Book Reviews

Book Review: The Plains of Passage, by Jean M Auel (1990).

Although I will always consider the story of Ayla as a classic, I do have to admit that some of the novel is difficult to digest, especially with description after description of flora and fauna that existed in the time and setting of ancient man. Unfortunately, repetitive explanations of the same plant or animal can become very tedious no matter how the detail is painstakingly written with such wonderful quality. It is needed, (maybe in a lesser degree), otherwise the story would fade into a trashy romance. Regrettably this, the third novel of the Earth’s Children’s series seems even more overwhelmingly in-depth in describing what could be seen around the two humans and their followers, maybe even more so than its predecessors. Thankfully, if one can persevere through this, there is an amazing story to be told.

Ayla and Jondalar continue travelling towards the lands of the Zelandonii, following the river paths. On this journey the pair visit the home of the Sharamudoi who had been the home of Thonalan’s wife (insert). It is this part of the story that really shined with warmth and love. The telling of Thonalan’s death and the shared grief make it possible for Jondalar to find some kind of peace with his brothers death. It is also touching in the way they are both accepted by the Sharamudoi people and offered a high ranking marriage and positions in the society. And why wouldn’t they offer such prestigious awards to such mystifying people. It seems that no matter where Ayla goes she is seen as some type of holy woman.

The relationship between animal and human is also quite amazing and another area of the story that really stuck out to me. Whinney, Racer and Wolf are amazing creatures in their own right, having beaten the odds and surviving when under normal circumstances death would have seemed inevitable. But the fact they are the first domesticated animals whom flow commands and perform tasks no other in the world has seen makes them even more incredible. It was amazing to read how Ayla is able to teach new behaviours in both human and animal so that these creatures may continue to travel and live with them within a community of people.

Overall I feel that the main plot of the novel is fabulous, and although the story does drag out at times, Jean M Auel has written an amazing story in the Earth’s Children’s series. This the third book, is relatively longer than previous instalments, though does cover much more ground also. It gives light to just how far Jondalar and his brother actually travelled before the lion attacked and then finally finding Ayla.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fiction and history and of adult age. I feel younger readers would lose sight of the story amongst the flora and fauna. I give the book a rating of 7/10 stars.


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