What’s it about?
The Earth’s Children series tells the story of (1) Ayla, a young girl whose parents were killed when she was young. Ayla gets taken in by Neanderthals, raised among them as one of their own, and is later exiled. (2) Ayla finds a valley that’s uninhabited, and makes it into her home. She struggles to do everything on her own that the Clan would have helped with had she been with them. Eventually she befriends a horse, a mountain lion, makes a momentous discovery, and… discovers a man. A man that looks like her. (3) Jondalar convinces Ayla to return home with him. Along the way they get side-tracked and end up spending the winter with the Mammoth Hunters (Mamutoi), where Ayla shares the knowledge of her ability to tame animals, gaining a new friend to replace Baby along the way, and expands her knowledge of customs and skills. Things threaten to end badly with Jondalar because of a misunderstanding regarding a particular dark-skinned ivory carver. (4) Jondalar and Ayla leave the Mamutoi, continuing their journey towards Jondalar’s home. They are strangers on a Journey. Some will like them, some will hate them, and some will threaten them. (5) They finally get to Jondalar’s people, but as they prepare for the Summer Meeting and Mating, its clear that there are some problems with Ayla integrating into the new society. (6) Ayla has accepted a large role within the Zelandoni (Jondalar’s people), and they have a young daughter to boot. The time apart and demands on Ayla drive a wedge between her and the man she loves, and it begins to look as though it will end on a heartbreaking note. This is the conclusion to the Earth’s Children series.
My Review of the Earth’s Children Series
The Earth’s Children series is a sweeping prehistoric tale of survival, innovation, and romance. The author did meticulous research, and drew upon archaeological findings and understandings to make this series as realistic as possible. Auel writes in such a way that you are there with Ayla, seeing what she sees, hearing what she hears, and figuring things out with her.
Wonderfully written for the most part, you are introduced to a varied cast of characters that you either love or hate, but rarely feel nothing for. My favorite book of the series was The Mammoth Hunters (I consulted my best friend on this series overview, and she agrees), and even though I didn’t particularly love Clan of the Cave Bear (perhaps because I read it after I’d read #2 and #3), I can’t say anything bad about it. It laid out the beginnings of the story well enough.
Auel never really hits that ‘slump’ book that all authors seem to have, which is a great thing. However, this awesomeness might contribute to her series downfall. If you read this series (and I do highly recommend you do so), you will fall in love with it. Bask in the awesomeness of this series, but do yourself a favor… just skip from page 575 on.
Basically the only big reveal you need to know about is Ayla telling everyone how (message me if you want to know. Its really not that big of a deal, but if I outright say it, someone will hissyfit over “Spoilers”.)
This author, who had done such a such a fantastic job bringing us the dramatic story of Ayla and Jondalar’s magnificent journey on both a physical and emotional level, completely freaking RUINS it with an unnecessary inclusion of relationship tension just so that she could end on introducing a particular concept which did not need to be included! This left both myself and my friend incredibly angry and disappointed. It left us with a sour memory of a horrible ending to a fantastic series.
Seriously, the part that I’m warning you away from is such a downfall/disappointment that regardless of what actually happened in that book, that is what we remember. GRRR-ARRRRGHHHH!!!
(if it wasn’t for the absolutely horrible end of the last book, I probably would have given this series a 5 star over-all. That’s how bad it was!