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Customer Review

105 of 109 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars recommend with a few reservations, 14 May 2011
This review is from: The Land of Painted Caves (Earths Children 6) (Hardcover)
I knew the date this book would arrive on my doorstep so planned ahead and read books 1-5 in the 3 weeks before.

This very much highlighted an issue that became more obvious as I read through the books in order - they are a series and many (?most) people will have read the previous books. However, and I suspect this comes from the publisher, there is an attempt to make each book stand on its own and not as an integral part of a series - this is a major cause of my reservations about the book I'd waited years to read.

Suggestion to publishers of series books everywhere - respect your authors and respect your readers! All you need to do is have a short section at the beginning of books of a series giving the pertinent facts necessary to understand and enjoy each book if read alone and not part of a series.

I read a lot of non fiction about human evolution and pre-history so very much enjoyed the detail about the painted caves - even if I couldn't quite work out all the modern locations and cave names and match which I've visited. A bit added at the end of the book giving that information and details of the museums and sites that the public can visit would have been lovely.

I was very surprised that the relationships with the Neanderthals wasn't properly explored - it seemed a very strange omission given what I'd been reading in the earlier books that was so fresh in my mind - does this mean there is a 7th book planned? Given the research and discoveries about this area while book 6 was being written it seems very odd that this wasn't covered in the book.

The Mother's Song was repeated too often for me - it actually started spoiling my feelings about it. Judicious use of the cinematic 'fade out' at the start of the song, after the first full rendition in the book, might have been a solution there.

The ending - it didn't feel like the ending this series of book deserves. Again, I'm left wondering about a book 7. Does Jean want to be continuing as a professional writer for the years I expect it will take to write a book 7? Will this series of books go down in history as the 'unfinished series'? Do we await the Hollywood film - Search for the Seventh!

Despite all that it still gets 4 stars. The research was meticulous, lots of new information (even if some of it has become lost in repetition of old information - grrrr publishers and 'stand alone' requirements), fascinating suggestions about how early communities may have interacted and dealt with difficult issues, and, above all, I enjoyed it.

For those who didn't, I'd recommend a 2nd reading with skimming over that parts you'll now know you can skim - it will be a better read!
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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 15 May 2011 20:19:07 BDT
jayprime says:
"I was very surprised that the relationships with the Neanderthals wasn't properly explored" - wasn't this covered extensively in book one, and on into book two?

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2011 21:07:01 BDT
D. J. Cooper says:
The general relationship between Neanderthals and Cro-magnons in the east, yes. But in book 5 there was considerable mention of the Zelandonii opening trade talks with the Neanderthals in the area we know as southern France - which is of course a year's journey from Ayla's origins in the east.

This was a consequence of the Zelandonii changing their perceptions of Neanderthals as 'like them', rather than just animals, and of course made possible by Ayla and, to a lesser degree Jondalar, being able to communicate with the Neanderthals. This is what I was referring to, since I felt book 5 was leading onto a major storyline in this area in book 6.

Posted on 30 May 2011 22:15:45 BDT
I'm not sure if the constant re-telling of the previous books is down to the publisher or just the way that Jean Auel prefers to write but I completely agree that it should have been edited out. I suppose I should have expected it because it has been the same for several books now!

I was also shocked at no new interactions with the clan in this book - I thought that was what the whole series was leading up to, Ayla & Jondalar helping the Cro-Magnon's learn to interact with the Clan and set up trading etc. Very disappointing that nothing more was said about it.

I wanted to answer your question about if there will be a book 7. I was lucky enough to meet Jean Auel back in February at the Natural History Museum and she mentioned that she would love to write Durc's story so I'm really keeping my fingers crossed. I'm not getting my hopes up though because she also mentioned that she is 75 now and would like to spend time with her family before starting another book (considering the length of time it takes her to write each book and her age I'm not sure she will have time to finish another one - even though I sincerely hope that she will do!)

Posted on 27 Aug 2011 21:42:44 BDT
Totally agree with DJ Cooper`s comments re,repetition,it WAS, beginning to get a bit tedious,so I tended to skip passages,which didn`t really detract from this books story,given that I have read all the previous Titles in this series.I concur also,that the ending was a bit of a let down, leaving perhaps,as you say DJ, the option of a continuance in the series.I would still merit this a 4 star tag,for the sheer wealth of research,which goes into making this very enjoyable read.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Nov 2011 12:11:54 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 4 Nov 2011 12:15:08 GMT]

Posted on 20 Apr 2012 20:51:45 BDT
honey bee says:
i too waited with bated breath for this sixth book .. sadly and very quickly i became very dissapointed and bored for similar reasons given in others comments...
..jean ...please do your own thing as in the previous books !

Posted on 4 Sep 2012 23:12:20 BDT
Mags says:
I agree about the constant repetitions of the story written in the previous books. It did spoil the reading of the story as it broke it up quite a lot. If the entire saga had been written as one long story, it would have been assumed that the reader had read through the previous chapters. So even though the author says that she wrote it as one book and it naturally fell into 6 parts, it has definitely been revised for later readers to understand each "book" of the whole story. Apart from the Mother´s Song being repeated so many times (and on a Kindle, it took up several pages each time - which I inevitably just flipped past) I also found the constant extended sexual sessions a bit out of place. Of course Ayla and Jondalar were just like modern man and probably enjoyed a healthy sex life but it just felt a bit weird and voyeuristic and more suitable for a soft-porn romance novel than a historic and factual image of prehistoric life. I skipped through all that too! I had previously read the first 5 books but then downloaded all 6 of them to my Kindle and enjoyed reading the whole story from start to finish. It would have been nice to have had a couple more books to follow on. I was convinced that Ayla's mother would appear at the end of the last book. I thought that maybe she hadn't died in the earthquake but had lived and had been searching for her young daughter ever since. And all the time she was living closeby in another cave. And of course a reunion with Durc and her old friends from the Clan. Now I've finished this saga, what can I read now?? Any suggestions for similar books?

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Nov 2012 10:17:50 GMT
C. Turpin says:
Does anyone really think that Jean actually wrote this book?

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Nov 2012 22:11:05 GMT
Unfortunately I'm pretty sure she did! She did an event at the Natural History Museum last year to celebrate the launch of the book (we were able to pre-order copies at the even but it was before the release date so nobody had read it yet) and she seemed really proud of it. That was one of the reasons I was so disappointed :o(

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jul 2013 17:49:47 BDT
Yes, I thought the each book was outstanding and I just could not put them down; however, the last book, that I was biting my fingernails waiting for, had too much repetition of what had been in the previous books. What would have been better in my humble opinion, would have been a more update foot-note at the beginning, and then the story would have come through much better. I found myself skimming over the pages having read parts before in the previous books. This is not a criticism of Jean Auel, I did thoroughly enjoy the book, and was really upset that it was the last one. It makes riveting reading and I really enjoyed the series.
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