The Land of Painted Caves is the final instalment in the Earth’s Children series, which started with Clan of the Cave Bear, one of my all time favourite books. In this, the sixth book, Ayla is trying to balance her family life with her training to become a spiritual leader.
For me, this was a typical Earth’s Children book, with the usual characters, and the descriptive passages. It felt like returning to old friends, and for the whole, it’s a comfortable book. It’s a long book, and some of it is repetition, but for those who enjoy the series, this is something to be expected. A large portion of the book is about Ayla’s travels to various caves, which is all part of her training – this is obviously well researched, but maybe went on a little too long.
Before writing this, I went onto amazon.co.uk to check reviews, and I’m surprised by the amount of angry sounding 1 star reviews. I wonder if many people had far too high expectations of this book, especially as it’s been advertised as the final book. I didn’t have any real expectations, and as such I was able to enjoy it for what it was.
There was one final story line with both Jondala and Ayla which didn’t ring true – although the author does explain some of the reactions, it didn’t seem true to their characters.
I also saw an early review which suggested that Ayla had much more to tell, and that there should be further books. For me though, it feels finished. If anything, it may be interesting to hear about their daughter’s story when she’s older, with the others as back characters, but in my opinion, The Land of Painted Caves should be the final word.