Earth’s Children #6: The Land of the Painted Caves by Jean M. Auel

Read: 29 September, 2013

In this final book, Ayla trains to become a Zelandoni and has to deal with the difficulties of being a “career woman.”

As I had predicted in the last book, there is a strong undercurrent of “Ayla invents patriarchy.” Not to give away spoilers, but she manages to convince everyone that babies are indeed conceived from sex. This very quickly leads to the men in the group feeling possessive over “their” babies, and talking about wanting to keep their mates monogamous.

There was a lot of repeated material – Ayla takes some bad herbs and goes into a sort of coma so Wolf has to go find Jondalar and bring him back so that the power of his love can revive her. And, of course, Ayla and Jondalar have a misunderstanding (sort of, Jondalar was also being a rather big jerk) and decide to just avoid each other and attempt suicide rather than actually talking. How they’ve managed to be in a relationship for as long as they have given their chronic reluctance to ever talk about their problems is an utter mystery to me. They haven’t grown at all as characters since Mammoth Hunters.

It was frustrating and, as with many of the later books in the series, painfully plodding. The whole narrative could have easily been condensed into a book a quarter of the size. Information was repeated, over and over again – not just information from earlier in the series, but often just from earlier in the book! The Mother’s Song, in particular, must have been repeated at least a dozen times, if not more.

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Other books in the Earth’s Children series:

  1. The Clan of the Cave Bear
  2. The Valley of Horses
  3. The Mammoth Hunters
  4. The Plains of Passage
  5. The Shelters of Stone
  6. The Land of Painted Caves

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