The sixth, and final book of the Earth’s Children series authored by Jean. M. Auel, tittled The Land of Painted Caves, has been an enthralling read, and one I won’t forget anytime soon. Not only did Ayla’s life change dramatically in becoming One Who Serve’s the Great Earth Mother, Ayla finds that her beliefs have been right all along. It is her, Ayla, that the Mother chooses to give the knowledge, that creates a change within the Cave’s of the Zelendoni people that leads reader to think nothing would ever be the same again. In this way, the book gives light to the way in which the first humans may have learnt and therefore evolved into the intellectual thinkers of today.
I feel that I have enjoyed this book more than the last few predecessors, which has something to do with the relaxed descriptions of vegetation. Without so much description the story of Ayla and Jondalar as well as their daughter Jonayla, really comes to the surface. Although there were many repetitions of the mothers song, although slightly varied in places, which replaced descriptions of fauna sighted in the near vicinity, this could be somewhat overlooked as the song itself is interesting and can be read a number of times before the novelty wears off.
In this novel, Ayla finds that she is often taken away from her family to perform her Zelendonii duties and studies, and unfortunately Jondalar looks elsewhere for someone to satisfy his sexual desires when she is busy. This leads to secrets and lies, and eventual confrontation that causes broken hearts and many, many falling tears. Luckily for both of them that old friends have come to visit at the Summer Meeting and give them a hand to sort out their relationship issues!
The most exciting part of the novel of course has to be what Ayla learns that the act of Pleasures and the conception of a child. For a long time Ayla had believed that a baby was started when a man puts his essence inside of a woman. It was nice to see that she is finally proved right.
Of course the animals Ayla has raised have large roles throughout the novel, with Whinney transporting The One Who Is First among those that Serve The Mother on a special pole drag, and Wolf protecting Ayla and being by her side when she needs him the most.
Overall, The Land of Painted Caves by Jean. M. Auel is a fantastic novel, as well as the entire series. There are some parts that I found tedious, but they do contribute to the story as a whole, and without them, the series would not be quite as unique and appealing. The story of how Ayla survives through some amazing situations and eventually finds a home, a mate, and starts a family is an incredible story on its own. The characters have each become forever etched in my mind and heart. The way the author puts so much depth in these characters giving them a unique and imaginative story that draws reader in quickly and hold them there until the very end. I recommend this novel to anyone who loves a genuine love story, or has interest in historical fantasy. I give this book a rating of 10/10 stars.