The Land of Painted Caves

I actually finished this book a while ago but haven't had a chance to write about it. It's the latest (and 'final') chapter in the Earth's Children series by Jean M. Auel. I read the first in the series 'The Clan of the Cave Bear' as it was on the BBC Big Read Top 100 list, and I really enjoyed it. The next couple were also really good, although things went a bit downhill for 4 and 5, I was looking forward to 6 as I was hoping for some closure.

Sadly it is far and away the worst book of the series, and if I hadn't invested so much time in reading the others I wouldn't have got very far at all. The first two thirds of the book can be summed up in the following lines:

  1. Ayla, Zelandoni and co go to look at a new cave. The surroundings are needlessly described in great detail.
  2. They meet some new people, and list all of their titles to each other (Ayla's take up half a page). The new people notice that Ayla has an unusual accent.
  3. They go into a cave and look at the paintings.
  4. Go back to 1 and repeat.
The first two thirds of the book are like this. Clearly Jean Auel spent a lot of time researching the caves and paintings, and I'm sure in real life they are amazing to look at, but reading about paintings is incredibly dull, especially when you read the same thing over and over. It's almost as though she was writing a book for NaNoWriMo and trying to get as many words in as possible, if you search and replaced every occurrence of 'First Amongst Those Who Serve The Great Mother' with 'Zelandoni' you'd probably lose a great number of pages.

The last third of the book is slightly more interesting, although there is zero character development and Ayla and Jondalar behave completely out of character, behave like lovelorn teenagers and then get back together. Overall the book is incredibly disappointing. It does make for some entertaining reviews though. If only the book had been that entertaining.

Keane Ingram

A father of three and husband of one. I enjoy spending time with my family, staying active (especially cycling, running and capoeira) and playing video games. I also enjoy reading and watching films.

No comments:

Post a comment