayla stepped out in book two, you knew that it was because of her childhood upbringing and once she understood that she could follow her own heart, as well as knowing how Jondalar felt, she maintain her exclusivity with him. There were also multiple scenes where he avoided coupling with others because of his feelings for Ayla and how hurt he knew she would be. When Jondalar had sex outside of his relationship with Ayla, with her worst enemy nonetheless, it negated all growth that was achieved with these characters in the eariler books. Not to mention, it showed how utterly selfish and unconcened for Ayla's feelings Jondalar was. Although it was a norm in the culture to not be monogamous, his choice of partner was just plain cruel. And just so it's clear, I don't have issues with infidelity in stories (look at my reading selections if you don't believe me ;) However, in the case of this book, it ruined the work and growth achieved during the previous four books of the two main characters of the series.

Along with the fidelity issue, there was an obvious lack of resolution with the "flatheads" that was expected. The author even had characters in place but then they just fell off the page. I think she started down a path, took a vacation to see the caves for "research" and decided she wanted to talk about that instead of the original premise for the book, and ended up going down a totally different path than what was mapped out originally.

Personally, I still haven't gotten over the disappointment, so I can just imagine the feelings of those who have had a long term affair with the series and have followed it from its inception.

Daniel Good, The previous books were about Ayala, then Her and Jondalars movements separate.. then their movements together to finally the end of the journey to jondalars home..

I believe that She will be putting out more at least dealing with the loose ends left that are there for another book..

As to some thinking its on an different path, only author knows and if it is a move off what seems a different path, it can be so because this may setup that future book or two ..

message 15: by Julz (new) - rated it 1 star

Julz The rumor is that this was the last book in the series. She said her kids can do whatever they wish after she's gone.

I know we can't see inside the mind of an author, but the descrepancy was just so obvious to me, probably because I read them back to back.

The last book was a travel pamphlet with some events that didn't mesh with the rest of the series mixed in. It wouldn't have been such a big deal if I hadn't enjoyed the rest of the books so well. I was totally invested in her characters and cared what happened to them. Then to find out how sneaky, shallow and selfish one of the main characters was was such a letdown. We found out that his deception had been occuring for quite a while, ruining how I felt about things Jondalar did for Ayla (for example, he had been messing around since before the time they traveled on the cave tour and he saved her from those bad guys.)

Plus I was looking forward to the resolution with the Neanderthals that never happened.

Because of what happened in the last book, I can only look back on the first book as being one I'd care to read again. It's just too bad.

message 16: by Jeni (last edited Aug 01, 2012 09:29AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jeni I have been reading these books since the first one was published. For 30 years I have read, re-read, and re-re-read these stories. I have replaced my paperback copies multiple times because I have worn them out. I have them all in hardback, paperback, and ebook format. I love this series.

I have to say that I have just been so disappointed by this book. The following reasons may or may not be a spoiler, so I just am giving fair warning.


Firstly, I grew to quickly hate the Mother's song. It's a lazy device for a writer to employ, in my opinion. Copy/paste is lazy. Not to mention it doesn't further the plot. Every time it appeared, I literally groaned and wondered again why "she lifted her arms and sang the Mother's song, testing the cave," wouldn't have done the job instead of three pages of the same poem AGAIN? There were A LOT of caves in this book and the Mother's song is sung EVERY TIME.

Next, please, please, please stop with the whole misunderstanding thing between Ayla and Jondalar. I despised this in Mammoth Hunters, but acknowledged it moved the plot along. Now, it's just painful to read. There's no reason for it except to give some tension. Well, give me a hunt or a medical emergency or a fight between caves for the tension. I don't want them to have the same years-old conflict again. It's silly at this point.

The parts I tend to skip are: Mother's song, cave descriptions (there are a LOT in here), and the same discussions about things we've learned already. Thread-puller; check. Making fire; check. Flashbacks; check.

I was disappointed in how she cared for her child, as well. She took better care of a cave lion, in my opinion. Especially since all she expresses is the desire to be a mate and mother, then spends all her time being an acolyte and then leaving her child in the care of others.

All in all, I still cannot say to not read this book. I love the learning Ayla encounters, the teaching she does, the different conflicts with others, the day-to-day things that make these books so interesting (to me). I still love Ayla. I hope Jean is back to form by the time the next book comes around.

message 17: by Julz (last edited Oct 28, 2012 03:54PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Julz I liked them too. That's why it was such a let down for me. The events in the last book just veered so far off how I saw entire premise of the book developing, that it changed how I viewed all the growth that occurred.

And the repetition of the cave descriptions and the mother song. Ugh.

But you're right, if you read the rest of the series, it's a must to read the last one. Just don't expect it to maintain the philosophy that was evolving in the other books of the series.

message 18: by Cj (new) - rated it 2 stars

Cj I felt this book had a totally different feel from the other 5 books.... I read the otheers over and over... after reading this I felt there was a hateful attitude about writing this book and it could have ended in harmony with the others.... I feel something very hurtful happened to the author and she used the book as a way to express her hate and pain... It was quite sad to read ... A whole lifes work ended badly...I guess it was very much like life... I read fiction to get away from reallity....(less)

Shari I have been reading this series for 30 years. I've always found Auel's writing style to be annoyingly repetitive from book to book, but this was balanced out by the events & characters. The last book has been a huge let down. Too many caves - this got boring really quickly. As per the other posts - too many repetitions of the Mothers Song.
Not enough about the relationships between Ayla and her daugher, and not enough about the other players in the story. And I agree with Julz04 - the relationship issues between Ayla and Jondolar where just a repeat of earlier books - surely they have reached a deeper understanding after all this time?
Also - I was completely unsatisfied with the ending... Surely Ayla is going to become the greatest Zeladonii of all time and make great steps forward in looking after 'her people'.

Dilys Myhill I enjoyed the first three in this series but the last ones there was to much repeating. I felt Jean Auel should have finished the series in the fourth novel.

Simone The last book was a major let down for me. I actually began to wonder whether she had actually written it herself in the end, or whether the task was delegated to someone else. She seems to have written the book to fulfill an obligation, but doesn't seem to have had a clear idea of where it was going. The series stopped rather than ended.

I have heard her say in a radio interview that this is definitely the last book. Not sure I'd read another if this is the quality we can expect. Shame, as I was so absorbed in the series.

message 22: by Julz (new) - rated it 1 star

Julz I feel so bad for the people who followed this series from the very beginning. All that wait for such a huge letdown.

message 23: by Jjab (last edited Jun 15, 2013 01:02AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jjab I skipped through over half the book. Now when I re-read the series I stop at the plains of passage. They get home everythings good, awesome place to end.

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

Gay Jjab wrote: "I skipped through over half the book. Now when I re-read the series I stop at the plains of passage. They get home everythings good, awesome place to end."

I totally agree.

message 25: by Kris (new)

Kris Gay wrote: "Jjab wrote: "I skipped through over half the book. Now when I re-read the series I stop at the plains of passage. They get home everythings good, awesome place to end."

I totally agree."

I disagree---I stop at the end of Mammoth Hunters. Can't stand the travelogue of Plains of Passage, and get tired of Ayla suddenly becoming perfect in every way. I mean, shit--she never even gets crabby. wtf?

message 26: by Claire (new)

Claire Kris, you summed up EC series perfectly. I only hung around to see the Neanderthal/ Hominid storyline develop, which bombed, and read the descriptions of early survival. Why bother writing the rest if your heart's not in it? Contracts can be repaid!
If anyone reads this and you haven't already, read Chronicles of Ancient Darkness by Michelle Paver. 6 books, 'Young Adult' and totally fabulous tribal fare. It's big on survival and mysticism.

message 27: by Kris (new)

Kris Thanks for the referral to a new series! I just re-read Painted Caves, and basically skipped the whole second part--couldn't take it--to go to page 511, where part 3 starts. I did that after reading the review that mentioned that it seemed like JA actually wrote that part as a book beginning. I have to agree---it really does start off very similarly to her other books, and travels along the same way right up until 3/4 of the way through the section, whereupon it suddenly switches up in order to come to some kind of ending. As well, the ending is totally abrupt. She clearly ran out of steam.

The first two sections, in my mind, were completely ghost written. I don't know who did it, but there is no way it could even have been edited to sound like her voice. The sentence structure is completely different, and the flat, clinical, "tell it, don't show it" tone is foreign to these series.

Christian Well, it made my top ten worst books of 2011 list. The language was stilted, the writing repetitive and uninspiring and the characters had less depth than the paper they were printed on.

message 29: by Claire (new)

Claire Haha, tell us about it! This is a book I actively sought out at the store, and off loaded it into the op shop bag - half way through it!

message 30: by Erica (new) - rated it 1 star

Erica I hated this book. I was so disappointed! Couldn't even finish it.

message 31: by Julz (new) - rated it 1 star

Julz Erica wrote: "I hated this book. I was so disappointed! Couldn't even finish it."

That's fortunate. You were spared the out in left field ending.

message 32: by Dawn (new) - rated it 1 star

Dawn Recently finished it and it was really, really bad. Repetitive and flat, both plot and characters, with the stuff that had potential completely glossed over or never even touched (like any interaction with the Clan, follow-up with Durc--which had been hinted at earlier in the series--and can anyone tell me if these Ancients who presumably did some of the art were ever explained in the previous book? The one thing she didn't bother to explain...). At least there were none of the multiple cut-and-paste sex scenes so prevalent in The Shelters of Stone.

I think I'll just stick with Valley of the Horses and Plains of Passage when I read her books.

message 33: by Cj (new) - rated it 2 stars

Cj I think she must have had a very negative tragedy in her life... Her book is quite negative and without hope ... all the others are very positive and fun.

message 34: by Dale (new) - rated it 1 star

Dale Proctor This series got less and less interesting for me as it went along but I didn't regret the time reading any of the books except for the last one. Watching paint dry on a cave wall would be an apt metaphor for reading this last novel. Terribly disappointing. The author took so long to complete this and I think you can tell her heart wasn't into it at all.

Selenia I've never been so disappointed with something so anticipated. I started reading this series at 11 years old, when I came across "Plains of Passage" at the library (yes, wrap your mind around a 11 year old girl reading something so sexually unsubtle). I was halfway though PoP when I realized it was 4th in the series, and even then I was OCD about reading a series in order so stopped it and went back to the 1st book. I would definitely rate the series in the order of publication: best book one, second best book two, third best book 3, and it's all downhill from there, folks. The PoP was thrilling to my teenage mind but despite all the sex I found the repetition just boring. The 5th book can be summed up in one sentence: she has a baby and everyone loves her. I'll not rehash the 6th book (there are plenty of other reviews here), but it had me questioning if the original author even wrote it. It's just terrible.

message 36: by A.E. (last edited Dec 18, 2014 02:23PM) (new) - added it

A.E. Dooland Bekah wrote: "I've never been so disappointed with something so anticipated. I started reading this series at 11 years old, when I came across "Plains of Passage" at the library

[contains spoilers]

This was what happened to me! I read the first book when I was 11 and boy was it a shock! I'd been a very sheltered little girl and the last book I'd read was Watership Down, and then I read these!

I loved all of them up until the second-to-last one. Ayla had really inspired me because she was an outcast who'd found kinship and love and in the process gone to accidentally do amazing things. I will be honest and say I did just skim over all the historical and flora/fauna descriptions so I could focus on the interpersonal drama, which usually felt real.

Unfortunately in the second to last book, and even more so in the last book, the drama felt manufactured, the endless descriptive prose I skimmed over actually became pages and pages and... I didn't get the confrontation between the new folk and the Flatheads that I thought the series was pitching towards.

Furthermore, Ayla became a bit too perfect for me. She didn't retain her appeal from the previous books.

It really gives me the heads up on what to avoid writing myself :/

Selenia Exactly, this book violated the #1 rule in writing: show, don't tell. It felt like a lecture with a sprinkling of manufactured drama

Angela I would love to know what Jean Auel's response would be to all the negative reviews for the last book. I wonder if she realises what the consensus of opinion is?

message 39: by Jim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jim Swike It was wrote as if another book is planned.

Cheryl This is an old post so you have probably already read it or listened to everyone's reviews and were smart and did not read it. I read it 3 months ago. I am still sick to my stomach whenever I think about it. She turned Ayla into a regular person. I liked Ayla being special. I did not care if she invented everything. I loved the character. The end of the 6th book was awful. I do not know what Ms Auel was thinking. Nothing was pulled together except to finally admit that it takes men and women to make babies. No connection with the Clan, no meeting her son again and then basically letting her get rapped by the worst character in the series just to get back at Jondular. it was awful. I will continue to re-read the first 5 but will never read book 6 again.

message 41: by [deleted user] (new)

Worst final book to a series ever. In fact, I don't think there could ever be, in the boundless future, a worse final book. Repetitive, boring, big "reveal" is something Ayla has known and told everyone about since the beginning-- men are fathers-- whodathunk? Her visions of Durc and her son with Jondalr in conflict as if they never existed; Jondalar apparently learning absolutely nothing from his jealous self-destructive behavior in Mammoth Hunters, Ayla having sex with someone totally disgusting to get back at Jondalar-- both acting so completely out of character, it was like they didn't have any kind of established history. I believe that Jean Auel took so long to write this book and it turned out so horrendously because she was ill, or couldn't really write anymore and so just patched ad nauseum descriptions together, threw in some anachronistic observations (huh?), wrecked her characters and did not deliver on a show down between the Neanderthals and Ayla's people simply because she was no longer capable of this kind of plot resolution. There has to be a reason this book is so horrible. I LOVED the series and hated the last book so much I actually threw it away. I can't have it on my shelves, sullying the series. Sheer and utter crap.

Penny I was really disappointed in this book, a lot of it seemed to puffed out just to make it longer, when there wasn't much of a story there anyway.
I loved the series and expected so much more from this book, especially as we waited so many years for it. I think the author could have saved herself the time really!

message 43: by Jenna (last edited May 27, 2015 11:04PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jenna It's a regurgitation of the previous books. She could have done so much more with it. It was most likely just a way for all involved to bank on the series one last time. I would have loved an update on Durc. The first and third installments are my favorites.

message 44: by Jim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jim Swike Yes Jenna I was disappointed as well. If this was written as a final book, could have been much, much better. I actually enjoyed all of them, this one, not so much.

message 45: by Michele (new)

Michele I'm actually thankful that I read all of these reviews first before wasting my time with this book. Book One created the world we all fell in love with, Book Two explored Ayla's finding of herself and her strength while learning how to trust and love again, Book Three, while it fell flat with silly sex descriptions, illustrated an interesting story along with exploring human prejudice and racism, but after that....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. The Plains of Passage was dull - the only interesting part was meeting up with the Clan. I couldn't get through Book Five and only would read Book Six if Auel went back to her strength - the Clan and the world she created in Book One. I don't give a flying rat's ass about Ayla and Jondalar acting like jealous teens on a bender. Why not create a dual story with the Clan as she did with Ayla and Jondalar's stories in The Valley of Horses?

I do care about what happened to Durc and Uba and Brun - even Broud - did he get his comeuppance? Does the Clan survive through "mixed spirits" like Durc? What happened to Ayla's Clan after the earthquake? Does Durc remember his mother? Is he like Durc of the legends and leaves the Clan to find his destiny?

I guess we'll never know now. More's the pity.

message 46: by Kris (new)

Kris Michele wrote: "I'm actually thankful that I read all of these reviews first before wasting my time with this book. Book One created the world we all fell in love with, Book Two explored Ayla's finding of herself ..."

We'll never know what happened to the Clan. That's the saddest part, I think. I couldn't care less about Jondalar and all of his annoying family members. I really wanted to know what was going to happen with the Clan. In all honestly, I don't think Jean Auel had much to do with this awful book at all, and there are a lot of doubts in my mind about the rest of the books that follow The Mammoth Hunters. The style is so completely different, and the plot so plodding, that I honestly think they were ghost written, or she had some kind of incapacitating brain dysfunction, but the family banded together to finish out her contract for the remaining books, for the money.

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