Saturday, May 7, 2011

It's not always as good as you remember

I am a fan of Jean M. Auel and I loved the Clan of the Cave Bear when I read it in High School. So in preparation for the release of The Land of Painted Caves I reread the entire series.  It has been many years since I first read The Clan Of the Cave Bear, The Valley of Horses, Mammoth Hunters, and The Plains of Passage. I do not recall reading The Shelters of Stone before, so I read this one for the first time.  While I love the premise and the stories, these books are just soooo long.  I like the characters and the setting. I enjoy learning about pre-historic times and Auel's explanation for the differences between tribes, clans and their cultures. It just seems to me, that the stories are redundant.  Just when Ayla gets comfortable and makes a home for herself and makes new friends/family, she moves again.  The differences between herself and the people she lives with continue and end up making her stand out.  She always wins most people over. There are conflicts between herself, Jondalar, her male friend, and the people they meet on their journeys. However, they overcome most difficulties with minimal effort.
 The novels are great historic fiction, but they are a slow read. There are lots of facts to wade through and some are interesting, but there are only so many descriptions of cave drawings one can handle.  I understand the premise, but it was overkill. Granted, this could be because I sat and read each novel back to back. Each book can stand on its own with the detailed references of Ayla's and Jondalar's past experiences repeated in every novel. This is especially true in the newest and final edition in the Earth Children's Series, The Land of the Painted Caves.   

I must say I began this blog, before I finished the last book and I was so tired and disenchanted with it that I almost didn't finish it.  I am glad I stuck with it.  Don't get me wrong the novels were long (I can't stress that enough), especially the last one, but the last quarter of the final novel was very good. There were less repetitions and the story was not as predictable.

All in all if you have read the previous books in the series. Do not reread them (You don't need to). The highlights from those novels are paraphrased throughout the final novel.  This novel pretty much concludes the series. Auel still leaves a few characters hanging and I wonder if they will negatively impact Ayla's life in the future or if her story is truly finished. The book was ok, but if you wonder if I would read it again, my answer is quite simply, no.

No comments: