Ayla, one of the most remarkable and beloved heroines in contemporary fiction, continues to explore the world and the people around her with curiosity, insight, and, above all, courage.
As the story opens, Ayla, Jondalar, and their infant daughter, Jonayla, are living with the Zelandonii in the Ninth Cave - a shelter of stone. Ayla has been chosen as an acolyte and has embarked on the arduous task of training to become a spiritual leader. The wisdom that Ayla gained from her struggles as an orphaned child, alone in a hostile environment, strengthen her as she moves closer to leadership of the Zelandonia.
Whatever the obstacles, Ayla’s inventive spirit produces new ways to lessen the difficulties of daily life: searching for wild edibles to make delicious meals, experimenting with techniques to ease the long journeys the Zelandoni must take, honing her skills as a healer and a leader. And then, there are the Sacred Caves, the caves that Ayla’s mentor - the Donier, the First of the Zelandonia - takes her to see. These caves are filled with remarkable art - paintings of mammoths, lions, aurochs, rhinoceros, reindeer, bison, bear. The powerful, mystical aura within these caves sometimes overwhelms Ayla and the rituals of initiation bring her close to death. But through those rituals, Ayla gains A Gift of Knowledge so important that it will change the world.
Spellbinding drama, meticulous research, fascinating detail, and superb narrative skill combine to make The Land of Painted Caves a captivating, utterly believable creation of a long ago civilization that serves as an astonishing end to this beloved saga.
Listen to more in the Earth's Children series.
©2011 Jean M. Auel (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
I have loved this series from the beginning - especially the first 2 - and like most of her fans, I have awaited this last book for a VERY long time. Maybe, because of that, I was not happy about this book. 1) While I liked Sandra Burr for the most part, I totally HATED her portrayal of Ayla. I know that we always hear about Ayla's accent, but Burr's accent for Ayla made her sound stupid. It was a shock and I almost couldn't continue because of it.
2) The story itself. I felt like there was a lot of repitition with the same story, or introductions or poems/songs being repeated in their entirety multple times. I think the Mother's Song lyrics had to be in there 5-6 times.
3) There is also an incident with Ayla and Jondolar that formed the basis of the last quarter of the book that made me go, "WHERE DID THAT COME FROM?"
4) There are also some wierd time gaps that occur. Jonayla seemed to go from suckling infant in one scene to horseback riding in the next scene. It was so jarring that it made me go back and relisten because I was sure I must have missed an entire chaper or section of the book. There are more gaps where entire years go by and the only transition is essentially, ".....and a year later...."
5) I felt like there was just something missing from Ayla's character - somehow, she became "ordinary" in this book. Despite the fact that we kept being "told" how special she was, there was nothing she DID in this book that was particularly interesting, innovative or even good. If I would not have known her history, I would have asked, "What's all the fuss about?" The things that made her special or even spectacular in previous books were downplayed or non-existant.
6) Finally, there was one "invention" that I kept expecting her to come up with and she never did. It is primed and set up for it to happen about 50 times in the book and never comes about. I don't want to say more lest I ruin the book for others, but I was disapointed overall.
The constant flashbacks, the repetitive "Mother's Song", the repetitive formal introduction makes this an awful listen. To be reminded of what happened in her first 5 books makes this book like an all-in-one novel of all Jean's novels. Would have been better to read this in print so I can fast forward reading. Worthless credit in my opinion.
If you read (or listened to) the first five books, you'll find this one a MAJOR disappointment. There's no real conclusion, nothing unexpectedly significant happens, and there's an annoying amout of repetition...not just explaining things that happened in previous books, but also repeating things in this one. It's as if it was written by someone else who had only the previous books to work from and was told not to develop the characters further, or writing anything unexpected or conclusive. This book is a waste of time.
Like so many others, I was eager for this book and bought it as soon as it came out. Right out of the chute, it was boring and repetitive. The litany of names, many of no consequence, came at the expense of what might have been the most interesting opening action; the lion hunt. The numerous repetitions of "spear thrower" were useless fluff.
Initially, I thought it must be me. Had I grown too old to enjoy Clan of the Cave Bear? Was my memory of the previous, much loved books, faulty?
But no, it's not just me. I've read the reviews here, and on other sites. Sadly I must join the ranks of the disappointed.
This book is a big disappointment. It has very slow action, more a recitations of previous books. Great to cure insomnia but not for much else;
This is the first book in a long time I wished I could get my money back
Like everyone else I LOVED the previous books. When I saw the March 29th release date for this one I immediately called my Mom to let her know so she could buy herself a copy. After listening to about 4 hours of this book I called mom and told her not to waist her money. Auel should have just ended the story in book 5 this is horribly boring dribble! Ugh What an awful way to end a really good series. So very disappointed.
I absolutely loved the first five books in this saga but grew insanely tired of the repetative nature of this book. It was like Jean had to fill a certain number of pages so she kept repeating the same things over and over. I am fast forwarding through so much of the book I feel like I was ripped off. If I have to listen to the Mother's Song one more time, I'm gonna scream!!
I have loved the Clan of the Cave Bear series and looked forward to this book. I can only echo what the other reviewers are stating as negative about the book and ask another question: Where was the editor for this book? Surely, Crown Publishers employs editors? The backstory and repitition was overwhelming. Since Ms. Auel is a bestselling published author it seems Crown has let everything slide. Even published authors need editors especially after 31 years. Too bad because the series was a remarkable one.
I will not finish this. I love Audible books, but NOT this one. At first I thought it was the narrator trudging through each word until I wanted to scream. But then the non-story that she's reading came through and I saw two strikes against it. It's all a repeat of everything from the previous books. I couldn't take one more description of how people should greet Wolf; we've been told numerous times. How many ways can we hear about each bloody sound that you can make in a cave! Ayla's accent as done by the narrator is so distracting that I have to stop what I'm doing and wonder if she perhaps has something caught in her throat. Another distraction is the way Jondalar's voice is stunted so badly that he sounds like he's not very bright. For me this means that this book is just too much work. I'm probably like many others who use Audible in order to accomplish other tasks while simultaneously listening to great books but unfortunately I will not be continuing this book. Love the Earth Children Series (except this one).
Like many other listeners I've been a big fan of the series for years and have been waiting for this to come out since I finished reading The Shelters of Stone. I was like a kid waiting for Christmas when I found out Land of the Painted Caves was finally going to be released. I wanted very badly to like this book. I was sure that I couldn't not like it. I was very wrong.
I wish I hadn't read it. I was bored about to death and the last quarter of the book was so out of character, unbelievable and was resolved in such an unrealistic, unhealthy way that my brain is having trouble believing I actually heard what I heard. Ayla isn't special anymore. I've lost my respect for her and Jondalar.
It was painful for me to listen to from the first scene to the totally ludicrous "ending" that detracted from the whole series.
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