I don't usually write reviews but when I saw some of the negative reviews I had to step up! I LOVED this audiobook! I wonder if some of the listeners who wrote negatives are just new to the series? This is definitely a series that must start with Urban Shaman or else you will be lost for sure. I love how much Joanne has grown since the last book. I also love how the relationship between Joanne and her boss has developed. I usually just listen to audiobooks in my car and read print books at home but with this one I popped my ipod out of the car put on some headphones and listened for hours (an audio version of a book you just can't put down)....I have even taken to haunting the author's web site hoping there will be a change in the 2009 publication date for the next book. Unlike an earlier review I am NOT happy a new series is coming out soon because that means she is not working on The Walker Papers series! :)
I have grown up with Ayla and Jondalar, I started reading the series at age 12 and finished it at 36. So even though books 4 and 5 were pretty godawful, and the reviews for this book hinted that it didn't get any better, for the sake of closure I felt I HAD to listen to it... Please don't make the same mistake I did, skip this one. I don't want to be too repetitive so I will only highlight the truly awful aspects of this book.
1) "Ayla had a peculiar accent", "While not unpleasant, he found her accent to be very unusual" Statements such as these if placed one after the other would fill at least 2 full chapters... And no I am NOT exaggerating!
2) Repetition, Repetition, Repetition. Where is the editor!!?!! I understand having to give some back story with a series this massive but Auel obviously lost her place several times and she ended up giving the EXACT same back information many times throughout the book. Did she have a no edit clause for the last 3 books in this series? I mean it was really really bad. Probably the worst case of bad/no editing I have ever come across (and I read a lot!)
3) The last 8th of the book... Are you kidding me?!? Other than when I was 13 and reading Valley of Horses for the first time Jondalar has never been my favorite male lead character by any stretch of the imagination. He is whiny, bigoted and his character has shown very little growth over the past 20 years. That being said he actually seemed to grow up a bit in the first 3/4 of this book. He is settling down helping out with Jonayla, actually saying "The clan" instead of "Flathe... I mean the Clan". And then there was Merona... Like Ayla I could understand an affair given the culture but having one with your wife's worst enemy just because "she was available"? His lack of true understanding and remorse was unforgivable. The very sad thing about this whole section of the book was that it was the most interesting and entertaining thing that happens :(
I am always a bit wary when writing a review because I don't want too unintentionally give away to much plot and spoil it for people. I will try not to give away anymore of the novel than any of the other reviewers have...That being said I must say what a complete disappointment this book was! I enjoyed the first three books, though felt they were a bit doom and gloom and depressing at times as well. I listened to the entire series on audiobook and tried to listen to the fourth without going back but got 40 minutes into the book and had no idea what was going on! Even after listening to the third book again I was often confused by all the many different characters and the plot twists that depended on you remembering previous novels. The names of many of the characters are so similar that, even though I feel the narrators were wonderful, I was often confused as to who was who. All this I could put aside and give 3 stars to this book if it wasn't for the ending...Horrible! As many others feel it had a hurried feel to it as if the author was thinking "Uh oh getting way too long I better end it soon". And without giving away too much plot the character change of Kaede from the first 3 books to this one really stretches plausibility and her COMPLETE character change at the end was beyond the slightest credibility. The message the first three books seem to impart is "love can conquer all" and the message the last book imparts is "love WILL conquer all so if your stupid enough to try it watch your back"...Not the kind of book or message I want to waste 20 or so hours of my life on...Bottom line = Avoid this book at all costs!
I have enjoyed this series especially the last two. I have to reiterate what another reviewer has said however... The end was more than just bad, it was terrible. I am never one fond of unhappy endings to begin with but I really felt jipped with this one. I had to rewind my Ipod several times because I was sure I was missing something. The end was too rushed and there was no sense of closure....A big disappointment. (Narrator was still wonderful however.)
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